With the Barcelona European Champs, Delhi Commonwealth Games, Doha World Indoors and Bergen European Team Champs it was an exciting, cosmopolitan year of travel for athletes, fans and the T&FT team with “double” and even “treble” successes for a select few!
The athletics started in March with the Doha World Indoor Champs and for once a late winter event was warmer outdoors than in the air-conditioned stadium. Jess Ennis carried on where she had left off in Berlin in winning another multi-event Pentathlon gold with a CR of 4937 points. Dwain Chambers added to his European 60m gold from the previous year winning the 60m world title. Jenny Meadows set a British NR in the 800m with 1:58.43 winning the silver medal. Bronze medals were won in the Men & Women’s 4x400m events. Lee led the T&FT party at the event with a Dhow Cruise for the group and an overnight Desert Safari for some clients adding local colour to the fan experience – adventure combined with good athletics always a winning formula.
Athletes and fans reconvened internationally a few months later at the Bergen European Athletics Team Champs but now with the fresh air and scenery of the mountain and fjords backdrop to add to the usual enjoyable competition. The combined British team finished in 2nd place of the 12 competing nations providing six individual event winners. Among these Andy Turner and Dai Greene with their 110mH and 400mH event wins respectively opened their accounts for what was to be a very special season of championship wins for them both. Mo Farah also continued his winning habit in the 5000m. Our group of fans led by David had started their trip to Norway with an enjoyable few days visiting Oslo before taking the scenic cross country train journey to fjordland and Bergen for a weekend break in this delightful town – an ideal two centre “sports event wraparound” holiday.
The Barcelona European Champs was the major focus of the summer season for most athletes with six GB gold medallists headed by Jess Ennis in the Heptathlon securing her own 2010 season double. Mo Farah with his 5000m / 10000m victories added to his Bergen win to reach his treble and Andy Turner and Dai Greene, with their 110mH and 400mH golds, secured their second European level successes within a few weeks. Philips Idowu in jumping 17.81m in the Triple Jump achieved what was to be his lifetime best in winning the gold medal. The British team won 20 medals the most of any country with a further 10 silver and 4 bronze medals: notable among these was another silver medal for Jenny Meadows confirming her championship pedigree with her own season’s silver double. The Catalan capital, with the event held in the 1992 Olympic Stadium, was a great venue and our T&FT Supporters Party, at an excellent restaurant at the top of the Montjuic hill overlooking the city, was joined by Katherine Merry as engaging and interesting as ever when interviewed and reflecting upon her career and our sport. Our large group was led by David & Lee and a pre-championships trip had taken in the Monaco Diamond League event with a tour through S. France to add yet another dimension to this seemingly endless year of enjoyable travelling.
And finally there was the Delhi Commonwealth Games in India: a whole different dimension to assault all senses with its unique experiences in texture, colour, taste, architecture, noise and smell for those that attended. Many athletes chose to pass on this opportunity with their concerns that it might be out of their comfort zone – snakes in the Athletes Village is not for everyone! Among the 33 medals won by the UK home nations 8 were gold and of these Andy Turner and Dai Greene in winning their 110mH and 400mH golds completed their “season mirabilis” trebles. We had several athlete family members in our tour party and of these Johanna Jackson won her gold in the 20Km Walk with Will Sharman and Laurence Clarke winning silver and bronze respectively in the 110mH for an England clean sweep in that event. As it turned out our large group of fans, including the “On Camp with Kelly” party, was the largest organised UK spectator group at the Games and led by David & Lee they had both now trebled up too! With a good range of accommodation selected from the previous year’s inspection visit, a reliable client busing service, a top class local agent with excellent guides for the many included excursions, plus our T&FT Supporters Party with dancers and musical entertainment, it was a truly memorable adventure. And, at its conclusion, the add-on tour to Jaipur and Agra / Taj Mahal was a very special way to bring a truly exciting year of international athletics travel to its magnificent end.
As ever it is always those thoughtful and imaginative “extras” that are included that make all the difference when organising memorable sports holidays – the “art” of BEING THERE!”