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aviva international match

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Jessica Ennis

08 December 2011

UKA Head Coach Charles van Commenee will launch his athletes’ Olympic year preparations with a commanding assignment against world athletics powerhouse Russia at the 2012 Aviva International Match.

The event, to be held in Glasgow on 28 January, will pit the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team’s athletes against three-time competition winner Russia in their final appearance on home soil ahead of the London Olympic Games.

Van Commenee said: “It is important we get off to a great start in 2012 and start the year with a strong performance. Those athletes competing in Glasgow as part of their 2012 build-up will be facing world class opposition and it will be interesting to see how they perform there and throughout the indoor season.

“The Russian team has won the last three times it competed in Glasgow so we will have a tough opening fixture. But it is an Olympic year and it is great to get the opportunity to compete in front of our home crowd. Our athletes aspire to be the best and those selected for the meet will look to perform strongly in their first major fixture of the year.

“Every chance to compete against quality opposition in 2012 is another stepping stone towards the athletes’ targets, and the Aviva International Match is a superb opportunity for athletes to begin this important year with a strong performance in an Aviva GB & NI team vest.”

The Aviva GB & NI team, competing for the first time since the summer’s World Championships in Daegu, will also take on teams from the USA, Germany and a Commonwealth representative line-up at next year’s meet.

With the Aviva GB & NI team to be tested twice on the global stage in 2012, first at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in March and then at next summer’s Olympic Games, the squad will be out to impress against Russia, which claimed a hat-trick of titles at Kelvin Hall in 2004-06.

UKA Chief Executive Niels de Vos welcomed the addition of Russia to the line-up for the first time since 2006 and urged athletics fans in the UK not to miss out on the final opportunity to see the Aviva GB & NI team before it sets off for World Indoor and Olympic glory.

He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for athletes to appear in an Aviva GB & NI vest and to compete against world class athletes early in the season.

“It is also the last chance for the British public to come and see the Aviva GB & NI team compete before the Olympic Games and a great opportunity to see some of the world’s best athletes competing in the UK, especially if you weren’t able to secure athletics tickets for London 2012. But be sure to book early as this fixture sells out quickly and this year the tickets are going faster than ever.

“This is the last time the Aviva International Match will be held at the Kelvin Hall and we’ll be looking for a great showing on the track, as well as an enthusiastic send-off from spectators to commemorate the great performances here over the years. Hopefully we can break some new records as we say goodbye to the venue.”

The Deputy Leader of Glasgow City Council and Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games, Councillor Archie Graham, said: “Today’s announcement is fantastic news for our city and we look forward to welcoming the teams to Glasgow in January.

“Athletics is a Commonwealth sport and excitement is building ahead of Glasgow 2014. We are committed to delivering an incredible Games and hosting the Aviva International Match will help us to achieve this. It also provides Glaswegians with the opportunity to see the world’s best athletes go head-to-head on home soil.

“The
Aviva International Match is internationally renowned and securing premier events of this standing reinforces the importance of continuing to invest in world class facilities and confirms Glasgow’s position as a major player on the world sporting stage.”

Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor George Redmond, added: “Over the years the Kelvin Hall has witnessed some truly world class performances and looking at the teams announced today we are excited by the prospect that this will continue when the Aviva International Match returns in January.

“Athletes often speak of the warm welcome and enthusiastic crowd response they receive when competing in Glasgow and I’m confident this will, once again, spur those involved onto great achievements and ensure a fantastic day out for all.”

The Aviva International Match will be held at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow on 28 January. For tickets or more information go to uka.org.uk/aviva-series or phone 08000 556 056.