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European U23 Championships: Selections

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Craig Pickering
Craig Pickering on his way to victory in Munich

UK Athletics today announced the first wave of selections for the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team to contest the European Under 23 Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, on 12-15 July.


European Cup 100m winner Craig Pickering gets the chance to add to the European Junior title he won two years ago while current World heptathlon No.3 Jessica Ennis is in the 100m hurdles and high jump, events in which she has already set national age group records this summer.


Ennis, the European Junior heptathlon champion of 2005, is ranked second among European Under 23s in the hurdles with 13.04 seconds behind Spain’s Josephine Onyia (12.83). The Sheffield University psychology graduate also leads the high jump lists with 1.95m, which equals the UK senior record.


Pickering, top of the European Under 23 rankings with the lifetime best time of 10.15 seconds with which he won the Cup 100m in Munich last weekend, lines-up alongside Simeon Williamson, who defeated him three times in 2005 before finishing second to him in the European Juniors final, and Ryan Scott, his training mate at the University of Bath with whom he reached the 60m final at the European Indoor Championships in Birmingham in March.


Both Ennis and Pickering are using the meeting as part of their plans to get into the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland senior team for the IAAF World Championships in Osaka.


Other European Cup performers selected for Debrecen are Abby Westley, whose 1500m victory helped the women win their match in Finland, high jumper Steph Pywell, 400m hurdler Ben Carne, pole vaulter Steve Lewis and long jumper Chris Kirk. David Greene, the 2005 European Junior silver medallist who currently tops the European Under rankings at 400m hurdles, will also be in providing he recovers from the injury that prevented him racing in Munich.


Team leader Steve Rippon said: “This is a very strong team. The Debrecen stadium is next door to a zoo and I reckon we’ve selected a fair pride of young lions. Every athlete selected has the potential to reach his or her final. More importantly as we build towards London 2012, every athlete selected has the talent to go on to become a successful senior international providing he and she takes full advantage of learning opportunities such as this.”


UK Athletics Performance Director Dave Collins said: "The European Under 23s is an important championship that is a specific stepping stone for athletes who have their sights set on future World and Olympic success.


"The athletes picked for Debrecen have some massive challenges ahead of them and it's events like this that will help in their long term development and preparations for what lies ahead. It's a strong team full of talent and the athletes' experiences in Hungary will stand them in good stead for the years to come."



U23 Men 100m: Craig Pickering (Marshall Milton Keynes AC), Ryan Scott (Yate & District AC), Simeon Williamson (Highgate Harriers). 200m: Leon Baptiste (Enfield & Haringey), Rikki Fifton (Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets). 400m: Richard Buck (City of York), Richard Strachan (Leeds City). 800m: Richard Hill (Notts AC), Darren St Clair (Enfield & Haringey). 5000m: Andy Vernon (Aldershot, Farnham & District), Jonathan Thewlis (City of Sheffield). 3000m steeplechase: Luke Gunn (Derby AC). 400m hurdles: Ben Carne (Harrow AC), David Greene (Swansea Harriers, subject to fitness). High jump: Adam Scarr (Enfield & Haringey). Pole vault: Joe Ive (Belgrave Harriers), Steve Lewis (Newham & Essex), Paul Walker (Sale Harriers Manchester). Long jump: Chris Kirk (City of Sheffield). Triple Jump: Gary White (Cardiff AAC).


U23 Women – 100m: Montell Douglas (Blackheath & Bromley). 200m: Douglas, Kadi-Ann Thomas (Marshall Milton Keynes AC). 800m: Charlotte Best (Crawley AC), Laura Finucane (Pendle AC). 1500m: Lizi Brathwaite (Herts Phoenix), Hannah England (Oxford City AC), Abby Westley (Hallamshire Harriers). 5000m: Susie Hignett (Bournemouth AC), Laura Kenney (Royal Sutton Coldfield). 100m hurdles: Jessica Ennis (City of Sheffield). 400m hurdles: Eilidh Child (Pitreavie AAC). 20km walk: Jo Jackson (Redcar RWC). High jump: Ennis, Stephanie Pywell (Sale Harriers Manchester). Pole vault: Louise Butterworth (Birchfield Harriers), Emma Lyons (Notts AC). Long jump: Amy Harris (Birchfield Harriers). Heptathlon: Louise Hazel (Peterborough AC).


The team will be finalised next week, giving several athletes a further chance to impress the selectors at events such as the UK Challenge JumpsFest at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, on Saturday 30 June (10.30am to 6pm), the British Milers’ Club Nike Grand Prix incorporating the UK Challenge and UKA Endurance Initiative at Watford on Saturday 30 June (5pm til late) and the UK Challenge ThrowsFest at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, on Sunday 1 July (10am to 6pm).