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AVIVA GB&NI STARS RETURN TO ACTION IN MCCAIN CITY CHALLENGE

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Osagie McCain City Challenge

25 January 2011

Fresh from her scintillating performance at the Aviva International Match in Glasgow last weekend, Holly Bleasdale will look to continue her impressive run of form at the McCain Indoor City Challenge at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport (EIS) on Sunday 6 February.

The World Junior bronze medallist, coached by Julien Raffalli-Ebezant, flew clear of the bar at the Kelvin Hall to set a new best of 4.48m – setting her up nicely for the rest of the indoor season.

She said: "I know I'm in good shape after the weekend, but it won't be easy and I hope I can just go out there and get full points for the team. There should be a great atmosphere."

She will compete for a strong Manchester Warriors team which will see talented youngsters Katarina Johnson-Thompson (coach: Mike Holmes) in the combined events and World Junior bronze medallist Jack Meredith (coach: Donald Moss) in the 60m hurdles. Joining them, 400m hurdler Rick Yates (coach: Malcolm Arnold) will be looking for a strong return to the track in the 400m in his first race since finishing fifth in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

European and Commonwealth medallist Conrad Williams (coach: Linford Christie) will line up in the 200m for the London South Sharks team.

Williams said: "The McCain City Challenge is a great event with a great atmosphere. Our team has a nice mixture of young talent and experienced athletes. Hopefully the team can pull together on the day and be right in the mix."

Robbie Grabarz (coach: Fuzz Ahmed) will be up against Tom Parsons (coach: Fuzz Ahmed) in the high jump. The London North Lions and London South Sharks men will be look to reiginite their rivarly from the Aviva GB&NI in the Aviva International Match, where Parsons came out on top.

European 4x400m relay bronze medallists Victoria Barr (coach: Lloyd Cowan) and Lee McConnell (coach: Rodger Harkins) will feature in the sprints for Newcastle Angels and Glasgow Cobras respectively.

Barr said: "It's always good to support Newcastle. It's a great team event and it's great to be a part of it. I'm privileged to be team captain and help the team get as many points as possible!"

The men’s 800m, as usual, will be a highlight of the match with London North Lions' Andrew Osagie (coach: Craig Winrow), winner of last year's Aviva World Indoor Trials & UK Championships, taking on Cardiff Dragons' Joe Thomas (coach: Arwyn Davies) as well as Scottish Indoor 800m record holder Guy Learmonth, who finished second to Thomas at the weekend's Celtic Nations Indoor Cup.

With world-class athletes lining up alongside aspiring talent in the same teams – as well as a prize pot of over £30,000 on offer for the series – the event promises to be a fiery affair. What’s more, with free entry to the arena and city pride at stake the atmosphere promises to be electric.

Competition Manager Paul Aldridge said: "This series gives the athletes a chance to evolve their winter training into actual competition and to represent their area in city versus city match format. This series is designed with the athlete in mind and we believe they will thrive in these inspirational arenas."

For more information, please click HERE.

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