English throwers take on the Arvernes Athletics Meeting this weekend

This weekend will see a small team of English throwers travel to Clermont-Ferrand, France to compete in the Arvernes Athletics Meeting, a competition dedicated to hammer and discus whilst also raising money for local charities.

Although only the second year of this competition, the event has attracted some excellent international athletes looking to throw big distances in the build-up to a busy summer. With selection deadlines for the home Commonwealth Games in Birmingham edging ever closer, this competition is an excellent opportunity for all athletes to gain high-level competition experience against a competitive field.

There will be five athletes competing for England across both disciplines, with three Brits battling it out in the women’s hammer as the magic 70 metres remains within reach.

Katie Head (Paul Head, Newham & Essex Beagles) has had an excellent start to the season, currently ranked UK number 2 this year after achieving her new hammer PB of 69.72m twice already. Joining Katie in the women’s hammer will be Charlotte Payne (Paul Dickenson, Reading AC), who has also thrown a PB this year of 69.58m at the recent Berkshire County Championships and Jessica Mayho (John Pearson, Birchfield Harriers). England will also be represented in the men’s hammer, with Craig Murch (Lorraine Shaw, Birchfield Harriers) flying the flag, fresh from his series of victories in the recent county champs, BIGish Throws Festival and the Loughborough Meeting (LEAP).

Greg Thompson (self-coached, Shaftesbury Barnet) will be looking to try and replicate his 60.07m discus throw from February this year in the men’s discus. With the Commonwealth Games qualifying standard set to 60m for the men’s event, this competition provides an excellent opportunity for Greg to perfect his throws ahead of a busy season.

Speaking about the opportunities ahead of this weekend’s international competition in France, Commonwealth Games Team Leader for Team England’s athletes, Kelly Sotherton, said:

“Supporting our athletes by providing them with opportunities to compete at meets like this and gain qualifying standards is really important. It also gives them further international experience, prepares them for having to travel outside of the UK and be ready to go up against good competition that perhaps they wouldn’t face in a domestic meeting. All these things are vital for an athlete to experience and get used to in terms of preparing them for future success and achieving improved performances as they develop along their journey.”

Accompanying the athletes this weekend will be Nick Ridgeon (Event Group Lead - Throws) and Becki Knight (Team Physio).