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PERFECT TIMING

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Mo Farah wins Aviva London Grand Prix

13 July 2012

Day one of the Aviva London Grand Prix served up the perfect appetiser for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Four personal bests for Team GB Olympians Perri Shakes-Drayton (coach: Chris Zah), Julia Bleasdale (Nic Bideau), Andrew Pozzi (Malcolm Arnold) and Jack Green (Malcolm Arnold) indicated many athletes are hitting peak form ahead of the main course at the Olympic Stadium in a little over three weeks time.

Shakes-Drayton’s 53.77 victory in the women’s 400m hurdles marked the second fastest time ever in British history, Sally Gunnell’s record is still in place – for now.

“I’m very happy with today’s performance,” said the native Londoner.

“I wanted a season’s best so I’m very happy. I know I’m doing the right thing with my coach so roll on the Olympics.”

Bleasdale continued her fantastic 2012 season in the women’s 5000m. Following her excellent run at the recent European Championships in Helsinki (fourth and a personal best), the Hillingdon athlete backed up her form with an impressive display in a world-class field containing Vivien Cheruiyot, with a time of 15:10.06 to finish sixth.

“I wanted to be competitive and I tried to hang on to the Africans for as long as I could,” she said.

“I hope to eventually be there at the end with them. I didn’t ease down for this race so it’s good to run well and after a couple more weeks of hard training, I hope to run well in London and feel even better.”

In inclement conditions, Pozzi chalked up another lifetime best in 2012 – 13.34. The time was enough to ensure the young Stratford-upon-Avon athlete a place in the final, but a mistiming of hurdle number two meant he did not finish the race.

“I’ve been training so much better than I’ve been racing of late, I’ve been a bit unfortunate with the conditions that I’ve been in. I’m actually quite happy that these conditions suit us.”

Pozzi’s Team Bath colleagues Dai Greene (Malcolm Arnold) and Jack Green both had encouraging displays in the men’s 400m hurdles. Diamond League leader Javier Coulson underlined his gold medal credentials with a season’s best time of 47.78 to win the race. Rival Greene finished second in 47.10 with his training partner Green posting a best of 48.60 two places below.

“It was okay, I would have liked a bit more but it was a good race,” said the World Champion.

“I think it was my third fastest time ever so I can’t be too disappointed. I’ve got a few more weeks to get a bit sharper for the Olympics and I’m going in the right direction I think. So I’m looking forward to the Olympic and hopefully I can get one over Culson then.”

There was a welcome return to form for Chris Tomlinson (Frank Attoh) following his recent injury troubles. A season’s best of 8.26m was not enough to displace Mitchell Watt into first place.

“It was nice to come out and jump 8.26m,” said Tomlinson. “Five jumps over eight metres. Things are starting to take shape. It’s all really a one competition season with the Olympic Games but I’ve got to be happy with today’s performance.”

Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar) once again ignited the Crystal Palace crowd with another commanding performance in the 5000m. The Mo-Bot was out in force as the 2011 World Champion left the field trailing in his blaze, recording a time of 13:06.04.

“It definitely went well, I’m definitely happy,” said Farah. “Training’s been going well so I’m looking forward to the Games.”

Elsewhere there was encouraging displays from Lawrence Okoye (John Hillier) in the men’s discus - third with a throw of 63.33m and Laura Weightman (Steve Cram) in the women’s 1500m – fourth in 4:08.19. Lisa Dobriskey  (Ricky Soos) and Hannah England (Bud Baldaro) finished seventh and eleventh respectively.

The men’s 100m heats did not yield any British finalists with Dwain Chambers, Mark Lewis-Francis (Linford Christie) and Simeon Williamson failing to make the cut.

For the results in full: http://www.diamondleague-london.com/Live-StartlistsResults/Overview/