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Triple chance in UK Challenge series

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There are three opportunities this weekend for athletes to enhance their chances of earning invitations to the UK Challenge Final to be staged at Crystal Palace on Saturday 25 August.


Challenge points are on offer for quality performances at the Loughborough European Athletics Promotion (L*E*A*P) meeting at the UK Athletics East Midlands Performance Centre on Saturday 11 August (12 noon), the British Milers’ Club Grand Prix incorporating UKA Endurance Initiative meeting at Trafford AC’s Manchester track on Saturday evening (5.30pm to 9.45pm) and at the Brodies Scottish National Championships at Glasgow’s Scotstoun Stadium on both Saturday and Sunday.


Now that the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team has been finalised for the IAAF World Championships in Osaka, athletes staying at home know exactly what they have to do to stand a chance of chasing the prize pot at the Palace.


But first some of them have the chance to compete against Osaka-bound athletes. For examples …


The L*E*A*P meeting features a pole vault competition in which Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Steve Lewis (Newham and Essex Beagles) will have his final pre-Osaka contest against Luke Cutts (Dearneside AC), who was distraught to no-height at last month’s European Junior Championships, and Joe Ive (Belgrave Harriers), who hopes to be over the hairline fracture of a kneecap suffered at the European Under 23 Championships. Ive, the UK Challenge Athlete of the Month for June, and Cutts are currently first and second in the UK Challenge pole vault rankings.


The Stretford Grand Prix includes this year’s edition of the historic Emsley Carr Mile, a women’s 1500m featuring Osaka-bound Becky Lyne (Hallamshire Harriers Sheffield) and Lisa Dobriskey (Ashford AC), European Under 23 1500m Champion Abby Westley (Loughborough Students), European Under 23 5000m Champion Laura Kenney (Royal Sutton Coldfield AC), European Junior 1500m silver medallist Stephanie Twell (Aldershot, Farnham and District AC) and European Junior 800m silver medallist Emma Jackson (City of Stoke AC) while European Under 23 800m silver medallist Lizi Brathwaite (Herts Phoenix) will concentrate on her best distance, in which she is currently ninth in the UK Challenge standings.


The Brodies Scottish Championships will doubtless be noted by the majority as the scene of Christine Ohuruogu (Newham and Essex Beagles) returning to action after her suspension for missing three drugs tests. But it is of equal importance to the likes of Eilidh Child (Pitreavie AAC), whose barrage of eight personal bests throughout this summer have left her clear at the top of the UK Challenge 400m hurdles standings, and James Campbell (Cheltenham and County Harriers), the 19-year-old Scottish senior record holder who is second in the UK Challenge javelin standings to reigning champion Nick McLellan (Stevenage and North Herts AC). For details of the Scottish Championships, please click here


Away from the UK Challenge, the fourth and final round of this summer’s London Inter Club Challenge takes place at the New River Stadium, White Hart Lane, North London, on Saturday (1pm). Part-funded by UK Athletics, the unique competition incorporates the best of inter-club rivalry between Enfield & Haringey AC, Highgate Harriers, Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers and Woodford Green AC with Essex Ladies and yet ensures that the standards are higher than normal regional leagues by allowing guests to compete at £1 per event.


Shaftesbury Barnet team manager Geoff Morphitis says: “All LICC meetings cater for all events and all age groups very like a normal open meeting but with only Seniors and Juniors scoring in the inter-club competition. By having all 4 rounds at North London venues, travelling is dramatically reduced. We cope with a full list of events in about four hours. I think this is the way forward and is certainly supported by athletes from all London clubs as well as athletes from Aylesbury and Crawley on a regular basis.” For further information, please click here


The World Mountain Running Trials at Braithwaite, Keswick, on Sunday include Victoria Wilkinson (Bingley Harriers), who has a 15-point lead in the World Series with only one round to go, in Slovenia in October. She will be among a clutch of hardy athletes aiming for places in the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team at the World Championships to be held in Switzerland on 15 September.