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UK Athletics

Jo Pavey withdraws from World Cross

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UK Athletics announced today that Jo Pavey (Exeter Harriers) has withdrawn from the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team to compete at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, Kenya, on Saturday 24 March.


The news came as the IAAF provisional entry list revealed that Britain will be the only European nation to field scoring teams in all four races at the Championships, which African athletes are expected to dominate.


Pavey, the second finisher for the team that won the senior women’s silver medals at this winter’s European Cross Country Championships, feels that she lost too much quality training time as a result of the ‘flu that affected her performances at the recent European Indoor Championships and would not do herself or the team justice if she raced in the severe heat and heavy humidity of Mombasa.


UK Athletics, which is fielding teams in all four races as part of its on-going development programme to raise standards in all age groups and events on the way to London 2012, will now fully support Pavey’s efforts to regain full fitness for the summer season, in which her major target will be the IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan.


As no reserve was named for the senior women’s team in Mombasa, Norwich Union GB will be represented by five in the 8km race: Elle Baker (South London Harriers), Hatti Dean (Hallamshire Harriers Sheffield), Felicity Milton (Durham University), Kate Reed (Bristol and West AC) and Hayley Yelling (Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow AC), who are all currently training at the UK preparation camp in Durban, South Africa. Spain and Russia are the only other European nations to enter more than two athletes in the senior women’s race.


There is also a change to the Norwich Union GB Junior Men’s team. A scan organised by the UKA medical team has revealed that South of England junior champion Jon Pepper (Enfield and Haringey AC) is suffering from a stress reaction in one of his legs. So he will be replaced by the English National Under 17 champion David Forrester (St Helens Sutton AC), who has been on stand-by since being named as reserve following the trial at the UK Inter-Counties Championships. Britain is one of only four European nations fielding four or more athletes in this category: Lee Carey (Nuneaton Harriers), Adam Hickey (Southend on Sea AC), Ben Lindsay (Pendle AC), Andrew Livingstone (Thurrock Harriers), Conor McNulty (Kilbarchan AAC) and Forrester. The others are Italy, Germany and Spain.


The only European nations sending six or more senior men are Britain, France, Portugal and Spain. The Norwich Union GB squad is Alan Buckley (Gateshead Harriers), Mo Farah (Newham and Essex Beagles), Phil Nicholls (Tipton Harriers), Ben Noad (Highgate Harriers), Michael Skinner (Blackheath Harriers and Bromley AC), Steve Vernon (Stockport Harriers), Jason Ward (Altrincham AC) and Phil Wicks (Belgrave Harriers).


Britain is the only European nation with four or more athletes in the junior women’s race: Jess Coulson (Stockport Harriers), Sian Edwards (Kettering Town Harriers), Olivia Kenney (Royal Sutton Coldfield AC), Emily Pidgeon (Gloucester AC), Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot, Farnham and District AC) and Stevie Stockton (Vale Royal AC).


Explaining why Norwich Union GB will be the biggest European team in Mombasa, Team Leader Alan Storey, who is UK Athletics Senior Performance Manager for Endurance, said: “It is all part of our campaign to keep people interested in the sport and to give them the opportunity to develop to higher standards.”