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ROONEY HOPES TO INSPIRE TEAM VICTORY

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Martyn Rooney

16 June 2010

The fastest man over one lap in Europe this year, Martyn Rooney, says he is ready to inspire his country to victory at the SPAR European Team Championships, before aiming to be Britain’s number one at the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships in Birmingham June 25-27.

The Londoner has been named in the Aviva GB and NI team which will compete in Bergen this weekend. At the European Cup two years ago in Annecy, France, Rooney won the 400m and then steered the 4x400m relay team to second place, which guided GB and NI to overall team victory. 

And having been the only European to run sub 45 seconds so far this season, in Geneva last Saturday, he appears to be in threatening form.

The Olympic and World 400m finalist said: “I had a really successful Champs, two years ago, and had good fun in the relay. Everyone from the team was standing on the side of the track for the relay and they were yelling ‘Rooney, Rooney, Rooney’.

“Afterwards when we collected our medals everyone was together and celebrating. I haven’t felt like that for years- the collective desire of everyone wanting to win, as normally we are out competing for ourselves.

“It’s going to be fun. I’m going to go out and try to win, rather than run fast. We want to win.”

And if being Europe’s number one isn’t enough, Rooney is also hoping that a decent performance by his namesake and the England football team will give him extra bragging rights away from the track this weekend.

“I’m a fan of Wayne Rooney. I think he had a fantastic season but now there’s perhaps a bit too much pressure on him as the whole team relies on him to score goals.

“Hopefully this weekend we will get some banter going with the other teams. Although the German football team are looking strong, so maybe I won’t say anything to the German athletes, just yet! I’ll concentrate on the sport first and get the banter going later.

“They’re (England) doing their best and know that if they play well then they are one of the best teams at the World Cup.  We (the Aviva GB and NI team) are one of the best teams in Europe and if we also come together we know that we can win.  We have to be sensible and not just go out and run quick. We have to go out and win the races.”

The 23-year-old will continue his quest for a first individual medal at a major championship at the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships at the Alexander Stadium, June 25-27.  Aviva GB & NI  4 x 400m relay teammates Michael Bingham and Conrad Williams are likely to provide stiff competition, which Rooney welcomes as he suggests his event could be returning to its glory days.

He said: “Michael Bingham has run really well so far and is a great athlete.  In the past we have had guys like Jamie Baulch, Iwan Thomas and Roger Black who have pushed each other to run faster. Now we have myself, Michael, Andrew Steele, Conrad Williams and Chris Clarke.

“The European stage is strong, we are only really missing three guys, Renny Quow, Jeremy Wariner and Chris Brown from the international group. Europe is very strong for once. In Gothenburg, for the European Championships in 2006, it wasn’t like that, but this time it’s as strong as ever. I think we could end up with a European being the world number one this year.”

Tickets for the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, on June 25 and 27 are available by phone on 08000 556 056 or online at www.uka.org.uk  This includes Kids For A Quid, whereby any concession ticket purchased alongside an adult ticket costs only £1.

Ticket prices are as follows: tickets for Tier 2 are Adults £10, Concession £8. Tickets for Family Zone are Adult £10, Concession £1.