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7 May 2008 PR 08/58

Loughborough track meet celebrates 50 years

The Loughborough International Athletics (LIA) meet turns 50 this year as around 400 of the country’s most talented athletes descend on the University on Sunday 18 May.

Many of Britain’s Beijing hopefuls are in town for the annual one-day event which has seen a host of Olympic stars compete since its inception in 1959.

This year two Great Britain teams plus squads from Scotland, England, Wales and a Loughborough past and present contingent go head to head in what has become the traditional curtain raiser to the outdoor season.

Previous participants have included Sebastian Coe, Jonathan Edwards, Paula Radcliffe, Geoff Capes and Denise Lewis and this year is set to be no different with teams being confirmed over the next 10 days.

“The LIA is one of the longest standing annual representative athletics fixtures in the UK’s calendar and provides competitors with a challenging high level track and field meet,” said Loughborough University Director of Athletics George Gandy. “Spectators will see virtually all the best young athletes in Britain with more than a sprinkling of current top international seniors.

“The LIA marks the beginning of the serious business of the season, and in an Olympic year for those going to the Games every time they step up in an athletics stadium is important.

“A lot of athletes need to gain Olympic qualification performances and World Junior Championship times over the next couple of months and the LIA is one of the few remaining opportunities for them to produce the goods.”

The LIA is a fantastic opportunity for local residents to see the cream of British athletics in action as momentum builds towards the Beijing Olympics. Tickets cost just £5 per person (£3 concessions) and are available on the day or in advance from selected University sports facilities and the Students Union Shop. Gates open at 10.30am with the first event at 11am.

-ENDS-

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Notes for editors:

  1. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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