26 June 2009
A clutch of U20 athletes will go into this weekend’s Aviva U23 & U20 Championships & European trials at Bedford knowing they have one final step before boarding the plane to Serbia for the European Junior Championships next month.
The first wave of selections for the Aviva GB and NI team will take place next week – 29 June 2009, and with well over a dozen athletes ranked in the top three in European terms, qualification this weekend is key to them realising their dreams of medalling in Novi Sad – 23-26 July.
Automatic selection for the European Junior championships will be given to the first eligible athlete past the post in the Trials, provided they achieve or have achieved a UKA qualification standard from 11th April up to and including the trials.
The final wave of selections will be made 13 July 2009.
Key athletes to watch out for this weekend are:
In the men’s sprints, Chris Clarke (Marshall Milton Keynes) and Louis Persent (Colchester H) will aim to show the class that has helped them to the top two slots in European rankings for 400m. Both sprinters had excellent runs in the recent Mannheim International, and the race will be on for minor placings in order to secure a strong 4x400m squad.
Third ranked for 800m and top ranked European 1500m man Niall Brooks (Sale H) is a dominant force over the middle distances at present and his recent 3.41.64 at the Manchester BMC leads the way, although Simon Horsfield (East Cheshire H) has shown sparkling endurance form of late with 3.42.29 at Watford in May, and a strong 3000m at the recent St Mary’s Classic. Ronnie Sparke, will aim so secure selection with a strong outing over the 5000m having run 14.25.10 at Watford – although Abdirisak Ahmed (City of Sheffield) is on the comeback trail following injury.
In the hurdles, Lawrence Clarke is second in the European rankings for 2009 with 13.57 from Mannheim, and will hope to top his relatively young hurdling career with a place in the summer’s major championships. Niall Flannery (Gateshead Harriers), who also is second ranked in European terms lines up in the 400mH keen to make his route to Serbia a certainty.
In the throws, the class act will be Curtis Griffith Parker (Cambridge Harriers), with clear dominance over rivals in the Shot and Discus. However Peter Smith (Kingston Upon Hull) will look to make further progress following his UK Junior record from last week of 75.28, in order to impact on Europe’s best throwers.
Ashlee Nelson (Stoke) will be looking for a double over 100 and 200m this weekend although she’ll have a tough battle with World Youth Championships selected Jodie Williams (Herts Phoenix)over the longer sprint – Williams currently topping the European rankings with an impressive 23.25 recorded at BIG in May.
The women’s 800m will be hard fought with a number of youngsters inside the European qualifying mark but topping the performers at present is Stacey Smith (Gateshead) who as third -ranked 800m and second 1500m in European terms will want to demonstrate the form which has lifted her to a great early season. In the 800m, she will face Alison Leonard who is coming back from injury but showing the class that took her to 4th place in last year’s World Junior Championship final.
In the women’s 3000m there should be an intriguing battle with Brits dominant in European Rankings terms and eager to book their place for Serbia. Kate Avery, Beth Potter, Louise Small are all in excellent 3000m shape, as well as Charlotte Purdue who also has the qualifying mark for the 5000m.
In the hammer, Sophie Hitchon (Blackburn Harriers)with a personal and season’s best of 62.96 will want to make selection a formality, and heptathlete Katarina Thompson is lined up for outings over the Long jump and high jump, having already been selected for the World Youth Championships.
Up to date entry lists for the competition and results over the weekend will be available on this link.