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Thie up for a fresh Challenge!
26 May 2006 14:59

UK Challenge 1500m Champion James Thie (Cardiff AAC) is ready to battle to retain his title – even though he believes the inclusion of BMC Nike Grands Prix in this year’s series will increase the quality and quantity of competition.

Despite taking longer than hoped to recover from the food poisoning that wrecked his medal chances at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, the 27-year-old remains up-beat.

He says: “The last few weeks have certainly been testing and I have learnt a lot about my own self resolve. I was hoping that I may be fit enough to open in the BMC 3000m last weekend – I had a good few sessions and one really good one last Thursday and was hopeful – but a slightly sore calf put paid to that.

“No worries! I’m just grateful to be feeling better after still having the side-effects of Melbourne food poisoning five to six weeks afterwards. In that time I also picked up a nasty injury and for a while was struggling to run at all. I started back on May 1, supporting the Great Welsh Run in Cardiff. I’d hoped to win it when I did the press release work in February, but I was reduced to a 'fun' supporting role and just enjoyed the event as a steady run.

“At present it’s back to basics with the 1500m, where I feel I still have a lot to give. People tend to forget I was fourth in the World Indoors only in 2004 and sixth in the Europeans in 2005, plus I ran 3:37.06 off far from ideal preparation.

“But I know that and it will be time to get back out on the track and prove that to all the doubters. As for retaining my UK Challenge 1500m title, it goes without saying that I have no intention to give it up with a fight. I was a keen supporter of the event last year, as I feel it has role to play in raising standards UK athletics and I hope that other athletes realise that these competitions are here to help us!”

There are virtual weekly opportunities to score UK Challenge points from now on. Over the next month, the series takes in the CAU Inter-Counties Championships at Bedford on 28 and 29 May, BAL and UK Women’s League matches on 3 and 4 June, BMC Nike Grand Prix and UK Athletics Endurance Initiative races at Watford on 10 June, Bedford International Games on 11 June, Welsh Championships and English Territorial Championships on 17 / 18 June, BMC Nike Grand Prix and UK Athletics Endurance Initiative races at Solihull on 24 June.

The UK Challenge Final is on Sunday 27 August at Sportcity, Manchester.

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