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european team  champs preview

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Mo Farah

17 May 2010

With good early season performances promising great things for the forthcoming season, the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team heads to the fjords of Norway this weekend to do battle at the SPAR European Team Championships (Saturday 19/Sunday 20 June).

As Andy Murray prepares to lead the British assault on Wimbledon and Steven Gerrard captains the English football team into their next game of the World Cup, Aviva GB&NI Captain Mo Farah (coach: Ricky Simms) relishes the chance to bring the Bergen bound athletes team together for their one and only team event of the year.

“Charles (UKA Head Coach, Charles van Commenee) has appointed me as team captain for Bergen and it’s a huge honour to be asked," he said.

“Captain for this event is especially important because it is a team event so I really want to unite our athletes. The team captain role has been significant at competitions recently so hopefully I’ll be able to step up to the plate and do a good job.

“I’ve had to work really over the past year. I’ve had a hard winter with ups and downs which I know many of the guys can relate to, but that work has started to pay off for me, so I hope I’ll be able to motivate the team using my own experiences.”

Farah will stretch his legs over 5000m at the weekend. He proved a class apart at the European Cup 10,000m race in Marseille on 5 June, winning by 43sec in 27min 28.86sec and recording a new lifetime best to go third on the UK all-time list. He is joined on the team by friend and rival Chris Thompson (John Nuttall/Mark Rowland) who will line up in the 3000m and who has already impressed over 10,000 this year and could put pressure on Farah over the longer distance in the future.

Also looking to do damage against a top quality European field are:

Dwain Chambers (coach: Daniel Plummer), hot off the international circuit with recent outings in Turkey and France, has a seasons best of 10.11 so far this year and will be looking to strip that back to 10.0 this weekend. At the same event last year he recorded 10.07.

Martyn Rooney (coach: Nick Dakin) will make a bid to translate his excellent form shown recently in Geneva onto the track in Norway against tough opposition. At the EAP meeting he became the first European athlete to dip under the 45 second mark this year.

World triple jump champion Phillips Idowu (coach: Aston Moore) lost out to World indoor champion and record breaker Frenchman Teddy Tamgho at the New York leg of the IAAF Diamond League, and with the pair sure to meet again in Norway this weekend, the wounds will still be raw and an increased rivalry likely.

Jo Pavey (coach: Gavin Pavey), Jade Johnson (coach: John Herbert) and Nicola Sanders (coach: Tony Lester) make welcome returns to the team in the 5000m, long jump and 4 x 400m respectively. Each of the trio has the potential to make waves at the European Championships later this summer and all are showing early season form. 

Also on register for GB&NI are nine times British pole vault record breaker Kate Dennison (coach: Steve Rippon) who continues her search for a podium place on the international stage, members of the world and indoor medal winning 4 x 400m relay squad, in form Andy Turner (coach: Lloyd Cowan) over 110m hurdles, lean mean endurance machine Barbara Parker (coach: Sean Burris/John Nuttall) who threatened the international field in Doha at the World Indoor Championships and British record holder Goldie Sayers (coach: Dan Pfaff) who has started her 2010 season with two throws over 60m and a best of 63.15m.

Reports will be posted at the end of each day at: www.uka.org.uk