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UK Athletics

Olympic hopeful schedules ICC into winter calendar

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Niall Flannery


20 December 2007  


With his sights firmly fixed on the London 2012 Olympic Games, 17 year-old 400m hurdler Niall Flannery is already planning his route. 


Flannery’s first step on the road to success will begin at the 2008 Indoor City Challenge (ICC) in January, competing for Team Newcastle. At the ICC young athletes are given the chance to experience high-level competition at an event specifically designed by UK Athletics to characterise major championships.


Flannery’s confidence was ‘sky high’ throughout last season as he remained unbeaten in the under 17 400m hurdles and is currently top of the UKA Power of Ten rankings. However his feet remain firmly on the ground as he recognises the need to focus to gain the most from competing in the ICC.


He said: "I have been able to increase training this winter, with the support of UK Athletics and the funding i have received from them, and I feel the ICC will be a good event for me to base my indoor winter season on. I hope to achieve a certain amount of success so I can see that my training and hard work is paying off."


A competitive, atmospheric, high standard, team event, the Indoor City Challenge has become a staple of many young athletes’ winter season.


European Under 23 100m silver medallist and Beijing 2008 hopeful Montell Douglas (Team London South) is planning her winter season: "I enjoyed the ICC last year; there were a range of athletes there which was great for the atmosphere. It provides athletes with the opportunity for competition to better themselves.


"The ICC can definitely be utilised as competitive preparation for the major championships and if I feel I need a competition at that time to further prepare for the majors, then I will be doing the ICC."


The Indoor City Challenge 2008 will take place across three dates. The first semi final will be held at SportCity in Manchester on 27 January, the second will take place on the 2 February at Cardiff University’s first class sports facilities. The final, in which the top three teams from each Semi Final and the two best runners up will compete, will be held at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport on 17 February.


Paul Aldridge, ICC co-ordinator believes in the value of the ICC’s calendar timing: "The 2008 ICC is gathering momentum and support, at the moment athletes and their coaches will be implementing their winter training plans and looking ahead to the indoor season. I’m confident that the majority will recognise the ICC as the perfect stepping stone for qualifying marks and also to fulfil their competitions needs for the forthcoming indoor and outdoor seasons."


To contact team managers or co-ordinators visit the Indoor City Challenge section of the UK Athletics website: Indoor City Challenge


To watch a host of talented athletes at each of the events just go along to the venue. Spectator entry is free. For venue information please visit Indoor City Challenge