19th July 2014

London To Host Iconic Sainsbury's Anniversary Games

19 July 2014

British 110m hurdles champion William Sharman (coach: Jerzy Maciukiewicz) will be looking to extend his recent superb form as he lines up at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games taking place at the iconic Horse Guards Parade and The Mall in London on Sunday 20 July.

The 29-year-old faces another tough test a week on from victory in Glasgow, where he equalled his personal best of 13.21. Sharman is up against two world class Americans; Olympic champion Aries Merritt and world silver medallist Ryan Wilson.

Lawrence Clarke (Malcolm Arnold), Andy Turner (Lloyd Cowan) and Alex Al-Ameen (Rana Reider) go in the ‘B’ race, with Clarke and Turner joining Sharman at the Commonwealth Games in less than two weeks’ time, and then at the European Championships in Zurich next month.

World bronze medallist Tiffany Porter (Reider) meanwhile takes on the two hurdlers who beat her at the 2013 World Championships, American Brianna Rollins and Australian Sally Pearson. Of that rivalry, Porter said:

“Having the opportunity to race against Sally and Brianna will be great. It should allow me to see where I’m at and act as a good springboard heading into the Commonwealth Games. The special thing about the hurdles is that there is just so much talent in the event right now. Everybody is just so good, which is really exciting for the fans and really exciting for us as competitors. Hopefully we can continue to put on a good show for everybody.”

Of the event itself, Porter added:

“I’ve done street meets before but never anything like this! I have to say this tops the list of most iconic places to compete, so I’m just really looking forward to putting on a good show on Sunday.”

Also taking to the specially-laid track at Horse Guards Parade in the heart of the capital will be rising young talent Chijindu Ujah (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo), who was awarded his first senior GB & NI vest this week, having secured a place in the 4x100m relay at next month’s European Championships in Switzerland.

The 20-year-old has already made the headlines clocking 9.96 over 100m in Hengelo last month, so expect a fast race again in London with a field including US sprinter Mike Rodgers, who set his season’s best 9.92 in Austria earlier this week.

“I want to be more consistent at executing in races and hopefully you’ll see more sub ten performances. To come to London, in my home city is nice and I hope to put on a show for everyone.  If I can go out there execute and win the race that will be a success and an upset as well! Hopefully that’ll bring me to a fast time.”

Other world class line-ups include the women’s 100m, which features Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Carmelita Jeter and Allyson Felix as well as the women’s pole vault, featuring Jenn Suhr and Fabiana Murer; Glasgow 2014 bound Scot Henrietta Paxton is a late addition to that event.

And there’s plenty of action on The Mall too, as four Britons take on the two mile road race in the capital including Ross Millington (Steve Vernon) who was second over 5,000m at the Sainsburys British Championships last month. They line up against the likes of experienced American and former world champion, Bernard Lagat.

Alison Leonard (Bud Baldaro) set a new personal best in a thrilling 800m race last weekend in Glasgow; the 24-year-old takes on the one mile road race in London along with Steph Twell (Mick Woods), Melissa Courtney (Mark Pauley) and Helen Clitheroe. Smart money is on Genzebe Dibaba though, with the Ethiopian setting a world lead over 5,000m at the Monaco Diamond League on Friday night.

High jumpers Allan Smith (Fuz Ahmed) and Chris Baker (Sharon Heveran) finished first and second respectively at the Sainsbury’s British Championships three weeks ago, and there could well be an enthralling competition in London as the pair prepare to go head-to-head at the Commonwealth Games.  Another British champion JJ Jegede (Peter Stanley) and former European bronze medallist Chris Tomlinson go in the men’s long jump.

In the women’s high jump, British champion Isobel Pooley (Ahmed) faces two of the world’s best in Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic and Spain’s Ruth Beita, with Vlasic clearing 1.96m to win in Glasgow. Meanwhile the pole vault will see world record holder Renaud Lavillenie return to the city where he won Olympic gold two years ago. The Frenchman will look to go over six metres once more. Great Britain’s top two pole vaulters, Steve Lewis (Dan Pfaff) and Luke Cutts (Trevor Fox) will also look to put in good performances at Horse Guards Parade.

Eden Francis (Glenys Morton) picked up double gold at the Sainsbury’s British Championships, securing victory in both the discus and the shot put; the 25-year-old competes in the shot alongside the likes of Germany’s Christina Schwanitz, ranked second in the world this year.

There are also a number of Paralympic events for the London crowds to enjoy. Home favourite and six-time Paralympic gold medallist David Weir (Jenny Archer) races over a mile (T53/54) along with fellow Briton Stuart Bloor (Archer). Weir powered to victory over 1,500m a week ago in Glasgow and will be hard to beat here.

Paralympic and World discus F42 champion Aled Davies (Anthony Hughes) set a new world record back in May, and now the Welshman takes on the shot put in the capital – and he’s no stranger to success in that event either, having won world gold with a new world record in Lyon a year ago, throwing 14.71m.

Paralympic silver medallist (F44) Stef Reid (Reider) also has a new world record under her belt this season – the 29-year-old long jumper cleared 5.45m back in May, and added 2cm to that record last weekend in Glasgow.  Reid and fellow Briton Laura Sugar (Femi Akinsanya) face a strong line-up, including the gold and silver medallists from last year’s IPC Athletics World Championships, Iris Pruysen and Marie-Amelie Le Fur.

Hannah Cockroft (Jennifer Banks) will hope to continue her winning ways as she also looks ahead to the IPC European Championships next month. The double World and Paralympic champion was disappointed with her winning time over 100m T34 in Glasgow having bettered her own world record mark in May, so she’ll be aiming to get back on track in London.

And the dual between Great Britain’s Paralympic and World 100m T44 champion Jonnie Peacock (Steve Fudge) and his American adversary, the world record holder Richard Browne continues one week on from Browne’s victory in Glasgow.

There’s also a world class field in the women’s 100m T37/38, as Great Britain’s World T38 champion Sophie Hahn (Joseph McDonnell), and fellow Briton Olivia Breen (Tawiah-Dodoo), face World 100m and 200m T37 champion Mandy Francois-Elie as well as Paralympic 100m T38 champion Margarita Goncherova.

And there are four talented Britons in the men’s 100m T37/38 – Graeme Ballard, Paul Blake (Robert Ellchuk) , Rhys Jones (Keith Antoine) and Ben Rushgrove (Ellchuk) all line-up in that one.

Tickets for the event are still available at www.britishathletics.org.uk

Alternatively, catch the action live from 13:30 – 16:05 on Channel 4.