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Cardiff’s double delight indoors – previews
02 Feb 2006 17:48

The National Indoor Athletics Centre at the University of Wales Institute Cardiff’s Cyncoed site hosts the UK Athletics Indoor City Challenge second semi-final on Saturday 4 February and the Jeff White Motors Indoor International on Sunday 5 February.

Reigning champions Sheffield compete against Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle and Oxford for the right to join London North, Birmingham and London South in the Indoor City Challenge Final to be staged at the EIS, Sheffield, on Sunday 19 February.

For details, please go to http://www.ukathletics.net/vsite/vnavsite/page/directory/0,10853,4854-172124-189342-nav-list,00.html

Twentyfour hours later the Jeff White Motors Indoor International will feature its own double-header – a Senior match between Wales, Scotland, Ireland and UWIC; and an Under 20 match between Wales, England, Ireland and an International Select Team.

Of Commonwealth Games-bound athletes in action, Matt Elias (Cardiff) is in the 400m as he sets about trying to improve in Melbourne on the 400m hurdles Silver medal he won in Manchester four years ago; and high jumpers Rob Mitchell and Julie Crane (Sale Harriers Manchester) will be eager to build on last weekend’s successes.

Elias is in a quality entry that also includes David Greene (Swansea Harriers), the European Junior 400m hurdles Silver medallist, and Bruce Tasker (Carmarthen Harriers), the new Welsh Indoor 400m Champion.

Mitchell cleared 2.15m to win the Welsh Indoor title. Crane cleared 1.89m, only 1cm short of her Welsh National Indoor Record, at the Norwich Union International in Glasgow and now faces Julia Bennett (Epsom and Ewell), who is in the England Team for the Games.

Scott Simpson (Cardiff AAC) completes the quartet of Games athletes in the Welsh team a week after winning the pole vault title at the Welsh Indoor Championships.

And home supporters will be able to cheer on their emerging middle distance stars.

Steve Davies, the 21-year-old discovery of this indoor season, has already got to within 0.21sec of the 1500m entry standard of the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Moscow and will be looking for the boost of a victory a week ahead of the Norwich Union World Trials and AAA Championships at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield, on 11 and 12 February.

His training mate at Newport Harriers, James Nasrat, is in the 800m against UWIC’s Richard Hill (Notts AC) – a clash between the UK’s current fastest two in pursuit of the World Indoors entry standard of 1:48.50.

In another top-two clash, Julie Dunkley (Shaftesbury Barnet) and Joanne Duncan (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) guest in the women’s shot a week after their a high-class battle at the first Indoor City Challenge semi-final as they prepare for Melbourne.

Kirsty Maguire (Edinburgh Southern Harriers) will be full of confidence, too, as she represents Scotland in the pole vault a week after a fine victory at the ICC in Manchester.

There’s also high quality in the Junior Match. 17-year-old Gerald Phiri (City of Sheffield) competes in the 60m for his home city on Saturday and for England on Sunday as he prepares to strive to repeat last year’s feat of being the youngest finalist at the AAA Championships. He’s in shape: he won the North of England Senior title last weekend on the nod from the vastly experienced Allyn Condon (Sale).

Another 17-year-old, Non Stanford (Swansea Harriers) tackles the 1500m having made a great impact both indoors and in cross country races in the past few weeks.

The action starts at 11am and goes on until 5.30pm.

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