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The Russians are coming!

LOOKING AHEAD: Charles Van Commenee with middle distance runner Marilyn Okoro in the background

UKA HEAD coach Charles van Commenee will launch his athletes’ Olympic year preparations with a commanding assignment against world athletics powerhouse Russia at the 2012 Aviva International Match.

The event, to be held in Glasgow on January 28, will pit the Aviva GB & NI team athletes against three-time competition winner Russia in their final appearance on home soil ahead of the London Olympic Games.

Van Commenee said: “It is important we get off to a great start in 2012 and start the year with a strong performance. Those athletes competing in Glasgow as part of their 2012 build-up will be facing world class opposition and it will be interesting to see how they perform there and throughout the indoor season.

“The Russian team has won the last three times it competed in Glasgow so we will have a tough opening fixture. But it is an Olympic year and it is great to get the opportunity to compete in front of our home crowd. Our athletes aspire to be the best and those selected for the meet will look to perform strongly in their first major fixture of the year.

“Every chance to compete against quality opposition in 2012 is another stepping stone towards the athletes’ targets, and the Aviva International Match is a superb opportunity for athletes to begin this important year with a strong performance in an Aviva GB & NI team vest.”

The Aviva GB & NI team, competing for the first time since the summer’s World Championships in Daegu, will also take on teams from the USA, Germany and a Commonwealth representative line-up at next year’s meet.

With the Aviva GB & NI team to be tested twice on the global stage in 2012, first at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in March and then at next summer’s Olympic Games, the squad will be out to impress against Russia, which claimed a hat-trick of titles at Kelvin Hall in 2004-06.

The Aviva International Match will be held at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow on 28 January. For tickets or more information go to uka.org.uk/aviva-series or phone 08000 556 056.

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