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England Combined Events Championships preview

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The newly-announced UK Combined Events Challenge gathers pace at the Northwood Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, on Saturday and Sunday 9 and 10 June when the England Athletics Combined Events Championships feature athletes aiming for places in the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Teams at the European Cup of Combined Events in Szcecin, Poland, on 7 and 8 July as well as this summer’s World Championships, European Under 23 Championships, World University Games, European Junior Championships, IAAF World Youth Championships and European Youth Olympics Festival.


The leading heptathletes in the senior women’s competition have the incentive of knowing they could join Kelly Sotherton, Jessica Ennis and Julie Hollman in the European Cup team if they can overhaul the 5596 points scored by Ros Gonse in Arles, especially as Louise Hazell is expected to be concentrating on the European Under 23s that take place only a week after the Cup match. Among the leading seniors at Stoke are Phyllis Agbo, finally free of exams at Cambridge University, Gemma Weetman and last year’s champion Katia Lannon.


Of the decathletes, current UK No.1 Ben Hazell will be aiming for the WUG target of 7700; Kevin Sempers will seek the European Under 23s entry mark of 7600; and Ed Dunford will be among those aiming to impress the Cup selectors by going over 7000.


The junior men’s field will miss the injured Guy Stroud and Neil Crossley. It will be interesting to see whether any competitors can join Daniel Awde beyong the European Juniors’ qualifying mark of 7175 points.


The junior women launch into their heptathlon knowing that Jade Surman showed great form in Arles last weekend by scoring 5601 points, 300 in excess of the European Juniors’ entry standard. Jenny Lumley is closest with a PB of 5238 and can expect to be pushed by her Yorkshire colleagues Amy Hill and Hannah Francis-Smithson plus Lucy Boggis.


The Championships are the second of six meetings in the UK Combined Events Challenge series. For full details, please click here