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UK Athletics

British High Jump Rivals Target Victory at Aviva 2012 Trials

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High Jumpers

12 April 2012

Britain’s leading high jumpers, Robbie Grabarz, Samson Oni and Tom Parsons will go head-to-head at the Aviva 2012 Trials in June, as they fight to secure their place at the London Olympic Games.

In what is set to be one of the most competitive fields of the weekend, the UK’s leading male high jumpers will need the Olympic ‘A’ standard of 2.31m and a top two finish to gain automatic nomination for selection.

Britain’s number one high jumper this year, Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Ahmed), admits that he will have to be at his best if he is to secure his place on the team in an extremely competitive field.

Grabarz said: “All of the work that everyone has put in since the last Games will come down to one big showdown in June in Birmingham for the 2012 Trials, and that's pretty exciting for me as a fan as well as an athlete.

“I’ve taken a bit of pressure off by jumping the ‘A’ standard, but I haven’t really as there is so much other competition in the high jump at the moment. Anyone can pull it out of the bag, so the pressure isn’t off until you win the Aviva 2012 Trials.”

After setting a personal best of 2.34m in January this year, the 24-year old has enjoyed a meteoric rise after a disappointing 2011. He is now confident of putting past disappointments behind him and going even higher as he looks to put himself in the mix for medals at what would be his first Olympic Games.

“I think I can go higher than 2.34m. I tried 2.39m at the indoor Aviva Grand Prix in February and I wouldn’t have attempted that if I didn’t think I was capable of it. The crowd have been amazing indoors, so being at home in Birmingham for the 2012 Trials is really exciting. I'm looking forward to a great atmosphere, some good support and a fantastic competition. Make no mistake though - I am going there for the win.

“My first target this summer is to win the 2012 Trials and qualify for the Games. Once I’m at the Olympics, I’d like to qualify easily for the final. Once I’m in the final, I want to fight for the medals. It’s anyone’s game especially in an event like the high jump.”

With  current British indoor champion Samson Oni (Trevor Llewellyn) and defending Aviva Trials champion Tom Parsons (Aston Moore) also set to compete at the Aviva 2012 Trials, Oni admits that it will take more than the will to win to secure one of the two automatic spots.

“There is more than one athlete capable of jumping high at this year’s Trials and many want that first place position badly. I believe winning will take more than just personal desire. Possibly the athlete who is most prepared to perform well outside their comfort zone will be victorious.”

Oni has been beset by injuries over the last two years, and with Parsons also missing the recent indoor season, both athletes have the opportunity to make up for lost time as they prepare for the much-anticipated summer of athletics.

 “The outdoor season is a blank canvas for me.” Oni said. “I see it as an opportunity to re-establish myself once again after injuries in 2010 and 2011. I anticipate a strong charge from my opponents and my goal is to put the indoor season to sleep and focus on sharpening my tools for the busy summer ahead.

“My main hopes for the summer obviously tie in with the London Olympics, but generally, I hope to have a successful season that not only will make my family, friends, and fans proud but also one that will overwrite all of my past failures and defeats,” the 30-year-old said.

Parsons, meanwhile, will hope to compete at his second successive Games, after an eighth place finish in Beijing. However, the 28 year old is well aware of the competition facing him in his battle for selection this summer.

He said: “To qualify for my second Games I will need an outdoor personal best and a top-two performance at Trials. If I qualify, then I wouldn't go to the Games fearing anyone and will be aiming for a medal. I believe I am capable of jumping the heights required - mid 2.30s - so feel I shouldn't be aiming for anything less, otherwise it won't happen.”

As is the case with Grabarz, Parsons will enjoy the luxury of competing at his home track at the Aviva 2012 Trials and sees this as an added bonus.

“I probably feel less pressure because I always seem to jump ok in Birmingham and am obviously very familiar with the place. Being able to sleep in your own bed the night before the competition is a good thing. The crowd is always very supportive in Birmingham as there is a large stand right by the high jump area.

“I think weather depending, it will take at least the 'A’ standard 2.31m to win Trials this year. Maybe even higher.”

The high jump competition, at the Aviva 2012 Trials, will take place on Sunday 24 June and also joining the already strong field are 2008 Olympic silver medallist Germaine Mason (Steve Francis) and Barcelona European Bronze medallist Martyn Bernard (Dan Pfaff).

Back the team and watch over 750 of Britain’s best athletes in action at the Aviva 2012 Trials at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium from 22-24 June 2012.

For tickets visit www.uka.org.uk/aviva-series or call 08000 55 60 56.

Watch the 'Come See Me' video with Hannah England, Andy Turner, Mark Lewis-Francis and more asking for your support: http://youtu.be/vdvM1h3mSS4