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Embrace Super 8

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Jenny Meadows
Meadows - urging others to get behind Super 8


26 May 2009

Column by Jenny Meadows as seen in Athletics Weekly Magazine

Athletics is unique to many other sports as far as the ratio of time spent training in comparison to the time we spend competing.  We train for around nine months of the year in preparation for a three month competition phase.  Now that's some ratio! So we need to put in some fine displays in order to make all those days, weeks and months of grueling training worth it. 
Finding the right competition to meet our performance needs however isn't always straight forward. We need quality opponents to compete against, we need the time and venue to be convenient to get to, and we don't want to be burdened by lack of finance to get there, and it helps if there is prize money on offer to support us in our lives as athletes.
So for me, UKA's new Super8 series meets all these needs.  Without trying to sound like an advert for a new washing powder I really feel that Super 8 has what it takes to deliver a high standard competition to help the nation's top flight of athletes perform to their best.
The City v City nature of the series really appeals to me as being involved in this sport for some 20 years (yes it's true), I have enjoyed being part of a club competition set up, having competed in sports:hall athletics, Young Athletics League, National Junior League and UK Women's League competitions.  As a youngster these team competitions were the bread and butter of my athletics and I know these experiences have kept me motivated to stay in athletics to senior level.
As Team Captain for Manchester, I am hoping to rally my troops to success in the series - after all, every event wins points so watch out other teams, it's strength across the board that counts!

On a serious note, the Series will provide the opportunity for some of the country's top athletes to compete against each other with the pride of their city at stake and the added bonus of having overseas athletes present means we are ensuring a high standard across the board - and all in our backyard!  It will also give many athletes the chance to achieve the qualifying times for the IAAF World Athletics Championships and European U20 and U23 Championships alike. 
Looking towards 2012 it is essential that our competition structures help prepare us for the highest standards of competition, I believe Super8 can do that, it is unique to any other format as it takes place on home soil, and looking past 2012 we have a real opportunity here to establish a long term legacy in the shape of a well supported and dynamic competition series.
So I am urging you to embrace this concept of Super8 and do all we can to make this work so we can enjoy this opportunity on UK soil and spend less time travelling so we can fit in more training!  No hassle trying to get a lane in a competition abroad, no worries about having lack of quality opposition, no worries about the financial burden of travelling, and a prize fund across all events that rivals the overseas meets we often have to struggle to reach. This should all result in raised standards of performances.
Super8 aims make athletics more appealing in the modern day and putting the fan base back into the sport.  A City v City challenge, a mid week evening date, nationwide venues - Athletics may just have caught up!