9th September 2019
BRITS READY FOR THE MATCH IN MINSK
Great Britain & Northern Ireland have over 20 athletes taking part in The Match this week as Europe take on the USA in what is likely to be one of the last tune ups before the IAAF World Championships in Doha.
Spread across two evenings in the Belarussian capital of Minsk, 22 British athletes are set to compete across 13 events, 20 of which will soon go on to Qatar to compete in the World Championships, which start on September 27.
Commonwealth and British champion Nick Miller (coach: Tore Gustafsson; club: Border) will kick off – and help headline – the GB & NI charge as part of a strong European list in the men’s hammer. Miller is on a current run of back-to-back wins and is ranked seventh in the world and will be hoping for consistency once more in Minsk.
Ojie Edoburun (Steve Fudge; Shaftesbury Barnet) will race for the first time since winning the British 100m title in Birmingham with Mike Rodgers leading the American charge while Imani-Lara Lansiquot (Fudge; Sutton & District) and Daryll Neita (Jonas Dodoo; Cambridge Harriers) will both go in the women’s 100m and are both rounding into good form themselves.
British champion Eilish McColgan (Liz Nuttall; Dundee Hawkhill), selected for the 5,000m and 10,000m for Doha, is down for the women’s 3000m-1500m double in Minsk and will contest the former first on day one while Alexandra Bell (Andrew Henderson; Pudsey & Bramley), fresh from her maiden World Championship call up, goes in the women’s 800m, one of three on the start list to have broken the two-minute barrier.
Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman; Edinburgh) and Charlie Da’Vall Grice (Jon Bigg; Brighton Phoenix) are set to go head to head for the first time since the Müller British Athletics Championships in the men’s 1500m as a domestic tussle plays out for Europe against the USA.
British champion over 200m, Jodie Williams (Stuart McMillan; Herts Phoenix) will compete in the women’s 400m for just the second time this season, her 51.22 personal best in Switzerland in June ranking her No.2 in the country. Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams; Newham & Essex Beagles) will run in the men’s 400m as he looks to prepare to compete over the distance in Doha.
Zak Seddon (Jeff Seddon; Bracknell) is another reigning British champion in action and will be the last of those in action individually in Minsk with the men’s 3000m steeplechase scheduled before the men’s and women’s 4x100m relays to end day one.
World champion Andrew Pozzi (Santiago Antunez; Stratford-upon-Avon) will continue his return to competitive action in the men’s 110m hurdles following injury on day two of The Match in Minsk. Pozzi was welcomed back at the Diamond League final in Brussels last week and will go again in Belarus ahead of the World Championships.
A host of Brits will compete with a winning feeling behind them including Richard Kilty (Benke Blomkvist; Middlesbrough (Mandale)), who took the tape at the Great North City Games in the 100m at the weekend.
Kilty, who won the 200m at the European Team Championships last month, will take on the likes of reigning world champion Ramil Guliyev over the distance while Beth Dobbin (Leon Baptiste; Edinburgh) and Ashleigh Nelson (Michael Afilaka; City of Stoke) will go in the women’s 200m.
Dobbin and Nelson are in good form – silver and bronze medallists respectively at the Müller British Athletics Championships and both comfortably under 23 seconds this season – and will hope to translate that for the European team in Minsk.
Another Brit in fine form is triple jumper Ben Williams (Aston Moore; Sale Harriers Manchester), who has improved his personal best by more than 50 centimetres across his last two competitions, started with victory at the European Team Championships last month.
Kyle Langford (Bigg; Shaftesbury Barnet) was victorious at the IAAF World Challenge Meeting in Zagreb last time out and is joined in the men’s 800m by Jamie Webb (Adrian Webb; Liverpool Harriers), who will be hoping to show what he can do with his Doha selection confirmed.
McColgan, who won the mile at the Great North City Games at the weekend, will return on day two for the women’s 1500m and she’ll have company from Melissa Courtney (Poole; Rob Denmark) who was second behind the Scot on Gateshead Quay.
British champion Meghan Beesley (Michael Baker; Birchfield Harriers) will continue her great season by pulling on the Europe vest in the women’s 400m hurdles with Chris McAlister (Marina Armstrong; Thames Valley), who lowered his personal best to 49.28 and a world standard at the European Team Championships, goes in the men’s equivalent.
Right in the middle of the programme on day two is the women’s 3000m steeplechase with Elizabeth Bird (George Harrison; Shaftesbury Barnet) representing Britain on the European team. Bird is set for her senior international debut for GB & NI at the World Championships in Doha.
The Match will be available to watch here https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/live/athletics/49565408 with live results available here https://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/match-europevusa/2019/schedules-results/day=2019-09-09/index.html?intcmp=sr-byday