Kelly Holmes tops impressive list of guests for Games

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DAME Kelly Holmes DBE MBE, the 2004 double gold Olympic medal winning runner, tops an impressive list of Olympic and Commonwealth medal winning athletes visiting the island for this weekend’s Commonwealth Youth Games.

Kelly, who won both the 800 and 1500 metre races at the Athens Olympics, is here in her capacity as president of the England team.

Throughout her illustrious career she won gold at the 1994 and 2002, and silver at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, silver and bronze at the 1995 Gothenburg World Championships, a bronze medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and silver in both the 2003 indoor and outdoor World Athletics Championships.

She retired from the sport in 2005 and was appointed a dame by HM The Queen in the same year.

Clearly looking forward to her visit, she commented: ‘The Commonwealth Youth Games are a great opportunity for athletes to pit themselves against some of the world’s leading competitors in their age group.

‘It will give many of them a really good introduction to competing in championships and I am really looking forward to spotting some of the stars of the future and see what a great event the Isle of Man puts on.’

Fellow Athens gold medalist, Tonique Williams-Darling, from Bahamas, who won the 2004 Olympics 400 metres race and the gold medal in the 2005 Helsinki world championships, is here in her role as athletics team leader for the Caribbean island team.

Kenyan marathon runner Catherine Ndereba, described by a Chicago Tribune reporter as the greatest women’s marathon runner of all time, is accompanying the Kenyan team. She won gold at the 2003 and 2007 world championships in Paris and Osaka and silver in Helsinki in 2005, also winning silver in both the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics. She broke the women’s world record for the marathon in 2001, recording 2hr 18min 47sec.

Gymnast Beth Tweddle, the three-time world champion, who competed in the Edinburgh Commonwealth Youth Games, will be closely following the English team as their gymnastics ambassador.

Alan Pascoe, the 400m and 400m hurdles runner will also be casting his eye over the Games. Pascoe, whose career highlight was an Olympic silver in the 400m relay in Munich as well as a gold medal from the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, is now the chairman of leading UK sports agency Fast Track and was involved in the successful bid for London hosting the 2012 Olympics.

Swimmer Sarah Price is guaranteed the best seat in the house at the swimming, which takes place at the National Sports Centre, as she will be commentating on the event.

Sarah, who won gold medals in the 100m and 200m backstroke events at the Manchester Commonwealth Games, was also the 200m backstroke world record holder, which she set in winning the European Short Course Swimming Championships at Riesa, Germany in 2001.

Don’t miss your Commonwealth Youth Games pull-outs free

in next week’s

Isle of Man Examiner and

Manx Independent

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