19th May 2010

Battle Of Britain


19 May 2010

The cream of Britain’s sprinting talent will line up at the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships, held at the Alexander Stadium on 25th-27th June, to battle it out for a coveted place in the European Championships.

The men’s 100m, one of the most anticipated events of the weekend, will see Harry Aikines Aryeetey, Tyrone Edgar, Mark Lewis Francis, Craig Pickering, Simeon Williamson, and World Indoor Champion Dwain Chambers beginning their campaigns in the heats on Friday night, with the final taking place on Saturday.

Pickering, whose best result  at the Championships was second place in 2007, is sure that the depth of talented British sprinters currently coming through the ranks will give him that all important push to put in a solid performance.

He said: “I’m looking forward to competing at the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships in Birmingham, we have a really great field of GB athletes now so there will definitely be some tight competition which is great for the athletes on the track. I’m definitely aiming for a good performance at the Europeans this year, I know that I have the ability to do well and I will do all I can to ensure that is the case”.

Aikines-Aryeetey, who suffered a hamstring injury while competing at the World Indoor Championships in Doha in March, has recovered well and is ready to assert his dominance on the track once more. The Loughborough based sprinter has a best finish of fifth at the championships, however he has yet to qualify for a senior major championships at the 100m.

He said: “I can’t wait to get back out on to the track and compete against the best in Britain at the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships. This country has some great sprinters which means the races will be competitive and quick as we’ll be pushing each other every step of the 100m.

“I was pleased with my performance throughout the indoor season and the hamstring injury I picked up is recovering well so I’m feeling really positive about the forthcoming outdoor season. I got a taste for gold when I won the European Under-23 Championships last year and wouldlike to repeat the feat in the senior championships this summer.”

Former Olympic Champion Lewis-Francis, a member of the 4 x 100m team who brought home gold at the European Championships in 2006, has enjoyed a solid indoor season and is hoping to prove stiff competition for his competitors,having shown glimpses of his past form at the recent Manchester City Games. He won the trials back in 2002 and has, remarkably, made the final of the UK Championships nine times.

He said: “I was pleased with how my progress went during the indoor season and I hope that by continuing to work hard in training and taking each race one at a time, by the time I arrive in Birmingham for the Aviva European Trials I will able to challenge the other guys.

“Gothenburg was a great experience for me, especially winning gold in the relay, but that was in 2006.  Now it’s about focusing on Barcelona 2010.  Then from there, who knows.

“The fact that nobody is guaranteed a spot for the 100m, or even in the relay team, goes to show that we have a wider pool to select from and that can only be a good thing for the sport because competition makes us all work harder.”

Tyrone Edgar, a member of the relay team who won bronze in the men’s 4 x 100m relay at the World Championships in Berlin last year, finished second at the UK Championships in 2006 and will no doubt be looking for a place at the European Championships this year.

Williamson, Britain’s reigning 100m champion, is hungry to make the final cut as he, like Pickering, missed out in 2006 on making the Gothenburg team, unlike Chambers who finished seventh in that final.  The reigning European and World Indoor Champion will be keen to replicate his superlative 60m form into outdoor success too.

Tickets for the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, on 25th – 27th June are available by phone on 08000 556 056 or online at www.uka.org.uk. Book your tickets before May 21 and receive a 10% discount.