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mccain uk challenge final

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Brett Morse

26 August 2010

A host of Commonwealth Games-selected athletes line up in this weekend’s McCain UK Challenge Final in Cardiff, where there’s a minimum of £30,000 prize money on offer, including Aviva UK champion and current number one Brett Morse (coach: Nigel Bevan) in the men’s discus, and the UK’s top ranked hammer throwers Alex Smith (coach: Shane Peacock) and Mark Dry (coach: Derek Evely).

Welsh national record holder Morse, selected this month to represent Wales in October’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi, has come into form at the right time with a 63.35m lifetime best the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace in mid-August.

He’ll have home advantage at Cardiff’s International Stadium this weekend as he takes on England’s Chris Scott (coach: Andrew Neal) and Scotland’s Angus McInroy (coach: Hugh Murray) – both athletes also Delhi-bound - and aims to exceed the 64m mark for the first time ever and claim his share of the McCain jackpot.

In the men’s hammer, it’s Scotland versus England as Smith and Dry – who have enjoyed consistent progression in the event in recent years – take on UK number five and English national champion Mike Floyd (coach: Kevin Madden).

All three will compete in Delhi and will take confidence from a solid performance in Wales as they fine tune their Commonwealth Games preparations.

The women’s hammer should offer an equally intriguing competition as Welsh Commonwealth Games duo Laura Douglas (coach: Kevin Madden) and Carys Parry (coach: Lorraine Shaw), fourth and fifth respectively in the McCain Power of 10 rankings for 2010 to date, face England’s experienced internationalist Zoe Derham (coach: Lorraine Shaw).

Derham, the Aviva UK champion and UK number one, will compete in her third consecutive Commonwealth Games in Delhi this year and will be aiming to conclude her domestic season on a high.

Four of the UK’s top six – including European Championships finalist Tom Parsons (coach: Fuzz Ahmed) - will battle it out for the McCain UK Challenge high jump title, setting it up to be potentially one of the most exciting events of the day.

Parsons, with a 2.30m PB, has been selected to represent England in the Commonwealth Games, but his more immediate priority will be to win back his training group honours against Robbie Grabarz, Matthew Roberts and Adam Scarr, all of whom ply their trade under Ahmed in Birmingham and Loughborough.

On the track – where much of the action will take place during the evening BMC meeting from 17.30 – the men’s 800m should give the Welsh crowd something to shout about.

Gareth Warburton (coach: Darrell Maynard), who clocked a lifetime best of 1:46.47 to finish seventh in the Aviva London Grand Prix a fortnight ago, will battle it out against his Commonwealth Games team mate Joe Thomas (coach: Arwyn Davies) who has a season’s best of 1:47.07.

The pair line up against Ed Aston (coach: Michael Smith) currently one place above Thomas on the McCain Power of 10 rankings with a season’s best and PB of 1:47.02.

Scotland’s Freya Murray (coach: Steve Jones), who will make her Commonwealth Games debut in Delhi this year, will line up in the 5000m. The 26-year-old, who clocked her 15:31.17 best earlier this summer in Belgium, most recently finished 14th in a high quality Aviva London Grand Prix field with 15:46.03.

In addition to the prize money on offer over the course of the day – which will be increased if an athlete achieves a personal best during the event and finishes within the top three - £5000 is on offer in the McCain UK Golden Challenge and nine athletes are still in the mix to take the jackpot.

If an athlete achieves the highest or equal highest points score (not including bonus points) at one of the 53 Challenge qualifying events, finishes top of their individual event rankings after all 47 qualifying events and is a McCain UK Challenge champion in their relevant event this weekend, they will either win outright or take a share of the £5000 prize fund.

For latest standings visit the McCain UK Challenge section on the UKA website.