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UK Athletics

SprintsFest II at Indoor City Challenge Final

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UK Athletics Competitions Department are planning to add a second 60m SprintsFest to the UK Indoor City Challenge Final at the EIS Sheffield on Sunday 18 February.


But whether it goes ahead all depends on the reaction of sprinters. For it will only happen if there is enough demand.


“It’ll be interesting to see whether the sprinters in the north are as eager as the sprinters in the south – though, of course, there’s nothing to stop the southern sprinters making the journey up the M1 for a tasty competition,” comments UKA Events Manager Paul Aldridge, inviting entrants to email him at paldridge@ukathletics.org.uk by noon on Thursday 15 February.


The decision to offer the extra competition opportunity follows the roaring success of the SprintsFest that was added to the ICC semi-final at London’s Lee Valley Athletics Centre last Sunday.


It attracted 24 extra men, including Nick Smith (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers) who flew down from his home in Scotland to win his heat in 6.85 seconds and the B final in 6.77, plus of course Slough-based Mark Lewis-Francis (Birchfield Harriers), who flew from the Norwich Union Indoor Grand Prix in Glasgow, finished second to Darren Chin in the match race and then won the SprintsFest final in 6.72.


There were only six extra women at Lee Valley. Current Power of 10 rankings leader Laura Turner (Harrow AC) won the final in 7.32 with Montell Douglas (Blackheath and Bromley) clocking a PB of 7.37 in second place.


Now comes the chance for sprinters based in the north to make an impact. Their current fastest, hurdler Andy Turner (Sale Harriers Manchester) is equal 21st in the Power of 10 flat 60m rankings with 6.85 – and he trains in London. The northern women are stronger: Power of 10 60m rankings have long jumper Gillian Cooke (Edinburgh Southern Harriers) equal 5th on 7.41, Anyika Onuora (Liverpool Harriers) 8th on 7.46, Under 20 Jenny Taker (Trafford AC) 9th on 7.49 and heptathlete Jessica Ennis (City of Sheffield) 10th on 7.53.


It will open up the meeting to more sprinters than those named in the eight teams that will contest the final – Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, London North, London South, Manchester, Oxford and the defending champions, Sheffield.


Admission will be free to spectators. The action at the EIS will start at 12.30pm on Sunday 18 February. The Final is supported by Sheffield City Council’s Major Sports Events Unit. For more information call EISS on 0114 223 5600.