03 JAN 2012 General News London, UK

England to kick-start 2012 on home soil

Hannah England of Great Britain celebrates with her country's flag after claiming silver in the women's 1500 metres final  (Getty Images)Hannah England of Great Britain celebrates with her country's flag after claiming silver in the women's 1500 metres final (Getty Images) © Copyright

World Championships 1500m silver medallist Hannah England has targeted the Aviva Series 2012 as the ideal preparation for her tilt at an Olympic medal in London this year, announcing that she will contest both the Aviva International Match in Glasgow and the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham this winter.


Fresh from her silver medal success in Daegu, Korea, in September, England will line up in her premier event, the 1500m, at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall on 28 January and again at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham on 18 February for the IAAF Indoor Permit Meeting.


In the wake of her 2011 World Championships campaign England will enter this summer’s Olympics as a genuine medal contender, and the 24-year-old knows the chance to compete in an Aviva GB & NI vest on home soil one last time ahead of the Games is an opportunity not to be missed.


“I’m really looking forward to the indoor season," he said. "Although it hasn’t been that long since I last competed it’s always good to get back on the track. 2011 was a really positive year for me and I’m already looking to measure my fitness against the competition after my initial winter training period."


“I haven’t competed in Glasgow since 2005 so it will be great to get back there for the Aviva International Match. I really love competing in team events, athletics can be a lonely sport sometimes so it’s brilliant to race at meets where you have your team’s support – it really echoes the feel of a major championships."


“2011 was a breakthrough year for me and it has allowed me to shift my expectations for 2012. For now though, it’s important that I keep focused on training and preparation – Daegu is in the past and I just need to keep my head down and work towards London 2012. I know my silver medal in Daegu came as a surprise to some people but I was so pleased with that performance. It definitely took a while to sink in but now that it has, it’s given me a real boost of confidence.”


In her debut appearance at Kelvin Hall this month England will go head to head with fellow Brit Charlene Thomas, who beat England to a place in the 2009 World Championships in Berlin when she won that summer’s UK Championships.


England will return to action just three weeks later at the NIA in Birmingham, where she will test her mettle against the world’s best athletes at what is widely considered the premier indoor event on the international athletics circuit.


“I live and train in Birmingham so it’s a second home to me – I really enjoy racing there, the NIA is a brilliant venue, it always attracts a big crowd and the atmosphere at the Aviva Grand Prix is really vibrant,” said England. “The fields in Birmingham are always strong and that’s one of the reasons I always try to compete there.”


England will be joined in Glasgow and Birmingham by middle distance compatriot Helen Clitheroe and dual World Championships medallist Kim Collins, while world and European champion Mo Farah will headline the Aviva International Match and Jamaican sprint star Asafa Powell will make his UK indoor debut at the Aviva Grand Prix in what is shaping as a big winter of athletics.


Organisers for the IAAF