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UK Athletics

Mccain challenge series final

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Robbie Grabarz

18 August 2011

While the Aviva GB & NI team are in South Korea adding the finishing touches to their preparations ahead of the World Championships, the rest of the best athletes in Britain – including several who narrowly missed out on selection for Daegu – will be in action this weekend in Birmingham for the McCain UK Challenge Final.

UK bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz (coach: Fayyaz Ahmed) is in top form after recently equalling his high jump PB of 2.28m, and he will likely need to replicate that form when he takes on world indoor finalist and Commonwealth fourth-placer Samson Oni (Trevor Llewelyn).

The top six hammer throwers will clash in Birmingham, with UK champion Alex Smith (Shane Peacock) heading the entries after his recent 74.62m PB, which saw him move to No.8 on the UK all-time rankings. He will face Andy Frost (Alan Bertram), Mark Dry (Derek Evely) and Mike Floyd (Kevin Madden), who have all surpassed 71 metres this year.

The men’s 100m looks set to be a competitive event too. European under-23 bronze medallist Andrew Robertson (John Smith) will line up against European junior silver medallist Adam Gemili, former European under-23 silver medallist Leevan Yearwood (Chris Zah) and the much improved Nigel Thomas (Ron Roddan).

In the half-lap sprint, Luke Fagan (Mike Afilaka) is the big favourite after recently smashing his PB with 20.60. Meanwhile the sprint hurdles should be a close contest between Julian Adeniran (Eliska Binks) and European junior silver medallist Andy Pozzi (Malcolm Arnold).

Elsewhere, 63-metre man Chris Scott (Andrew Neal) leads the men’s discus entries, while training partner Jade Nicholls heads the women’s field. The throwing events are further highlighted by UK champion Lee Doran (John Davies) in the javelin and Sarah Holt (Robert Weir) in the hammer.

UK silver medallist JJ Jegede (Peter Stanley) goes in the long jump as training partner Nadia Williams will be vying for victory in the women’s triple jump. UK indoor champion Max Eaves (Alan Richardson) leads the pole vault entries.

The McCain Challenge Final also incorporates the BMC Grand Prix Final for all the middle distance and endurance events, with some races taking on an international flavour. UK 10,000m champion James Walsh (Mike Baxter) steps down to the 5000m where he will face European junior bronze medallist Jonny Hay (Mick Woods) and 2002 European steeplechase champion Antonio Jimenez.

UK champion Luke Gunn (Bud Baldaro) will once again race against James Wilkinson (Philip Townsend) and Glen Watts (George Harrison) in the steeplechase. Steve Mitchell (Keith Brackstone) and James Brewer (Craig Winrow) will take on USA’s 3:36 man Kyle Miller in the 1500m, while Hannah Walker leads the women’s 5000m entries.

In addition to the prize money on offer over the course of the day – which will be increased if an athlete achieves a personal best during the event and finishes within the top three – £5000 is on offer in the McCain UK Golden Challenge and six athletes are still in the mix to take the jackpot.