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UK Challenge up for the Cup

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Athletes chasing places in the UK Challenge Final at Crystal Palace on Saturday 25 August still have 18 opportunities to top-up their points totals – starting with the New BAL Cup semi-finals on 21 July.


For full details of which clubs are in the ties at Copthall Barnet, Eton’s Thames Valley Athletics Centre, Tamworth, Wakefield and Blackpool please go to http://www.bal.org.uk/bal/easymod/database/news_files/1113213579569_PIC/PIC_PDF1.pdf


All of the matches will be in the quick-fire ’10 in 100’ format – meaning 10 events in 100 minutes … plenty of time for athletes to improve on any of their best four performances in the UK Challenge series this summer and therefore increase their chances of finishing in the top eight of their event and earning automatic invitations to the final.


In the chase for the star prizes, the Car Challenge is currently being led by hammer thrower Zoe Derham (Birchfield Harriers) with 872 points – just two ahead of discus ace Emeka Udechuku (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies). The athlete with the most UK Challenge points through their Fantastic Four scores including any bonus points, plus their overall points score at the UK Challenge Final, will win the right to drive an Alfa Romeo GT Sports Car for one year. Those behind the leading two will have to accelerate mightily to catch the car! For the next best points accumulators are high jumper Adam Scarr (832), hammer thrower Carys Parry and high jumper Susan Moncrieff (820 each), high jumper Stephanie Pywell (815), hammer thrower Andy Frost (804), triple jumper Julian Golley (796), high jumper Tom Parsons (795) and discus thrower Kara Nwidobie (794).


The Cup ties could also have a great influence on the July Athlete of the Month competition. Udechuku is the current run-away leader with 679 points. His pursuers, thanks largely to favourable winds at the UK Challenge JumpsFest at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium, are fellow discus throwers Philippa Roles (489) and Matt Brown (486) with javelin thrower Lianne Clarke on 470 and European Cup representative Kara Nwidobie on 429.


While track athletes are out of the running for those prizes, they still have plenty to chase. For there are prize pots in every event at the Crystal Palace final: £300 to each winner, £150 for second places, £100 for thirds, £50 for fourths and £25 for fifths.


And a huge number of semi-finals will have the chance to test themselves against UK Challenge prize-chasers as the competitions fulfils UK Athletics’ policy of encouraging as many athletes as possible to strive to improve performances in every event on the way to London 2012.


All matches start at 2pm except Copthall, where the first semi-final starts at noon and the second one at 3pm.