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Kim Collins and Claire Gibson

 

26 January 2012

Aviva GB & NI debutante Claire Gibson and nine-time World Championships representative Kim Collins (SKN) took time out from preparations for this weekend’s Aviva International Match to visit youngsters at Sacred Heart RC Primary School in Bridgeton, Glasgow today ahead of Saturday's action at Kelvin Hall.

Gibson, who will line up in the 800m in her maiden appearance at Kelvin Hall, and Collins, who will represent the Commonwealth Select team in the 60m and 200m sprints on his seventh outing at the iconic venue, spoke with students about life as an athlete in the lead-up to Saturday’s sell-out Aviva International Match and the London Olympic Games.

Gibson and Collins will be joined by athletes from the USA, Germany and Russia at Kelvin Hall this weekend as five teams fight it out for the coveted Aviva International Match trophy.

Twenty-nine-year-old Gibson will be joined on the Aviva GB & NI Team by 5000m World Champion Mo Farah, World Championships 1500m silver medallist Hannah England, World Championships 110m hurdles bronze medallist Andy Turner and European indoor 3000m champion and team captain Helen Clitheroe in a stellar British line-up out to claim its tenth Aviva International Match trophy.

“I’m just really excited to get out there and do my best for the Aviva GB & NI Team,” said Gibson.

“It will be my first time in an Aviva GB & NI vest and it’s such a strong team that it’s a real honour to have been selected. I can’t wait to get out there and do the team proud.

“To debut in front of my home crowd here in Glasgow is a dream come true and I can’t think of a better way to launch the Olympic year than with the whole of Kelvin Hall and the city of Glasgow behind me.”

Collins, who took bronze in the 100m and 4x100m at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, last summer, said he was looking to launch his 2012 campaign with a big performance this weekend.

The 35-year-old track stalwart claimed St Kitts and Nevis’s first and only Commonwealth Games medal when he took gold in the 100m in Manchester back in 2002, and today refused to rule out a return to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games in two years’ time.

Collins said: “I’m really looking forward to the competition this weekend, I always enjoy racing in Glasgow and this is such an important year for me that I want to make sure I start my season on a high and start the year with some real confidence behind me.

“I love racing in Glasgow, although it’s always very cold at this time of year. But Kelvin Hall is a great venue, the Aviva International Match is a great event and to come out here today and meet some of the local students has really inspired me ahead of this weekend.

“I train a group of young athletes at home in St Kitts so to travel to the other side of the world and get the chance to meet with Scottish students who also love athletics has been a really great experience for me.”

Head teacher of Sacred Heart RC Primary School, Elizabeth Gonzalez, said: "Our school motto is ‘born to achieve’ and our pupils certainly do that. It was fantastic to have such great athletes as Kim and Claire in the school to talk about their achievements. We wish them well for the weekend.”

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.