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Norwich Union GB teams for Combined Events International

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Meghan Beesley
Beesley - World Bronze medallist is set for Ashford




23 July 2008




With understandable focus on the Olympics in Beijing, and the weekend’s action set to be dominated by events in Crystal Palace, some of Europe’s finest young athletes will be looking to seize some of the limelight on the 26 and 27 July.


The Julie Rose stadium at Ashford will host some of GB’s top young multi event names this weekend.


The Norwich Union Under 23/Under 20 Combined Events International brings together teams from France, Switzerland, the Netherlands to battle it out on the track and field, with Great Britain hoping to steal the show as hosts as it returns to British shores.


One athlete brought into the squad, Meghan Beesley, has already represented Great Britain this summer, at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz. Birchfield Harrier's impressive bronze medal in the 400m hurdles in Poland has seen her included in the U23 Women's team for this weekend.


The U23 Men's team is also complemented with the inclusion of Peter Glass (North Down AC). It is the Northern Irishman's first time representing Great Britain, and he will be looking to make his mark and take his chance. Although both are late additions to the Under 23 line up, Beesley's experience at international level and Glass' personal best performance in Hexham earlier in the month show that team officials are taking the challenge of taking on some of Europe's best young multi event athletes seriously. 


Team leader, Kerry Eddie commented on the strength that both age groups demonstrate, stating that: “both the Junior Men's and Women's Teams are very strong with all four athletes in the Men's Team scoring higher than the second ranked athlete in the team last year and that three of the four are still in the Age-Group again next year. 


“For the Women we have a similar situation where three of the four will still be in the Age-Group next year and again three out of the four have scored more this year than our second ranked athlete in the match last year.”


The NU GB team is fielding some of the best of their age group, with Ashley Bryant (Windsor, Slough and Eton Harriers) leading the group selected in the men’s under 20 category. Bryant already has accumulated 6871pts in the decathlon. Similarly, in the women’s under 20 team Katarina Thompson (Liverpool Harriers) heads a strong line up, and will be hopeful of improving on a best points score of 5,192 and consolidating that number one position at the top of the Under 20 Power of 10 rankings.


Under 23 decathlete Oliver McNeillis (Birchfield Harriers) was less than 300pts from the Olympic B standard, and the though Beijing may have come too soon, it may be a case of London calling in four years time.


Another athlete making his debut in the U23 category this weekend is Medway and Maidstone's Martin Brockman. His first time representing Great Britain comes with the added honour of doing so in his home county, where Brockman will be looking to draw on the local support of family and friends as he bids to break the 7,000pts mark.


Of being selected, Brockman said "It was a great feeling to be selected for the GB team as I have had to work hard for the last 2 seasons in order to achieve my place and I am hoping it will be the beginning of a successful career for me."


The focus on this weekend is double edged, with team and individual honours both up for grabs. When asked about any rivalries that have developed over the season, Brockman pointed out that "the members of the team all score within a few hundred points of each other which means a healthy rivalry has built up between us."


While team members remain friends, this doesn't stop them from wanting to come out on top, but such competition, Brockman stresses will drive individuals on and make for a successful team.


The Under 23 women will be looking to impress with Catherine Holdsworth top of the tree of the trio representing the nation in Ashford next week. Holdsworth has already achieved higher than the UK Power of 10 target with her PB setting performance in Birmingham in June.


Those looking for a slice of the action can gain entry via purchase of a programme for £2, which allows admission for up to a family of 4.


The Norwich Union Great Britain team


Men’s Under 20 Team

Ashley Bryant (Windsor, Slough and Eton Harriers)

Ben Gregory (Vale of Aylesbury AC)

Ben Gibb (Yeovil Olympiads)

Will Lambourne (Marshall Milton Keynes)


Men’s Under 23 Team

Ricardo Beckford (London Heathside)

Oliver McNeillis (Birchfield Harriers)

Martin Brockman (Medway and Maidstone)

Peter Glass (North Down AC)


Women’s Under 20 Team

Kaneesha Johnson (Colchester Harriers)

Eleanor Markendale (Pendle)

Alice Lennox (City of Stoke AC)

Katarina Thompson (Liverpool Harriers)


Women’s Under 23 Team

Catherine Holdsworth (Colchester Harriers)

Serita Shone (Bournemouth)

Gemma Weetman (Oswestry)

Meghan Beesley (Birchfield Harriers)