12th January 2010

GB Sprint Battle


12 January 2010

The country’s football fixtures may have been plagued by the recent cold snap but Craig Pickering and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey will aim to set the track on fire in a fierce head-to-head at the Aviva International Match in Glasgow.

Pickering, who will represent the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team in Kelvin Hall on January 30, has won the 60m event for the last three years and in 2008 it was his performance that propelled GB & NI to victory.

He said: “This will be my fourth year of competing at the Aviva International Match and I would love to be able to record a fourth consecutive win, but the main thing is to have a good race and get my season off to the best possible start.

"I hope I can help contribute to the Aviva GB and NI team regaining the cup we won back in 2008.  It will be tough, having seen some of the names already confirmed, but as a football fan it would of course be nice to get one over on the USA too!

"Harry, who is competing for the Commonwealth Team, and I  will push each other all the way, so it will undoubtedly be a close race.”

Aikines-Aryeetey, a fellow British sprinter, made waves in 2009 with a series of strong outdoor performances.  And despite finishing one place behind Pickering at the Aviva World Trials, Aikines-Aryeetey was selected ahead of the Crawley-born sprinter for the 4x100m relay squad, who won bronze at the World Championships.

With very little separating the two promising young sprinters the competition will be tough but Aikines-Aryeetey says he is up for the challenge.

He said: “It will be my first time running at the Aviva International Match and I’m really looking forward to it.  The Commonwealth team won this event last year so we will definitely be the ones to beat but having said that there are a number of big names competing in Glasgow so it will by no means be an easy title to claim.

“I’m hoping that a good result at the Kelvin Hall will be the beginning of a strong season for me.  I ended 2009 really well and I want to be sure that I continue to build on that success.

“It’s great that we are in a position whereby there are a number of names competing for just a few spots in the Aviva GB and NI team, come the major championships.  It means we are always striving to be the best in every event and the Aviva International Match is no different.  I am aware that Craig has a great record there, but that won’t stop me from believing that I too can be victorious, just as he was on his debut in Glasgow.”

However the US indoor champion Mark Jelks will be hoping to ruin the party and beat both Pickering and Aikines-Aryeetey to the 60m title.

Pickering will join Jessica Ennis, Jenny Meadows, Lisa Dobriskey and Sarah Claxton in the Aviva GB and NI team.

Tickets for the Aviva International Match at the Kelvin Hall on Saturday 30 January are available by phone on 08000 556 056 or online at www.uka.org.uk