3rd July 2014

Diamond League Heads To Lausanne For Athletissima

3 July 2014

After a three week break, the Diamond League returns to Europe at some rate of knots, with the Athletissima meeting in Lausanne the first of three meetings in ten days. For the British athletes, the focus is on performing well at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix on 11-12 July, however before then a number will head to Europe to fine tune their preparations.

For Olympic champion Greg Rutherford (coach: Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo), there could be no better way to prepare than by taking on a long jump field that includes no fewer than nine athletes with personal bests of 8.42m or more. With an 8.51m jump to his name earlier this year, the Milton Keynes man will be looking to be right in the mix.

Second at the European Team Championships in Braunschweig two weeks ago, Rutherford will need to get back to season’s best and British record setting form at the Stade de la Pontaise on Thursday evening if he is to challenge for the win.

Following on from her victory at the Sainsbury’s British Championships over the weekend, Lynsey Sharp (Rana Reider) heads to Lausanne full of confidence as she aims to crack the two minute barrier for the first time. After two injury plagued years, Sharp is rounding into form nicely ahead of a home Commonwealth Games and the defence of her European title.

"Last weekend was so much fun; I really enjoyed it but it’s on to the next one now. I’ve been thrown in at the deep end as well, as it’s a really strong field tonight but I’m looking forward to it!

"I’m just looking to run a good race again. Obviously sub two [minutes] is on my mind, but it’s a cracking field so I’ve just go to mix it with those girls and just race."

Yet to open his 2014 outdoor season, the second fastest British sprinter of all time, James Dasaolu (Steve Fudge), will return to the track in Lausanne. Lining up in the ‘B’ 100m, the Loughborough based man will test his fitness as he returns from a hamstring injury which forced him to miss the IAAF World Indoor Championships back in March.

There is also plenty of sprint action on the female side, with a Great Britain & Northern Ireland quartet planning to spoil the party in meeting finale, the 4x100m UBS Trophy. They’ll line up against the hosts, Switzerland, as well as strong teams from European Team Championship winners Netherlands and runners-up France.

There have been three personnel changes since the team last ran in Braunschweig, with Sainsbury’s British 100m champion Asha Phillip (Christine Bowmaker), Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan) and Desiree Henry (Reider)all joining Anyika Onoura (Reider) in the team.

The GB & NI team clocked 43.66 in Braunschweig two weeks ago, however earlier in the year ran 42.75 at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas, which remains the fastest time in Europe in 2014. With such a strong quartet, and a good weather forecast, we could see a time close to the British record of 42.43, which dates back to 1980. Either way, the competition will provide good preparation for the European Championships in Zurich next month.

Henry will also line-up in the ‘B’ 100m, as will Louise Bloor (Toni Minichiello), with Henry looking to secure her place on the team for IAAF World Junior Championships.

After a below-par run at the Sainsbury’s British Championships at the weekend, Rhys Williams (Adrian Thomas) is another athlete looking to make amends at the Athletissima meeting. Williams has already gone within a tenth of his lifetime best this year with a 48.95 clocking in Geneva three weeks ago, and he will be hoping he can perform well in Switzerland again this time around.

Rutherford aside, Britain’s only other interest in the field comes from recently crowned Sainsbury’s British champion Steve Lewis (Dan Pfaff), who cleared 5.55m at the Alexander Stadium on Sunday to regain his title. With a season’s best of 5.70m back in April, the Commonwealth Games silver medallist will be hoping world class opposition can help him get back up to personal best heights.

There is also a taste of Diamond League action for youngsters Amy Griffiths (Mick Woods) and Bobby Clay (Peter Mullervy) in the U20 women’s 1500m. Griffiths, already selected for the IAAF World Junior Championships in America later this month, got her first experience at this level in a similar race in Oslo last month. This time round she’ll be joined by her domestic rival Clay, who like Griffiths has a 4.17 season’s best. For Clay, this race has added importance as she looks to be added to the IAAF World Junior team when the second wave of selections are announced next Tuesday.

To watch all the action from Lausanne live, make sure you tune in to the BBC red button, or the BBC Sport website between 19:00 – 21:00 on Thursday 3 July.

To see most of the athletes above and many more in action at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix, head to http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/british-athletics-series/sainsburys-glasgow-grand-prix/ to secure your tickets.