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Ten to follow at the Aviva International Match

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Craig Pickering

 

29 January 2009

The richest indoor international match in the world returns to its established home in Glasgow for the curtain raiser to the 2009 athletics season, this weekend. The country versus country format guarantees an exciting event to entertain the crowd at the Kelvin Hall. 

Last year saw an exciting win for the GB team which will again be pushed hard in its bid to retain the title.  

Here’s this weekend’s ten to follow. 

Craig Pickering – GB, Men’s 60m

The 22-year-old claimed a bronze medal at the World Championships in the 4x100m relay in Osaka 2007. In June that same year he achieved a new PB to win the 100m at the European Cup and gained a silver medal in the 60m at the European Indoor Championships. He made his debut appearance at last year’s Olympic Games making it to the second round. Pickering is a world class indoor performer and today he will be looking for his third successive victory here at the Kelvin Hall. 

Kim Collins – Com, Men’s 60m & 200m

After finishing sixth in the 200m final in Beijing, the former World and Commonwealth 100m champion will be looking to prove he can still be a star on the world stage here at the Kelvin Hall today. Competing for the first time in Glasgow, Collins will make up the Commonwealth select team running in both the 60 and 200m, where the 32-year-old will be up against British pair, Pickering and Baptiste, respectively. 

Mo Farah – GB, Men’s 3000m

Last year’s European Cup winner and GB number one over 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000m, Farah will be aiming for the podium at the European indoors in Turin. After being knocked out before the final in Beijing, the hugely talented Farah is determined and confident in improving this year with sights firmly set on London in four years time.  

Greg Rutherford – GB, Men’s Long Jump

Overcoming a number of injury problems, Rutherford made a fine return to top form in 2008 with a massive jump of 8.20m to take the UK title and gain his place on the plane to Beijing. He followed this up with a win at the Aviva London Grand Prix and finished 11th in the final at his first ever Olympics. European silver medallist in 2006, Rutherford will have his sights set on winning today adding weight to suggestions that he is a future global medallist. 

Raul Spank – Ger, Men’s High Jump

In a hugely successful debut Olympic Games, Spank, was the best placing high jumper for Germany since Dietmar Mogenburg’s gold 24 years ago. Having never jumped higher than 2.24m before 2008, Spank shocked many when he almost snatched a medal in Beijing with a personal best of 2.32m. The 20-year-old placed fifth overall but now has sights of medalling in front of a home crowd at the Berlin World Championships this summer. He will certainly be one to watch this year. 

Steve Lewis – GB, Men’s Pole Vault

In a brilliant start to the year, Lewis has already set himself a new PB of 5.75m and is now third in this seasons world rankings. The 22-year-old rose to international class when he cleared 5.05m for the World Youth bronze medal, and followed this up with a Commonwealth bronze. Ever improving, Lewis will be looking to challenge for a medal at the Europeans Indoors in March. 

Angela Williams – USA, Women’s 60m

Last year Williams stormed back to form after a spell of injury and won the 60m in the World Indoor Championships. She competed in the 4x100m team for the USA in Beijing yet disappointingly the team were disqualified before the finals. Williams, who has won a number of silver medals, will be hoping to claim gold this summer in Berlin. With British 100m record holder Montell Douglas also lining up, the 60m is sure to be an exciting one. 

Marilyn Okoro – GB, Women’s 800m

Okoro steadily came through to top form in 2008 winning the UK title and the Aviva London Grand Prix. In her first Olympics she reached the semi-finals, however with her ambition and talent she will look to do even better this year at the Worlds. Okoro will face her British rival Jenny Meadows at the Kelvin Hall today who beat Okoro each time they met indoors last year. 

Lolo Jones – USA, Women’s 60m hurdles

The world indoor champion had a successful 2008 which built towards a strong Olympic gold medal chance. Devastatingly Jones clipped the ninth hurdle (of ten) in the final and came home in seventh place. Finishing second in Glasgow last year, Jones will be out to win this year and re-gain her place as the world’s number one women’s sprint hurdler. 

Montell Douglas – GB, Women’s 60m

Douglas, a promising sprinter, has won the European Under 23 100m silver medal and was second at the UK Championships last July. She went on to make a huge breakthrough at Loughborough where she ran 11.05 in the final, smashing the British record that had stood for 27 years. The current British record holder will line up against American Angela Williams in the 60m. 

Tickets for the Aviva International Match at the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow on Saturday 31st January are available by phone on 08000 556 056 or online at www.ukathletics.net