Norwich Union GB legends Steve Backley and Mick Hill teamed-up again – to give pre-season boosts to the UK National Javelin Squad.
They were brought together by National Javelin Event Coordinator Carolyn Franks, who explained: “Mick did a presentation dealing with run-up work and Steve dealt with fundamental skills leading into the run-up. Then we went outside and did a practical session with the throwers. It was good to see it all come together. All of the throwers were videoed, and there was feedback to the athletes.”
In addition, there was a session on injury prevention by physiotherapist Martin Haines and a general discussion among the athletes and their coaches on psychological preparation for championships – significant this summer with major challenges imminent in all age groups: IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan; the European Under 23 Championships in Debrecen, Hungary; the European Junior Championships in Hengelo, Netherlands; the IAAF World Youth Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic; and the European Youth Olympic Festival in Belgrade, Serbia.
Athletes who attended over the two days at the UK Athletics East Midlands Performance Centre at Loughborough University were headed by Commonwealth champion Nick Nieland (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) and National champion Goldie Sayers (Belgrave Harriers).
They were joined by athletes aiming to improve to London 2012 and, in many cases, beyond … James Campbell (Cheltenham and County Harriers), the 2006 World Junior Championships finalist who is already the Scottish senior record holder; Under 23 Lee Doran (Enfield and Haringey AC), the Scottish senior silver medallist last summer; Neil McLellan (Stevenage and Mid Herts AC), the UK Challenge champion; Mervyn Luckwell (Marshall Milton Keynes AC), who joined the 70m-plus club last summer; David Parker (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers), who remains determined to rediscover the style that earned him the World Junior title in 1998; Jo Blair (Birchfield Harriers), who won the UK Challenge final last summer in her first year as a senior; Lianne Clarke (Cardiff AAC), the reigning AAA Under 20 champion; Sarah Anne De Kremer (Corby AC), who won the UK School Games, AAA and English Schools Under 17 titles last summer in her first year in the age group and Under 23 Laura Whittingham (Wakefield Harriers), who medalled among the seniors at last year’s Norwich Union European Trials and UK Inter-Counties Championships.
Also in attendance were many of the athletes’ personal coaches plus specially invited coaches from the Celtic nations and English regions who have a track record of producing quality javelin throwers. They are being given the opportunity to broaden their knowledge by being involved in the National Squad activities as part of UK Athletics’ policy of helping the country’s most promising coaches in much the same way as the governing body helps the most talented athletes.
To further spread the word, mentors have been appointed to link up with athletes and personal coaches between squad meetings to help progress continue. They are Mick Hill, Ken Holmes, Mark Roberson, Peter Yates and Carolyn Franks.