6th July 2011
World Class Birmingham
06 July 2011
The Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix will host a field of international and domestic stars as the number one global athletics tour roars into the West Midlands on Sunday.
Of the 17 disciplines on show at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium 15 of them will contain a World or Olympic champion with more than 40 global medallists set to line up, enhancing the event’s status as one of the strongest in world athletics this year.
In the 100m, Asafa Powell, who set a world-leading time of 9.78secs en route to victory on the Lausanne leg of the Samsung Diamond League last month, joins a star-studded line-up featuring an astonishing nine athletes who have run 9.99secs or faster.
Jamaican Powell, the fastest man on the planet this year, is no stranger to the UK, having broken the World Record in 2006 with a time of 9.77secs in Gateshead at the Aviva British Grand Prix.
In other track action at Birmingham Alexander Stadium this Sunday, the world’s fastest woman of the year so far, Carmelita Jeter, will line up in the 200m. The American has six victories in Britain over the last two years to her name and will hope for a seventh when she faces Marshevet Myers, who will contest the 100m for the USA at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu next month.
Plenty of eyes will be on the triple jump, where Britain’s World and European champion Phillips Idowu takes on the 22-year-old Parisian taking the discipline by storm, current World Indoor champion and World Indoor Record holder Teddy Tamgho.
In the 5,000m, double European gold medallist Mo Farah, the world number one over 10,000m, attempts to break his own British record of 12:57.94 he set last year in Zurich.
He lines up against reigning Samsung Diamond League champion Imane Merga, the world number one over this distance, and Dejen Gebremeskel, the last person to beat Farah – and in astonishing fashion – having lost a shoe in the Boston Indoor Grand Prix in February.
Domestic hopes will be on Welsh 400m hurdler Dai Greene, who attempts to break Kriss Akabusi’s 21-year stronghold on the British record and reigning World bronze medallist Jenny Meadows, who competes in the 800m.
Meadows is strong favourite in her race, while 25-year-old Greene – the reigning European and Commonwealth champion, faces tough opposition from two-time World champion and Olympic gold medallist Felix Sanchez and former World champion Bershawn Jackson.
Fresh from her success in Germany at the weekend, where she set a new British record of 4.70m, 19-year-old pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale will line up against Silke Spiegelburg, World Indoor champion Fabiana Murer and European champion Svetlana Feofanova.
Also tipped for glory is double Paralympic champion David Weir, who will compete in the men’s 1500m T54.
One of the strongest competitions of the day will be the 100m hurdles, with the terrific field being headed by the world’s top four athletes: Commonwealth champion Sally Pearson, Olympic champion Dawn Harper, current world’s fastest Kellie Wells and Tiffany Ofili-Porter, who will look to better her own British record.
Meanwhile, no less than four 22m throwers will line up in the shot put, with Olympic champion Thomas Majewski to battle it out with the event favourite, Canada’s Commonwealth champion Dylan Armstrong.
Javelin thrower Andreas Thorkildsen, dubbed athletics’ answer to David Beckham and holder of all major international titles, has fully recovered from injury and aims to re-claim the world number one ranking from Vadim Vasilevskis, the Ukrainian Olympic silver medallist.
Botswanan Amantle Montsho will look to challenge the 50-second barrier and continue her winning run over Sanya Richards-Ross in the 400m, while long jumper Brittney Reese makes her long-awaited debut in Great Britain having just leapt 7.19m, the world’s best jump for four years.
Embarking on a thrilling high jump competition will be Croat Blanka Vlasic, the two-time World champion and Olympic silver medallist tipped to be the first person ever to jump more than two metres at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium.
Finally, Brits Christine Ohuruogu and Chris Thompson will miss the event through injury.
The Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix will be at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium on 10 July and will be shown live on BBC2 17.30-20.00. For more information on this event or any other Aviva Series event this summer go to uka.org.uk/aviva-series or phone 08000 556 056.