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Walkers Ready for Metz

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Ben Wears


22 May 2009

The Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland teams hopes in the European Cup Race Walking in Metz this weekend will be spearheaded by the Redcar duo of Jo Jackson and Ben Wears. Jo Jackson who finished 21st in Beijing will lead the challenge in the Women’s 20km. Her British Record achieved in winning the EAA Permit Race in Lugano in March of 1.31.16 ranks her 20th in the race but she will also be looking for the one second improvement needed to reach the UKA A standard for this year's World Championshisp in Berlin.

Also competing, the Russian Quartet of Kirdyapkina, Sokolova, Shumkina, Yemelyanova have the fastest times, but others in the mix will be former Olympic and World Championships bronze medallist Maria Vasco (Spain), the Portuguese quartet of Feitor, Cabecinha, Santos and Henriques, Romania’s Claudia Steff, German Sabine Krantz and Ireland's Olive Loughnane who was 7th in Beijing.

Ben Wears heads into the Junior Men’s 10km on the back of his fine 41.57 clocking in Coventry in the Inter Counties Championships. This time ranks him 6th from those entered. The Russian trio of Strelkov, Yemelyanov, and Filipchuk all have personal bests inside 40 minutes, but Wears is closely matched with Italian Di Bari and Finn Partanen in the battle behind the Russians. He is joined in the team by Mark O’Kane (Coventry Godiva Harriers) and Tom Bosworth (Tonbridge AC) who are making their international debuts. They will both look to build on their fine performances in the EAA Permit Meeting in Lugano and the team will be targeting a top eight finish.

Luke Finch (Colchester Harriers) makes his senior international debut over 20km some five years after his last appearance in a GB vest after taking some time out of the event. He will be looking to rewrite his pb of 1.28.31 which he set in winning the national title on a tough course in Shrewsbury. The race looks set to be a re-run of the 2007 European Cup in Leamington Spa, with Yohann Diniz looking to retain his title in front of a home crowd. He will be challenged by Italian 2004 Olympic Champion and Leamington silver medallist Ivan Brugnetti. Other contenders include the Russian duo of Krivov and Trofimov, Ivan Trotski of Belarus and Ireland’s Robbie Heffernan who will be looking to make up for the disappointment of loosing the bronze medal two years ago in the last 500 metres.

The King twins Daniel and Dominic (Colchester Harriers) will head the British challenge in the 50km race. Both Daniel (4.04.49) and Dominic (4.16.19) will be looking to challenge their personal bests set last year. At the front the World record Holder and last year IAAF World Race Walking Cup Champion will Russian Dennis Nizhegorodov looks to be the hot favourite. He will be challenged by compatriot SergeyKirdyapkin the 2005 IAAF World Champion. Also in the mix will be the ever green Spanish veteran Jesús Ángel García who was World Champion way back in 1993. Russia also look set to continue their dominance in the Junior Women’s 10km.

Keep an eye on www.uka.org.uk for reports this weekend.