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local lad matthew hudson-smith to face olympic champion kirani james over 400m at birmingham diamond league

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9 May 2016

Birchfield Harrier Matthew Hudson-Smith to face Olympic champion Kirani James amongst a world class 400m field on his home track on 5 June

European silver medallist Matthew Hudson-Smith (coach: Tony Hadley) will line up against a world class 400m field including Olympic champion Kirani James and Olympic 800m silver medallist Nijel Amos on his home track at the Birmingham Diamond League.

With Asian record holder Yousef Masrahi and Isaac Makwala, both sub-44 second runners, also competing, the event is set to be one of the highlights of the prestigious IAAF Diamond League event.

Grenadian James is regarded as one of the best 400m runners of recent times after winning World Championships gold in 2011, Olympic gold in 2012 and Commonwealth Games gold in 2014. He is now targeting Birmingham as a key part of his preparations to defend his Olympic title in Rio, and will have the 19 year old Alexander Stadium record of 44.36 in his sights on 5 June.

He said: “2016 is a really big year from me and I want to retain my Olympic title. The Birmingham Diamond League will be an important part of my build-up to Rio and I’m looking forward to racing against some very good athletes. I love competing in Britain and I’m excited about putting on a good show for the fans.”

Hudson-Smith, who trains at the Alexander Stadium, is relishing the opportunity to challenge himself against the man he looked up to as an aspiring junior athlete.

Hudson-Smith said: “I can’t wait to compete at the Birmingham Diamond League, it’s always special for me to be able to compete on the track where I train nearly every day. It will be great to test myself against a great field, particularly Kirani James who I have really looked up to for the last few years.”

After a challenging year in 2015, in which his summer season was cut short by injury in June, the 21 year old is hoping to use the Birmingham Diamond League event as the launchpad of his Olympic year.

“Getting injured last summer was a big disappointment for me but I’m now feeling good and looking forward to competing at such a big event and getting ready for such an important season.”

Double Olympic, world and European champion Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar) is already confirmed as competing at the Birmingham Diamond League, alongside British teammates Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie), Adam Gemili (Steve Fudge), Tiffany Porter (Rana Reider), Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Caan) and Lynsey Sharp (Reider) as well as international athletes such as Dafne Schippers, David Rudisha, Asbel Kiprop, Mutaz Essa Barshim and Valerie Adams.

For tickets to the Birmingham Diamond League please visit http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/event/35004F13E4192DDA