26 July 2011
An all-star British cast of Olympic, World and European champions will compete in what is arguably the strongest ever line-up in the history of the Aviva UK Trials and Championships when the 2011 edition of the event gets under way in Birmingham next Friday.
World and European champion Phillips Idowu, Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu, double European champion and European record holder Mo Farah and World and European champion Jessica Ennis are just some of the star names headed for the Birmingham Alexander Stadium as they look to cement their place in the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team destined for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu.
Joining them will be in-form Welshman Dai Greene, who powered through a world class field to take victory in the 400m hurdles in his last visit to the stadium just two weeks ago at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix, European and Commonwealth champion Andy Turner and World medallist Jenny Meadows, who will use this as the first step to achieving her long-term target of gold in South Korea next month.
Fresh from her European U23 success in Ostrava, British record holder Holly Bleasdale will also be part of the action, while Tiffany Ofili-Porter competes on UK soil for the first time since breaking the British record for the 100m hurdles in Monaco on Friday.
It will be a quick return to the city for Farah, who ran a near-perfect race to take first place when the Samsung Diamond League visited the West Midlands earlier this month.
The 28-year-old, who is now world number one in both the 5,000m and 10,000m, will run the 5,000m in the hope of regaining the national title he won back in 2007.
Farah followed up his outstanding performance in Birmingham with a British record-breaking run in Monaco on Friday, and he is determined to deliver another performance of note for the athletics-savvy Birmingham crowd.
Farah said: “It will be nice to compete at the Trials in Birmingham – I had a great race there just the other week against a strong field so I’m feeling really positive as we go in to the upcoming meets.
“I’ve been training hard with Alberto [Salazar] & Galen [Rupp] in Portland and my run at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix showed that it is coming together. I want to keep on improving over the next few weeks so that I feel confident going in to the World Championships.
“I can only continue to do what I’m doing, concentrate on my own development and racing and hopefully the results will come from there.”
Making her return to action will be 27-year-old Ohuruogu, who ran a Daegu qualifying time of 51.49secs in Barcelona, and she will be out to regain the 400m title she last won back in 2009.
Injuries have meant the London runner has not competed as much as she’d have wished, but the Beijing gold medallist is keen to return to form with the national title this weekend.
Ohuruogu said: “Obviously the past few years haven’t been ideal for me in terms of injuries but I’m so keen to get back to competition and am aiming towards the World Championships before I start thinking about the Olympics.
“I’ve been in training for a good while now and am definitely feeling comfortable with where things are at. Competing in the Aviva UK Trials and Championships ahead of the Aviva London Grand Prix is good for me, I want to be able to ease myself in and of course, we’ll take a look at my performance after Birmingham to make sure I’m prepared for London.
“It’s important now that I just concentrate on what I need to do for these major championships and keep myself healthy and fit throughout my racing.”
The strong line-up at the Aviva UK Trials and Championships gives the public the chance to see the stars of 2012 one year out from the event.
The Aviva UK Trials and Championships will be held at Birmingham Alexander Stadium from 29-31 July and shown live on BBC2 / BBC HD. For tickets or more information go to uka.org.uk/aviva-series or phone 08000 556 056