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Top British Athletes Begin ICC Campaign

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Indoor City Challenge athletes competing in 2008


23 January 2009

The first semi-final of the McCain Indoor City Challenge (ICC) kicks off the popular series on Saturday 24th January promising top UK domestic and Great Britain & Northern Ireland athletes all looking to begin 2009 in the best possible form.

Team Bristol, Team London North, Team London South, Team Birmingham, Team Oxford & Team Belfast will compete at the Lee Valley Athletics Centre in the first semi-final , the second will take place at the EIS in Sheffield on 8th February.

Athletes include:

Commonwealth Youth Games bronze medallist and World Junior 4x400m silver medallist Jordan McGrath (Birchfield Harriers) begins his competitive year with a rare 800m outing for Team Birmingham.  He is joined by Former Commonwealth Champion Nathan Morgan (Birchfield Harriers), World Junior 110m hurdles semi-finalist Edirin Okoro (Birchfield Harriers) and Sara McGreavy (Sale Harriers) who finished second in the 100m hurdles at the 2008 Aviva National Championships and Olympic Games trials in Birmingham in 2008.

Team London South’s Samson Oni (Belgrave Harriers), who won gold in the high jump at last year’s UK Indoor Championships and went on to finish 12th at the World indoor Championships in Valencia, Spain, will line up along side sprint hurdler Alex Al-Ameen (Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC), who  reached the semi-finals at last year’s World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland and GB & NI internationals  Conrad Williams (Kent AC) and Tosin Oke (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies), who will compete in the 400m and triple jump respectively.

Runners-up for the last three years Team London North will be hoping to go one better this year with help from Perri Shakes-Drayton (Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets) who will make a rare appearance  in the 60m in an effort to work on her speed ahead of the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships in Sheffield on 14 & 15 February. 2006 Commonwealth triple jump bronze medallist Nadia Williams (Shaftsbury Barnet Harriers) and former Commonwealth champion Julian Golley (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) return to the competition for Team London  North  to defend their titles, together with Team GB Olympic 4x400m squad member  international Vicki Barr (Rugby & Northampton AC).

Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) 1500m bronze medallist Ciara Mageean (City of Lisburn)and fellow CYG team mate 110m hurdler Ben Reynolds (North Down AC) have been included in Team Belfast, along side World Indoor 400m bronze medallist Paul McKee (Beechmount), making the team a real mix of youth and experience.

GB&NI 400m hurdles international and Olympic 4x400m squad member Dale Garland (Birchfield Harriers) will take to the track for Team Bristol in the 400m along with Steve Green (Newham and Essex Beagles) who finished second at the 2007 ICC semi-final. 2008 ICC semi-final pole vault winner Chris North (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) will face tough competition from up and coming World Junior athlete Scott Huggins representing Team London North.

World Junior 800m semi-finalist  Rick Ward (City of Norwich), England Under 23 100m champ James Dasaolu (Croydon Harriers)  and 2008 English Schools triple jump champion and number one ranked UK junior Shakira Whight (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies). While Olympic long jump finalist and UK champion Greg Rutherford (Marshall Milton Keynes) is still to be confirmed but may use the McCain ICC in preparation for the forthcoming Aviva European Trials and UK Championships.

ICC Competition Manager Paul Aldridge said: “This year’s McCain Indoor City Challenge promises to give athletes a chance to strive to a new level of performance. With additional performance related prizes, those athletes who prepare meticulously for the series will be rewarded if they can deliver on the day.

“Each year sees the event attract all levels of athletes, from seasoned Great Britain athletes to those who are striving to perform at the highest domestic level. Each team has its stars and future stars giving the series a unique mix. I’m sure with the focus of 2012 athletes are using this years series as an opportunity to continue that countdown. ”

Each match will comprise a full timetable of events for indoor track and field and will conclude with a medley relay. The top three scoring teams in each of the semi-finals will be invited to compete at the ICC Final in Cardiff on 28th February, plus the two best runners up to make eight teams at the final.

The McCain ICC Trophy will be presented to the overall winning team and prize money paid to all athletes in the 1st placed team at the Semi-Finals & 1st, 2nd & 3rd placed teams at the Final. A total prize fund of £20,000 is up for grabs.

Spectator entry is free!

For more information visit: http://www.ukathletics.net/competitions/indoor-city-challenge/