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McCain final preview

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Callum Priestley
Four athletes are eligible for the £5000 Golden Challenge award at this weekend’s McCain UK Challenge Final in Cardiff.

Hammer thrower Peter Smith, 110m hurdler Callum Priestley, 800m runner Claire Gibson and 1500m Jermaine Mays are all eligible for the pot having won the highest number of performance points and topping their individual event ranking after 46 qualifying events.

Each must now win their individual event at the final to take a grip on the big money prize. But with a possible £1000 up for grabs to each athlete in Saturday’s final, there will be no easy pickings. Every individual event winner will collect £400 which will be topped up by a further £600 should they set a new PB in doing so.

In the 110m hurdles, Priestley will start as favourite, but will faces a stiff test against Commonwealth silver medallist Chris Baillie and newly-crowned European junior champion Lawrence Clarke leading the opposition. There are also several other events which are guaranteed to be keenly-contested.

The men’s 100m will see series leader Jeffrey Lawal-Balogun face up to GB & NI senior international Ryan Scott and European junior bronze medallist Eugene Ayanful. The fastest man in field is James Ellington with a season’s best of 10.27 and he could be the man to beat in what should be one of the day’s highlights.

In the women’s hammer, Carys Parry will be looking to hold on to the title she won last year, but she will face tough opposition from Welsh rival Laura Douglas, European junior bronze medallist Sophie Hitchon and Scottish champion Susan McKelvie.

Also in the field, the women’s discus looks a spicy one. Series leader and defending champion Eden Francis is bursting with confidence after her recent gold-medal winning performance at the European U23 Championships. But she cannot afford to be complacent, especially with Jade Nicholls - who won the bronze behind Francis at the Serbia-hosted U23s - also in the field alongside Olympian Philippa Roles.

In the men’s 400m hurdles, last year’s winner Ben Sumner will have his hands full with the less experienced but in-form European U23 champion Lloyd Gumbs. All the action gets underway at 11.30am at the Cardiff International Sports Stadium with a full track and field programme of events. The endurance races will double as the British Milers Club Grand Prix Final event.

For further information on the event, click here.