GB & NI Team Head to Portugal for European Olympic Throws
British Athletics has today announced a team of seven athletes that will travel to Leiria, Portugal, for the European Cup Winter Throws competition on the 15 - 16 March.
With the competition incorporating both U23 and senior events, the GB & NI team is suitably balanced, consisting of a mixture of youth and experience. Headlining the team are European Junior Championships silver medallists Sophie McKinna (coach: Geoff Capes) and Nick Percy (Vesteinn Hafsteinsson), who will contest the U23 shot put and discus respectively.
At the other end of the spectrum, two time Commonwealth Games fourth placer Andy Frost (Lorraine Shaw) and London 2012 Olympian Alex Smith (Shane Peacock) bring bags of experience to the team, as both men look to continue the good early season form they showed in Loughborough and Hull respectively last weekend.
Reigning Sainsbury’s British Athletics champion Jade Lally (Andrew Neal) will kick start her season in the women’s discus and will look to improve on her ninth place finish at this event two years ago.
Rounding out the GB & NI team are Sarah Holt (John Pearson) and GB & NI senior debutant Shaunagh Brown (John Hillier) who will both get their 2014 seasons underway in the women’s hammer.
On the importance of the competition in winter preparations, British junior shot put record holder McKinna commented:
“I'm really excited to be heading to Portugal and the European Winter Throws is very significant as it gives me a golden opportunity to hopefully achieve another Glasgow 2014 qualifying standard. It also gives me a great international competition early in the year to test myself at the top level.
“For the remainder of the season my main goal is to gain selection for the Commonwealth Games and to be able to go there and make the final. I'd also like to throw a personal best this year as long term I'd like to put the British U23 record under pressure.”
European Athletics put on the meeting to counterbalance the fact that indoor events cannot host the longer throwing events, so the competition provides athletes with the perfect chance to test their form ahead of the outdoor season.
GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND TEAM:
Senior Hammer: Alex Smith (Shane Peacock), Andy Frost (Lorraine Shaw)
U23 Discus: Nick Percy (Vesteinn Hafsteinsson)
Senior Hammer: Sarah Holt (John Pearson), Shaunagh Brown (John Hillier)
Senior Discus: Jade Lally (Andrew Neal)
U23 Shot Put: Sophie McKinna (Geoff Capes)