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UK Athletics

Walkers gear-up for Leamington

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The UK’s leading race walkers are preparing impressively for the European Cup of Race Walking, which will be staged at Royal Leamington Spa on Sunday 20 May.


Jo Jackson (Redcar RWC) moved up to third place on the UK all-time lists for the Women’s 20m walk when winning in 97 minutes 18 seconds at the Manx Open at Douglass on the Isle of Man. She removed nearly four minutes from her previous best of 101.00 in taking the women’s race ahead of the current British record holder Lisa Kehler (Wolverhampton and Bilston). Jackson’s time was also inside the UK Athletics guideline of 99 minutes for the European Under 23 Championships to be held at Debrecen, Hungary, on 12-15 July as well as putting her at the top of the 2007 Power of 10 rankings established by UKA and its governing partners to inspire improvement in every event in every age group in every region on the way to London 2012.


Jo will now focus on going even quicker in front of a home crowd at Leamington Spa. Her Manx performance means she jumps from seventh to third on the all-time list behind Kehler (93:57) and Sara-Jane Cattermole (96:40). In taking second place in yet another comeback, Kehler was comfortably inside the UKA guideline time for the European Cup (105:00) in clocking 103:03 to go second in the Power of 10 rankings. In third place Sophie Hales (Steyning AC) clocked a personal best of 110:03, which suggests that she could threaten the UKA standard for Leamington at the National 20km Championships in Coventry on 14 April.


In the Men’s 20km, Daniel King (Colchester Harriers), clocked his second-fastest time of 89:05, inside the UKA guideline time of 90.00 for European Cup, and went top of the Power of 10 rankings. In second place was Peter Kaneen (Manx Harriers) in 96.17.


In the Men’s 30km, reigning National 50km Champion Scott Davies (Ilford AC) clocked 2:33:31 for second place behind Ireland’s Colin Griffin. This suggests that he is in the form to have a crack at the UKA 50km guideline time for Leamington (4:20) at the EAA Permit Meeting in Dudince, Slovakia, on 24 March.


Ben Wears (Redcar RWC) won the CAU Inter Counties Senior 10km staged on the Warwick University Campus as part of Coventry Godiva Harriers’ Molly Barnet Open Meeting. He removed two minutes from his previous personal best in taking the title in 44:16, to move to second place on the UK all-time list for Under 17s. It was also well inside the UKA Selection time of 46:00 for the IAAF World Youth Championships to be held in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on 11-15 July. He set the pace alongside twins Daniel and Dominic King (Colchester Harriers). Daniel moved ahead just before the halfway mark, but was removed by the judges soon after his Dominic had suffered the same fate.


Wears’ performance suggests that he will be competitive on home soil at the European Cup in Royal Leamington Spa and that his next target could be the UKA standard of 43:30 for the European Junior Championships in Hengelo, Netherlands, on 19-22 July.


Behind Ben, Mark Williams (Tamworth AC) claimed the Senior Men’s title in 47:53. Estle Viljoen (Belgrave Harriers) took the Women’s title in 50:53, which suggests she has a good chance of clocking the British qualifying time for Leamington of 105:00. Behind her Rebecca Mersh (City of Sheffield AC) clocked 54:13 to go to top of the Junior Women’s rankings for 2007.


More details about the forthcoming European Cup Race Walking at Royal Leamington Spa on Sunday 20 May can be found at www.walk-leamington2007.org