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Athletics - 20. February 2009.

UKA Unveil new competition series



UKA today announced their intention to create a new midweek athletics competition featuring the cream of British athletes representing their home cities. Mixed teams of men and women will compete with significant prize funds available for both individuals and teams.

Following the pilot event - which will take place at Cardiff International Stadium on Wednesday 10 June – UK cities will be invited to bid for Super 8 franchises and the right to host events. Over time it is hoped the competition will grow to eight events, with each team hosting either an indoor or outdoor fixture.

The fixtures will follow a standard presentation format, with the action packed into a fast and furious two hour competition. Super 8, which has been developed by UKA and former GB & NI and Wales shot put international Shaun Pickering, will see cities going head to head in an exciting format based loosely on the decathlon events with the added spice of relays.

The teams for the pilot event – which will also double as the final selection opportunity for the Aviva GB & NI Team for the European Team Championships – will be selected and managed by UKA.

A number of UK and European cities have already expressed a keen interest. Cities will build their teams predominantly from athletes with a connection to that city and surrounding region, but there will also be the opportunity to bring up to two “overseas” players where cities can contract foreign athletes.

UKA Chief Executive Officer Niels de Vos explained the rationale behind the concept:

“For athletics to be successful at an elite level, it is essential that we have the strongest possible mix of domestic competitions. It is also important to present that competition in a style that is attractive to TV, sponsors and public.

“I first presented this concept to the UKA Members Council a year ago and they unanimously endorsed taking the idea forward. In doing so I recognise the importance of supporting and protecting the heritage of the British Athletics League and UK Women’s Athletics League and the great tradition of British clubs. It is our hope that the cities will work closely with the clubs in their area in developing their franchise bids.

“The Super 8 format is also designed to be adopted by schools where time pressure on the curriculum makes the staging of a full scale athletics matches increasingly difficult. The two-hour format of Super 8 can be adopted for inter-class or inter-school competitions with boys and girls competing together in the same team. The pilot event in Cardiff will be therefore be preceded by a Super 8 schools pilot on the same day.”     
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