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brits begin berlin campaign

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4x100m Relay - Women
women's 4x100m in great shape following Monte Gordo


14 August 2009

The first members of the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team have flown from the preparation camp in Monte Gordo, Portugal to the biggest athletics event of the year; the IAAF World Championships as they begin their campaign in Berlin, 15-23 August.

Team spirit is high amongst the 60 strong squad, with a real sense of unity carrying through from the successful preparation camp to the German capital.

Olympic gold medallist and reiging World Champion Christine Ohuruogu (Newham & Essex Beagles), amongst those on the first flight out of the camp, will return to the competition to defend her title, won two years ago in Osaka, Japan. Teammate Nicola Sanders (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) could also prosper over the one-lap following a fine reutrn to fitness this year.

Olympic silver medallist Philips Idowu (Belgrave) is eager to reach the top spot in the triple jump. He will face  his greatest rival Nelson Evora of Portugal who beat him to gold in Beijing last year.

Idowu said:  "Training has been good and I'm fit. I've enjoyed taking a few weeks out of competition to focus on those finishing touches because they could make the difference. What happens before a major championships means nothing. I've also competed in some pretty difficult conditions this season, so I'm happy with my form.”

Jessica Ennis (City of Sheffield) returns to the majors following an intense period of rehabilitation from injury in 2008 and a superb comeback during 2009. The heptathlete promises great things as she steps onto the international stage as Britain’s number one heptathlete.

Sprinter Simeon Williamson (Highgate) will line up against a tough international field including World record holder and Olympic champion Usain Bolt, as well as Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay as he begins his 100m campaign. Fellow Brits Tyrone Edgar (Newham & Essex Beagles) and Dwain Chambers (Belgrave) will also bid for a place in the final, Chambers doubling up in the 200m also.

Also in the running for a place in their respective finals are Martyn Rooney (Croydon) and Lisa Dobriskey (Ashton), who finished sixth and fourth respectively at last year’s Beijing Olympic Games. Dobriskey said: “There is a lot of pressure on me this year because of coming so close last year. I don’t want to be on the cusp of being a world-class athlete anymore.

“Beijing was such a big-step forward for me, it proved that I really can be competitive on the biggest stage and against the best in the world. That is what makes this World Championships so important, I don’t want to take a step back.”

The women’s 4 x 100m relay team showed promise while training at the preparation camp and hope to be a threat to their Jamaican, Russian and American counterparts. Strong 800m contenders Jenny Meadows (Wigan AC),  Marilyn Okoro (Shaftesbury Barnet) and Jemma Simpson (Newquay & Par) could all make a play for final contention along with Mo Farah (Newham & Essex Beagles) in the 5,000m and the men’s 4 x 400m team.

Finally there is a taste of young talent coming through in the squad set for Berlin. European Junior Gold medallist Chris Clarke (Marshall Milton Keynes) will take part in the Men’s 4x400m relay whist European U23 silver medalists Gianni Frankis (Newham & Essex Beagles) and Nigel Levine (Bedford & County) also join the team in the 110m hurdles and 4x400m relay respectively. Other age group success from this summer taking their place in this week’s World championship team include: Under 23 100m champion Harry Aikines Aryeetey (Sutton & District), U23 400m hurdles gold and silver medallists Perri Shakes Drayton (Victoria Park) and Eilidh Child (Pitreavie) U23 1500m silver medallist James Brewer (Cheltenham & County), and U23 Pole vault silver medallist Luke Cutts (Dearnside).

Keep an eye on www.uka.org.uk for up to date session reports and quotes from the GB&NI athletes.