UK Athletics today announced Xtra Challenge – a pilot scheme to encourage the country’s best and most promising throwers and jumpers to compete against each other more often.
It has been developed by the UKA Throws and Jumps Event Management Groups working with the Competitions Department, which already operates the increasingly successful UK Challenge series.
UKA Senior Coordinator for Field and Combined Events Michelle Dunkley said: “We have identified some good quality competitions in which we would like to see the top six to eight athletes in each field event compete against each other.
“The aim is to raise the standards of the events by bringing the UK’s leading athletes together more regularly throughout the season. The Xtra Challenge will not only bring the athletes together, but also bring the coaches together – and there will be incentives for the best performers and their coaches.”
The competitions initially included are the CAU UK Inter-Counties Championships at Bedford on 27-28 May, the Bedford International Games (BIG2007) at the same venue on 10 June and the UK Challenge Jumps / Throws Fests at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium on 30 June and 1 July.
All four meetings would expect to attract the vast majority of the leading senior jumpers and throwers.
There are also limited places available at the Inter-Counties and BIG2007 for Under 20 and Under 18 athletes who are close to the qualifying / guideline standards for this summer’s European Junior Championships and IAAF World Youth Championships. This particularly applies to male throwers (as there are different weights through the age groups) who may not be able to enter either of these events through basic senior qualifications.
Athletes who are interested in these opportunities should email Michelle Dunkley at email@example.com by Monday 21 May.
Prize money for the leading seniors will be as follows:
Xtra Challenge Awards*
*The Xtra Challenge Awards will be presented in each of the four events at the Event Specific Festivals providing the athlete has competed at the previous two meetings. For example, an athlete who finishes second in both the Inter-Counties and BIG2007, then won the Jumps Fest, would receive £110 (£30 + £30 + £50) from the Xtra Challenge in addition to the £200 awarded for first place at the Jumps Fest.
Coach bursaries will also be awarded to the coach of the athlete who is the best Under 17, Under 20, Under 23 and Senior in the Xtra Challenge series. This will be a £500 bursary awarded to one coach per event. The athlete will win an Adidas kit package.
Athletes are only eligible for prizes if they compete at all three identified Xtra competitions. For example, if an athlete competes at the CAU Inter-Counties, wins and then does not compete at BIG2007, they will not be entitled to any of the Xtra prize money.
All Xtra Challenge prizes will be awarded at the Event Specific Fest.