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gb & NI team announced for penn relays

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Eilidh Child


A strong GB & NI team has been announced for the Penn Relays, which takes place in Philadelphia on 27 April.

Following their recent gold medal winning performance at the European Indoor Championships, the triumphant 4x400m team will reunite once again with Eilidh Child (coach: Malcolm Arnold), Shana Cox (George Williams), Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan) and Perri Shakes-Drayton (Chris Zah) looking to achieve the first ever GB & NI podium finish at the event.

After running a personal best of 23.27 over 200m last weekend, Shakes-Drayton will go into the meet in confident mood as she looks to continue her excellent run of form.

British Athletics Endurance Coach Terrence Mahon believes that the team being sent to the Penn Relays shows how serious GB & NI are taking the opposition which will include formidable line-ups from Jamaica, Russia and USA.

Mahon said: “The Penn Relays will give us the chance to see where we are as we approach the outdoor season. We’ve seen some encouraging displays already at the European Indoors and also some strong performances last weekend.

“I have no doubt that the team assembled have every chance of winning the first medal for GB & NI at the event, but as with every year, the relays attract some strong opposition, so we’ll have to be at our very best.”

The men’s 4x400 team will contain three of the four gold medallists from Gothenburg, as Michael Bingham (George Williams), Richard Buck (Steve Fudge) and Nigel Levine (Linford Christie) are joined by Olympic 400m semi-finalist Conrad Williams (Linford Christie).

The men’s 4x100m relay will be made up in the form of two London 2012 Olympians – James Ellington (Rana Reider) and Danny Talbot (Daniel Cossins). 2006 World Junior Champion Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Rana Reider) and Andrew Robertson (Daniel Cossins) will be the third and fourth members of the team, as they look to improve on the time of 38.91 set by the GB & NI team in Gainesville last week.

As a part of the event’s unique format, Chris Warburton (Norman Poole), Martyn Rooney, Joe Thomas (Arwyn Davies) and Matt McLauglin (Ayo Fayola) will run in the distance medley relay. Warburton will run the first 1200m leg, before passing on to Rooney and then Thomas who will run their 400m and 800m legs respectively with 18 year old McLaughlin finishing with a 1600m in what will be his senior international debut.

For the first time in its 118 year history the Penn Relays will put on a women’s 4x800m relay. The GB & NI team will include Marilyn Okoro (Johnny Gray), who ran 2:01.95 in at the Mount SAC Relays last weekend, and Olympic semi-finalist Lynsey Sharp (Terrence Mahon) who finished behind Okoro in the race clocking a time of 2:02.63.  Okoro and Sharp will be joined by 2008 Olympian Jemma Simpson (Mark Rowland) and senior debutant Tara Bird (Ayo Fayola), the daughter of two-time Olympian Gladys Bird (nee Taylor), as they attempt to break the GB record of 8:19.9 set in 1992.

Great Britain & Northern Ireland team for the Penn Relays:


4X100         Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Andrew Robertson, James Ellington, Danny Talbot

4X400         Michael Bingham, Richard Buck, Nigel Levine, Conrad Williams

DMR           Chris Warburton, Martyn Rooney, Joe Thomas, Matt McLaughlin


4X400         Eilidh Child, Shana Cox, Christine Ohurougu, Perri Shakes-Drayton

4X800         Tara Bird, Marilyn Okoro, Lynsey Sharp, Jemma Simpson


*Team subject to change