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Norwich Union International Preview

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25 January 2008


Double World champion Bernard Lagat leads a strong line up into the Norwich Union International Match, at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow tomorrow.


The American insists the meet will provide the starting blocks to a year which will hopefully end in Olympic glory in Beijing.


“I am using the indoor season now to prepare for good training later on before the Olympics trials,” said the 33-year-old.


“I thought about doing the World Indoors but decided not to go because I want to concentrate on good training for the Olympics.”


Having triumphed in both the 1500m and 5000m at the World Championships in Osaka, speculation now surrounds Lagat’s intentions to go for the same double in Beijing.


“It is do-able so I think that if I keep the same mental focus I will be able to do both. Although, I will continue my season for now and then around July or August I will make my decision.  I do not have to make my decision now. When I ran the 1500m and 5000m in Osaka it gave me a different look on how things are.  It is not easy doing the double.


“Now I look back I realise I have been running 5000m since college but never at a World Championship level.  It is an event that I like a lot because it is tough to run and it’s longer.”


Lagat will be joined in the 1500m at Kelvin Hall by World bronze medallist Shadrak Korir and Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s Michael East, whom he rates as a tough competitor.


The Men’s 60m promises to be hotly contested between European U23 champion Simeon Williamson and European indoor silver medallist Craig Pickering, who launched onto the international scene last year at the same meet, by beating his then training partner Jason Gardener.


In the Women’s 60m the Olympic 4x100m gold medallist Aileen Bailey will be up against Jeanette Kwayke, who had a great indoor season last year, where she made the final of the European indoors.


All eyes will also be on the Women’s 60m hurdles, where the six-time champion in Kelvin Hall, Sweden’s Susanna Kallur, faces US indoor champion Lolo Jones and British heptathlete Jessica Ennis.


The home crowd are likely to be in high spirits in the Men’s 60m hurdles, with Scots Chris Baillie and Alan Scott going head-to-head, and also the Women’s 400m, which sees Scotland’s Gemma Nicol make her senior debut against Monique Hennagan.


Finally Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s Jennifer Meadows takes to the track in the 800m, after making the semi-finals in Osaka last year, while America’s Brad Walker, who won gold at the same championships, will compete in the pole vault along with Britain’s Steve Lewis.