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AVIVA GB & NI TEAM TO START 2012 ON HOME SOIL

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Mo Farah
25 January 2012

Aviva Great Britain & Northern Ireland athletes will return to competition at the Aviva International Match in Glasgow this Saturday 28 January looking to launch their 2012 seasons in style.

In what will be the final time Great Britain competes as a team on home soil prior to the London Olympic Games – and the final time Kelvin Hall plays host to the annual athletics event – three of last summer’s World Championships medallists will line up in Glasgow this weekend to bid farewell to their northern fans and to the iconic venue.

5000m World Champion Mo Farah (coach: Alberto Salazar) and World Championships medallists Hannah England (Bud Baldaro) and Andy Turner (Lloyd Cowan) will all don the Aviva GB & NI vest as athletes step up preparations for this summer’s Olympic Games in the first meet of the Aviva Series 2012

Farah, England and Turner will be joined at the indoor season curtain-raiser by a stellar line-up of domestic and international athletes from teams representing Aviva GB & NI, Russia, the USA, Germany and the Commonwealth Select.

And with the IAAF World Indoor Championships on the horizon in March a strong Aviva GB & NI Team, which boasts a real mix of youth and experience, will be looking to dethrone reigning champion Germany at Kelvin Hall this weekend.

Farah, who has fond memories of competing at Kevin Hall after setting a British 3000m record in 2009, will make his Aviva GB & NI Team debut over the shorter distance of 1500m, while England will compete over her trademark 1500m distance and Turner will line up in the 60m hurdles.

Also set to star is high jumper Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Ahmed), who rose to the top of the 2012 world rankings with his astonishing leap of 2.34m in Germany at the weekend.

UKA head coach Charles Van Commenee said the Aviva International Match was an important fixture for all British athletes looking to commence their 2012 competition schedules at Kelvin Hall.

“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 this weekend and throughout the indoor season,” he said.

“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.”

Aviva International Match regulars Helen Clitheroe (John Nuttall) and Mark Lewis-Francis (Linford Christie) will return to Glasgow to defend their 2011 titles in the 3000m and 60m respectively.

But reigning 800m champion Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter) will miss the chance to defend her title after withdrawing from the meet with a minor injury.

Also featuring in the Aviva GB & NI Team are 2011 World Championships finalists Yamile Aldama (Frank Attoh) in the triple jump  and Steve Lewis (Dan Pfaff) in the pole vault.

The 17-strong team welcomes two new caps, with Margaret Adeoye (Linford Christie) competing in the 200m and Claire Gibson (Derek Parker) replacing Meadows in the 800m.

Grabarz, Jeanette Kwakye (Michael Afilaka), Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) and Danny Talbot (Daniel Cossins) all return to Glasgow looking to improve on their performances in 2011.

The Aviva GB & NI Team will be captained by Helen Clitheroe.

Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team

Men

60m: Mark Lewis Francis (Linford Christie)
200m: Danny Talbot (Daniel Cossins)
400m: Richard Buck (Steve Fudge)
800m: Joe Thomas (Arwyn Davies)
1500m: Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar)
60m hurdles: Andy Turner (Lloyd Cowan)
High jump: Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Ahmed)
Pole vault: Steve Lewis (Dan Pfaff)

Women

60m: Jeanette Kwakye (Michael Afilaka)
200m: Margaret Adeoye (Linford Christie)
400m: Shana Cox (Lloyd Cowan)
800m: Claire Gibson (Derek Parker)
1500m: Hannah England (Bud Baldaro)
3000m: Helen Clitheroe (John Nuttall)
60m hurdles: Gemma Bennett (Lloyd Cowan)
Long jump: Shara Proctor (Rana Reider)
Triple jump: Yamile Aldama (Frank Attoh)

The Aviva International Match will be at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow on 28 January. Tickets are now sold out; for further event information go to uka.org.uk/aviva-series. The Aviva International Match will be shown live on BBC 1 from 1:30pm.