Birchfield Harriers athletes prepare for the Aviva 2012 Trials
This is it...... in just 5 days time the Aviva 2012 Trials will be staged at the Alexander Stadium, here in Birmingham, home to Birchfield Harriers. It is the chance for athletes to shine and make their mark with the ultimate aim of achieving selection to Team GB for this summer's London Olympics.
The home club, based in Birmingham since inception in 1877, Birchfield has had a representative at every Games since 1908 with the exception of 1952 and the maximum number of athletes that have competed in any one Games is 11.
The club set a highly ambitious aim and is targeting to beat this number in London 2012 and see 12 Birchfield Harriers making a significant contribution to the success of the Great Britain team - as part of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In partnership with club sponsors AGA Rangemaster we have identified athletes with the potential to make the GB team for 2012 and through their generosity we have been able to provide some additional financial support to help them achieve their potential.
William McGrath, Chief Executive of AGA Rangemaster said: "We are delighted that so many great Birchfield athletes will be at the Olympic trials this coming weekend and we wish them lots of luck in qualification. The objective of the joint AGA Rangemaster and Birchfield "12 for 12" campaign started five years ago, was to support athletes in their bid to qualify for the London Olympics and it's great to see so many of them in the mix this crucial weekend."
This weekend will see the following athletes take to the Track and Field with only one thing in mind:
Mark Lewis Francis, 100m Gold medallist in 2004, hampered by injury since but medallist at Commonwealth and European level in 2010, MLF is aiming for a top 3 finish and the A standard of 10.18
Tom Parsons, High Jump Already an Olympic finalist and aiming to get back to his very best and achieve a jump in excess of 2.30m
Brett Morse, Discus World Finalist already and aiming for his first Games - 4 Athletes vying for 3 places will make this event one of the ones to watch this weekend
Nadine Okyere, 400m a relay Medallist in Major Champs already, Nadine is a proven performer in one the country's most competitive events
Zoe Derham, Hammer Ranked 3rd going into the Trials and improving with every competition
Eden Francis The first British female in many years with a real chance of hitting the qualifying marks in two events - Discus and Shot
Meghan Beesley, 400mH Commonwealth finalist, aiming for individual and relay selection in London
Danny Talbot, 200m already UK Champion in a young career he is aiming high this summer - with a very bright future.
Louise Hazel, Heptathlon contesting individual events this weekend and then aiming for the Heptathlon A standard in the same month
Vikki Hubbard, HJ Injury permitting Vikki is set to contest the HJ
Others who more recently joined the Club and have a strong shout on such a crucial weekend:
Michael Bingham, 400m Olympian in 2008 and World Indoor Relay silver medallist in 2012
Shara Proctor, Long Jump Indoor and Outdoor Champion in the last 12 months and an indoor World Champs bronze medal and just one cm short of a new UK record.
Aiming for selection via a range of International Meets and supported by 12 for 12:
Katrina Hart, T37 Sprinter
IPC World Champion in 2011
Mickey Bushell, T53 Sprinter
Paralympic silver medallist in 2008
Kieron Murphy, F32 Club Thrower Paralympian in 2008
Andrew Kaar, T20 Endurance Athlete European Indoor Medallist and double National Champion (1500m / 3000m)
Being an athlete does not come cheap. These athletes do not receive major funding from UK Athletics. The cost of being a full time athlete is approximately £8,000 without living costs therefore most of them have part time jobs in order to meet these costs which can significantly impact on their progress. The club is not only planning for this year but is seeking to build a true legacy from this year and embed a sustainable future for the coaching and support of talent that can shine in 2014 (Glasgow Commonwealth Games), 2017, (London World Championships) and beyond.