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4 Oct 2007

Welsh athletes will be put through their paces this weekend (6 October 2007) by Olympic and Commonwealth Games heroes Mick Hill and Jared Deacon.

Around 60 up and coming stars from across Wales are descending on the National Indoor Athletic Centre in Cardiff – along with nearly 30 coaches - for National Squad training and will include:

  • javelin star Lianne Clarke (Cardiff)
  • long jumper Dominic Coleman (Pembrokeshire)
  • hurdler Caryl Granville (Carmarthen)
  • combined events star David Guest (Bridgend)
  • discus talent Brett Morse (Penarth)
  • ice dancer-turned-hammer thrower Stephanie Owens (Buckley)
  • UK no.2 hammer thrower Carys Parry (Rhondda)
  • pole vaulter Lucy Roulson (Deeside)
  • high jumper Hannah Thomas (Wrexham)

Hill and Deacon will be on hand with expert advice and they are certainly equipped to do so.Athletics track 10

Hill is the UK:Athletics Talent Development Manager. He spent a decade throwing alongside Steve Backley and became World bronze medallist in 1993.

Meanwhile, Deacon is no stranger to Welsh athletics talent. He and Daniel Caines teamed up with Jamie Baulch and Matt Elias in 2002 to win gold in the 4 x 400m at the European Championships. Now the UK:Athletics National 400m coach, he also won gold in the 4 x 400m for England at the Commonwealth Games.

The duo will be on hand to dish out practical advice on warming-up, movement drills and strength and conditioning. The squad will also be technically assessed by National Event Coaches in order to see what work needs to be done in order to boost their performances.

Lianne Clarke of Cowbridge is an emerging face of Welsh Athletics. The javelin star is just three metres off the qualification standard for the Beijing Olympics. She will be aiming to glean all-important guidance from Mick Hill in her quest to be selected for Team GB:

"Mick’s been there and done it. He’s seen it all – the good and the bad. It’ll be really beneficial for me and the younger athletes coming through. Three metres is very realistic so I have a good chance to be in contention for Beijing. I’m not feeling the pressure – I’m just getting my head down and working hard."

The weekend workshop is being organised by Welsh Athletics and is designed to provide a world class educational environment for those athletes meeting the national squad selection criteria. Chief Executive Matt Newman explains:

"The national squad provides an important function in the development of talented athletes. We’re very pleased to be able to bring in Mick and Jared who will be providing hands-on education. It demonstrates our close working relationship with UK:Athletics and our athlete-centred approach, where we aim to expose our squads to a high performance environment".

He added "Wales regularly punches above its weight in terms of its contribution to British teams. We must build on this successful platform in readiness for London 2012 and beyond."