24th August 2012


24 August 2012

British Olympic heroes Greg Rutherford (coach: Dan Pfaff), Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan) and Lawrence Clarke (Malcolm Arnold) today took time out from their preparations for the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix this Sunday to mentor some of the West Midlands’ budding young athletes in an Aviva Startrack session at Royal Sutton Coldfield Athletics Club.

All three stars are in Birmingham this weekend, where they will be competing in front of a home crowd for the first time since their Olympic feats at the sold-out Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix at the Alexander Stadium on Sunday.

Rutherford, who takes on Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor as well as Australia’s Mitchell Watt and American Will Claye, who were second and third in the long jump at the Games, admits he is relishing being part of another star studded long jump line-up in Birmingham.

He said: “It’s a great field, with five of the Olympic finalists and the triple jump champion too. It’s going to be a very exciting event. Weather permitting, we could have some really good jumps out there. Everybody is going to be gunning for my scalp, but I’m just going out there to win as I always do. I like the idea of being top dog.”

The 25-year-old is enjoying his new-found fame since taking gold with 8.31m in London and hopes that with the higher profile of the sport, more youngsters such as those at Royal Sutton Coldfield AC will pursue athletics.

“It was really good to go out there today and meet some kids that are genuinely excited about track and field and the Olympics in general. Everyone’s talking about the legacy and how it’s going to continue and how it’s going to inspire people. You just have to look out there and see the smiles on their faces, running, jumping in the sand and making sandcastles for a little while afterwards. That’s what it’s all about.”

Ohuruogu, who followed up her 400m gold medal from Beijing 2008 with a heroic Olympic final run of 49.70secs – her first sub-50 second run since 2008 – to take silver at London 2012, will face three of her opponents from the Olympic final – America’s bronze medallist DeeDee Trotter, Jamaican Rosemarie Whyte and Francena McCorory from the USA. The 28-year-old is looking forward to returning to action in front of British supporters.

She said: “I always enjoy coming back to Birmingham and this weekend will be no different. It’s a great track with a passionate crowd who really appreciate what they’re watching. It’s a sentimental place to run and it feels like I’m at home in London now that I compete there so often.”

Ohuruogu, an ambassador for the Aviva Startrack scheme for several years now, was impressed at the enthusiasm amongst the youngsters in the West Midlands this afternoon.

“I think the Olympics have given the sport a real buzz. It’s great that so many more young athletes have heroes to look up to now and emulate. These Aviva Startrack sessions are the ideal way for us to harness that enthusiasm and ensure that the next generation are excited by athletics as much as Greg, Lawrence and myself are.”

Clarke, who surprised even himself in firstly making the 110m hurdles Olympic final and then finishing in fourth place in a strong line-up, will effectively face an Olympic final rematch on Sunday as every medallist – including world beater Aries Merritt – and six of the top seven finalists take to the track. The 22-year-old is thrilled to be taking on the world’s best again.

“After running so well at the Olympics I want to prove I belong amongst the world’s top hurdlers and the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix is a great place to start doing that with the leading contenders from the Olympic final lining up there.

“The crowd at the Alexander Stadium is always fantastic and they have given me a lot of support at Trials for the last two years. Hopefully I’ve got a bright future and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do going forward, starting with competing in Birmingham.”

In all, the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix will see 17 gold medallists and 45 medallists overall from London 2012  take to the track and field, headlined by double Olympic champion Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar).

The full list of Olympic medallists includes:


Ryan Bailey (silver in 4x100m)
Tyson Gay (silver in 4x100m)

Luguelin Santos (silver in 400m)
Angelo Taylor (silver in 4X400m)

Leo Manzano (silver in 1500m)
Abdalaati Iguider (bronze in 1500m)

Mo Farah (gold in 5000m & 10,000m)

3000m Steeplechase
Abel Mutai (bronze in 3000m s/c)

110m Hurdles
Aries Merritt (gold in 110m h)
Jason Richardson (silver in 110m h)
Hansle Parchment (bronze in 110m h)

High Jump
Ivan Ukhov (gold in HJ)
Mutaz Essa Barshim (bronze in HJ)
Robbie Grabarz (bronze in HJ)

Long Jump
Greg Rutherford (gold in LJ)
Mitchell Watt (silver in LJ)
Will Claye (bronze in LJ & silver in TJ)
Christian Taylor (gold in TJ)

Robert Harting (gold in discus)
Ehsan Hadadi (silver in discus)
Gerd Kanter (bronze in discus)


Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce (gold in 100m, silver in 200m, silver in 4x100m)
Carmelita Jeter (silver in 100m, bronze in 200m, gold in 4x100m)
Kellie Wells (110m hurdles bronze)
Lauryn Williams (4x100m gold)
Sherone Simpson (4x100m silver)

Christine Ohuruogu (silver in 400m)
DeeDee Trotter (bronze in 400m & gold in 4x400m)
Francena McCorory (gold in 4x400m)
Shericka Williams (bronze in 4x400m)
Rosemarie Whyte (bronze in 4x400m)

Mariya Savinova (gold in 800m)

Vivian Cheruiyot (silver in 5000m & bronze in 10,000m)
Sally Kipyego (silver in 10,000m)

400m Hurdles
Natalia Antyukh (gold in 400m h & silver in 4x400m)
Zuzanna Hejnova (bronze in 400m h)

Triple Jump
Olga Rypakova (gold in TJ)
Olha Saladuha (brozne in TJ)

Pole Vault
Jenn Suhr (gold in PV)
Yarisley Silva (silver in PV)

Shot Put
Valerie Adams (gold in SP)
Evgeniia Kolodko (silver in SP)

Barbora Spotakova (gold in javelin)
Christina Obergfoll (silver in javelin)

A full start list is available at: http://www.diamondleague-birmingham.com/Live-StartlistsResults/Overview/

Back the team and watch the world’s best athletes in action at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium on 26 August. Live coverage on BBC2 from 2-5pm.