26 JAN 2006 General News

Younger Commonwealth hopefuls in action in Budapest

Brad McStravick, the head coach of Team England's Commonwealth Games track and field side, today stressed the importance of tomorrow's Danubius Hotels IAAF Indoor Gala (27).

A few of the lesser known members of the Melbourne team where the athletics programme commences on 19 March, are competing at the meeting in Budapest.

"This will be a useful opportunity for them to assess how their training has gone over the winter months and it is a very important work-up to the Games," said McStravick.

McStravick is delighted that the International Association of Athletics Federations have invited a 21-strong squad including seven selected for the Commonwealth trip, to the Hungarian capital.

England's men and women along with Norway, will be the prime opposition tackling countries from eastern Europe as part of the IAAF's competition development plan for that region.

"I've told them they've got to be ready for going to Melbourne and not get there and then start thinking about it," added McStravick, stressing the fact the Games in the Australian summer are out of season for UK athletes.

"This is one of the few opportunities they will be able to get prepared on the international stage before the Games," he added, although some along with additional English athletes, will compete in Bratislava on Sunday and Vienna next Tuesday.

Kate Dennison who was only added to the Commonwealth team in the New Year, will be aiming to continue her recent streak of excellent pole vaulting form in the Hungarian capital.

Dennison 21, with a recent clearance of 4.21 metres, not only earned herself a trip she thought had become a forgotten dream, but also moved to third placce on the UK All-Time list behind Janine Whitlock and Zoe Brown.

"I think it is because I am training full-time now," said the South African born vaulter, finally showing the potential which saw her a World Junior Championships finalist four years ago.

"I'd like to think I could win a medal," said the ambitious former Loughborough University student, well aware 4.15m saw Australia's Kym Howe clinch silver at the 2002 Manchester Games.
 
"My aim is to go about 4.30m this winter," insisted Dennison, thriving now she can concentrate on her technical discipline and not have to combine it with degree studies.

Dennison will have a head-to-head with Ellie Spain her Games teammate, while Andrew Steele and Richard Buck members of the 4x400m relay squad clash in the individual event.

Other Commonwealth selections, Martyn Bernard last summer's World University Games bronze medallist, contests the high jump, Diane Allahgreen will be racing in the 60 metres Hurdles and Nadia Williams competing in the Triple Jump.