27 July 2011
World number one hurdler David Oliver believes a sell-out crowd at next week’s Aviva London Grand Prix could set the stage for his maiden World title next month, but warned fans it’s now a race against time to secure seats for his clash with Olympic champion Dayron Robles and European and Commonwealth champion Andy Turner on 5 August.
The American record holder, also the third fastest hurdler of all time, is one of the favourites to land the coveted IAAF World Championship gold medal in Daegu next month after a whirlwind 15 months where he has won 32 out of 34 races.
However, in his path for glory in both South Korea and at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre next week, stands Beijing gold medallist and World Record holder Dayron Robles, the Cuban athlete who has inflicted one of Oliver’s two defeats this season when recording his first victory over the American in more than three years with a win in Paris.
And with only a final few tickets remaining for Friday to see the 110m hurdles competition, in addition to Asafa Powell in the 100m and Mo Farah in the 3000m, Oliver has urged athletics fans in London not to miss out on what he insists will be one of the showpiece events at next year’s Olympic Games.
He said: “I love competing in the UK, I’m really excited to get back there and get back on the track and run the best I can. This year has been great for me so far and I’ll be hoping to keep my good form in London.
“The field will be good in London, it will be great to get back up against Dayron [Robles] again, he’s had a great season and I always look forward to competing against him because he is the best and it will be a true test of where I'm at in my last competition before Worlds.
“One year out from 2012 I want to get a good result in London. I want to leave the city in good form and with a great feeling for when I return next year. The World Championships are obviously on the cards and this will definitely be preparation for that so I’m not going to be holding back, I want to get a good result.
“I hear that the Saturday is sold out now but there’s still some tickets left for when I’m racing so I’m really hoping that people get out and buy tickets so it’s a packed stadium for the race. I think the 110m hurdles is one of the most interesting events out there at the moment, there’s a field packed full of talent and every race is a great one.”
Like Oliver last year, Robles has enjoyed one of his finest seasons to date this campaign and until his last race in Barcelona – where he hit a hurdle in a freak accident and finished last – he had won every race he had entered.
He goes head-to-head with Oliver once again this Friday in the Samsung Diamond League bout in Stockholm, the last before they clash on UK soil next Friday, and is keen to test himself against the best in a world class Aviva London Grand Prix field that will also include world number four Aries Merritt.
The event is also a good opportunity for Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland star Turner to notch another victory over Robles after the Cuban’s calamity in Spain and also test himself against good friend and frequent training partner Oliver.
Turner is in outstanding form after a top performance at the SPAR European Team Championships in Stockholm in atrocious weather, followed by a personal best of 13.22secs in Lausanne just last month, and the Sutton-based hurdler believes he has a big performance stirring within him and has set his heart on putting in a strong performance in front of his local fans.
“It’s going to be great competing at the Aviva London Grand Prix, it’s one of my favourite meets on the circuit as I love to race in front of a home crowd. There’s a high level field racing so it will definitely be a tight one. David and I have raced a few times this season but it will be great to add Robles to the mix as well.
“It’s unbelievable that we’re now only one year away from 2012, it’s really going to hit home when we’re lining up before the race and I really hope that I get some good support from the crowd.
“I’m happy with how 2011 has gone so far. I know I have a big performance in me and am feeling positive about the second half of the season.”
Oliver, Robles and Turner join an all-star cast of British and international athletes set to head to the Aviva London Grand Prix. Mo Farah (3000m), Asafa Powell (100m), Mark Lewis-Francis (100m), Jenny Meadows (800m), David Rudisha (800m), Abubaker Kaki (800m) and Kim Collins (100m) will all be joining them in action at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on Friday 5 August, while Christine Ohuruogu (400m), Sanya Richards-Ross (400m), Phillips Idowu (triple jump), Felix Sanchez (400m hurdles), Dai Greene (400m hurdles), and Carmelita Jeter (100m, 200m) will take to the track on the sold-out Saturday for the final Aviva Series contest of 2011.
Oliver, Robles and Turner will compete at the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on 5 August. For tickets or more information click here or phone 08000 556 056. The event on 5-6 August will be shown live on BBC 2/BBC HD.