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rise to the occasion says neil black ahead of the european indoor championships

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Neil Black Lawrence Clarke
05/03/2015


On the eve of the European Indoor Championships, British Athletics Performance Director Neil Black expects the GB & NI team to rise to the occasion in the Czech capital when the action gets underway tomorrow morning.

With Europe’s best descending on Prague’s O2 Arena, Black was joined by team captain Lawrence Clarke (coach: Malcolm Arnold) as well as Chijindu Ujah (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) and Seren Bundy-Davies (Stephen Ball) who will both line-up wearing a blue bib, which signifies them as the fastest entrant in their event in 2015.

Captain Clarke told of what a privilege it was to lead the team and also shared his opinion on whether there is added pressure for the British athletes who will be wearing that blue bib.

“In my team speech this evening I’m going to talk about what I think you should think about when you’re in the call room. In theory every athlete knows what to think about, but in practice to actually do it can be difficult. For me, my biggest ally is the most intense period of pressure for the other athletes as I seem to flourish in that environment.”

And of his teammates Bundy-Davies and Ujah lining up as favourites, he added:

“These guys are putting pressure on everyone around them as everybody is thinking ‘what are these guys, these European leaders, going to do’.”

Despite the relative youth of the team, which contains no fewer than 31 athletes who are 25 years of age or younger, Black was very positive about the team’s chances.

“It feels like a great team from our side, so I’m really optimistic that we can perform well. We love indoors and because it’s smaller, it’s closer knit and happier, and there’s a real buzz within the team.

“Fundamentally we want to see people cope with the circumstances, apply themselves well, perform well and then out of that will come medals at one end, great performances at the other end, and finalists in the middle somewhere.”

As for Bundy-Davies the championships are a real coming of age, having come to the sport later than most. It may have been a whirlwind ride, but after her victory and 51.72 Welsh record at the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix two weekends ago, the Trafford athlete is excited to get out there and compete.

“It’s strange when people speak of me as a rival or a favourite as I’ve not really had that before; it’s nice to know people are recognising me though! It’s a bit surreal to have that special blue bib.

“It’s all happened really fast but at least it’s going the right way. After Glasgow where I ran a 51.8 split [in the 4x400m relay] it gave me a lot of confidence. And since then it’s all just followed on. The bear minimum now is to make the final, but anything can happen indoors.”

Known for his sub-10 second 100m clocking last summer, Chijindu Ujah will make his senior championships debut in Prague and knows the sky is the limit. Coming into the event with a 6.53 personal best set five weeks ago, the youngster hopes to be right in the mix for a medal.

“I feel that there’s no pressure. I’m at my first major champs and this is a stepping stone to hopefully go on and make the world championships team. I just want to execute my own race.

“The major challenges come from myself – I have to run my own race. Everything else around me is just noise and I just need to do what I need to do. Times don’t always come on the day; it’s a major championships so you’ve just got to focus on winning.”

Kick-starting the British campaign at 8.45am UK time tomorrow morning are Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Mike Holmes) and Morgan Lake (Eldon Lake) who go in the 60m hurdles, the first event of their pentathlon.

Full coverage can been across the BBC all weekend, via BBC 1, BBC 2, the red button and online at bbc.co.uk/sport.

Live results throughout the weekend can be found at: http://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/european-athletics-indoor-championships/2015/schedules-results/

There will also be live commentary of all the action via @BritAthletics on twitter, as well as session by session reports at www.britishathletics.org.uk

Additionally, Abigail Irozuru (Dan Pfaff) is a late withdrawal from the GB & NI team, after a niggle forced her to turn her attention to the outdoor season.


Great Britain & Northern Ireland Team for 2015 European Indoor Championships

MEN

60m

Richard Kilty (Linford Christie)

Sean Safo-Antwi (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo)

Chijindu Ujah (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo)


400m

Jarryd Dunn (Keith Holt)


800m

James Bowness (William Parker)

Guy Learmonth (Henry Gray)

Mukhtar Mohammed


1500m

Charlie Grice (Jon Bigg)

Chris O’Hare (Terrence Mahon)

 

3000m

Lee Emanuel (Joe Franklin)

Philip Hurst (Martin Crowe)

Tom Lancashire (Steve Vernon)

 

4x400m

Jamie Bowie (Piotr Haczek)

Jarryd Dunn (Keith Holt)

Conrad Williams (Linford Christie)

Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams)

Alex Boyce (Paul Boyce)

 

60m Hurdles

Lawrence Clarke (Malcolm Arnold)

David Omoregie

 

High Jump

Allan Smith (Bryan Roy)

 

WOMEN

60m

Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie)

Rachel Johncock (Leon Baptiste)

 

400m

Seren Bundy-Davies (Stephen Ball)

Laura Maddox (Colin Bovell)

Kirsten McAslan (Trevor Painter)

 

800m

Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter)

Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Ayo Falola)

 

1500m

Rosie Clarke (Thomas Watson)

 

3000m

Kate Avery (Tony Simmons)

Emelia Gorecka (Mick Woods)

Laura Muir (Andy Young)

 

4x400m

Amy Allcock (Nick Dakin)

Seren Bundy-Davies (Stephen Ball)

Laura Maddox (Colin Bovell)

Kelly Massey (Stephen Ball)

Kirsten McAslan (Trevor Painter)

Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Ayo Falola)

 

60m Hurdles

Lucy Hatton (Jerzy Maciukiewicz)

Serita Solomon (Michelle Bovell)

 

High Jump

Isobel Pooley (Fuzz Ahmed)

 

Pentathlon

Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Mike Holmes)

Morgan Lake (Eldon Lake)