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Heroes for Trials

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Heroes 2009


26 June 2009

Hurdler Niall Flannery insists he still has plenty of work to do to book his place on the plane for the European Junior Championships.

The Gateshead Harrier, 18, heads to the England under 20 Championships and European Junior Trials in Bedford this weekend in fine form, having already recorded a new personal best of 51.32 this season.

That means the Newcastle RGS pupil has already achieved the qualifying standard needed for Serbia but he won’t be taking anything for granted when he travels south this weekend.

“I’m already well inside the qualifying time for the Europeans but the job is only half done really and there are a couple of guys who will be out to get me,” said Flannery, who is part of the Original Source-funded UKA Heroes project.

“Jack Green has got the qualifying time as well and then there is Michael Baker who hasn’t run as fast but is definitely a competitive runner on his day.”

And the trip to Bedford couldn’t have come at a better time for fellow Gateshead Harrier Ross Murray.

The middle-distance runner has had his head buried in the books recently after sitting his A-Level exams at St Thomas More High School and can’t wait to return to action on the track.

He’s still found time to shave almost three seconds off his personal best recently and insists he will go for broke in Bedford to seal his trip to Serbia.

“Since I finished my exams I’ve had a massive weight lifted off my mind and I can’t wait to get to the trials now,” said Murray.

 “I ran the PB in Watford but I should really have run a bit quicker and that’s something to build on.

“I’m probably the underdog going into the race as Niall Brooks and Simon Horsfield have been running well but I know I can match them.”

Morpeth’s Laura Weightman has yet to reach the qualifying time but is convinced she will follow Murray’s lead and do the business in Bedford.

The 1500m starlet will head to the trials knowing she must run under 4.20 minutes to gain an automatic place on the plane.

The 17-year-old said: “I’m feeling really confident and things have gone well leading up to the trials.

“I’m training well, running well and the only downside is that I haven’t got the qualifying time yet – hopefully that will change this weekend.”

City of Glasgow runner Beth Potter will also make the trip to the trials in confident mood having already achieved the qualifying time in the 3,000m.

And Manchester sprinter Shaunna Thompson will bid to add to her growing reputation in the 200m.

Meanwhile, Sarah Holt will again battle through the pain barrier her hip in the hammer for a place at the European under-23 Championships in Lithuania along with Stourbridge high-jumper Jessica Leach.

UKA Heroes project sponsored by Original Source is a successful initiative which offers financial support to talented young athletes who are working towards the 2012 and 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.