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olympic champions to light up sainsbury's birmingham grand prix

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Greg Rutherford

6 June 2015

Four Olympic gold medallists including Mo Farah (coach: Alberto Salazar) and Greg Rutherford (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) spoke ahead of the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix taking place at the Alexander Stadium tomorrow.

Farah, who will step down to race in the 1500m against the likes of fan’s favourite Bernard Lagat and Lee Emmanuel (Joe Franklin), who recorded a personal best of 3:35.66 on his previous visit to Birmingham for the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix in February.

“I’m excited about tomorrow to get out and race. Running is what I do and I love coming back and running in front of the British crowd,” said Farah, the double Olympic, world and European champion. 

“It won’t be an easy race for me doing the 1500m, but I’m excited about it.”

Rutherford, the Olympic, Commonwealth and European champion will return to the West Midlands after victory at the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix in February and goes up against a strong field which includes USA’s Mike Hartfield, long-time rival Chris Tomlinson and Dan Bramble (Frank Attoh), who tops the UK rankings in 2015.

“I love competing at British meetings and I’m really excited to be competing at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix - I love having the home crowd behind me. The IAAF Diamond League is always fantastic here – the British public understand athletics and they get behind everybody,” explained the 28 year old. 

“I’m lucky these days because I get announced as a three major winner and everyone goes mad for it which is a brilliant feeling. Hopefully tomorrow my adductor holds up and I can jump far so I can give the crowd something to cheer about, which is ultimately what it is all about.”

USA’s four-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix is upbeat upon her return to Birmingham, where she will go head-to-head in the 200m with newly crowned British 100m record holder, Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie). Asher-Smith, who posted a time of 11.02 in Hengelo last month, and Felix, who is also an nine-time World champion has predicted big things for British Athletics’ rising star.

“I’m really looking forward to competing in Birmingham and I’m excited to have another run here. I have a lot of things I want to work on with my race and any opportunity I get to compete against a strong field is very exciting for me”, said the 29 year old, who boasts a personal best of 21.69 over 200m.

“I think Dina (Asher-Smith) has a really bright future. I saw the brilliant run she had, and it’s exciting at her age to be breaking records. She has a long career ahead of her and I think we will see a lot more of her in the future.”

Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor spoke about his delight of jumping an 18.04m personal best in Doha this year, and his battle with Cuban Pedro Pablo Pichardo. Both athletes have their eyes on Jonathan

Edwards’ world record of 18.29m as an achievable mark this season, but Taylor’s immediate aim is to put in a strong performance at the Alexander Stadium, where he will face European Indoor gold medallist Nelson Evora 

Taylor, who is ranked fourth on the world all-time list said: “My aim in Birmingham is to jump over 17.80m, to stay healthy and put on a good show when we are out on the field.”

“Jonathan’s (Edwards) keeps telling me that I need to be jumping consistently now over 17.80m and he is a fond believer that records are there to be broken. His record’s been there for a long time so I have a lot of respect for it but tomorrow I’ll be aiming to break it.”

For full entry lists please visit: http://birmingham.diamondleague.com/list_results_bham_2015/

To buy tickets to the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix visit britishathletics.org.uk. Sainsbury’s is proud to be a long-term supporter of British Athletics and a champion of inclusive sport for all, from grassroots to elite level.