British Olympic bronze medallist and European Champion Robbie Grabarz (Fayyaz Ahmed) has set his sights on another showdown with gold medallist Ivan Ukhov at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix on 26th August.
In a thrilling Olympic high jump final, Grabarz cleared his first two heights at the first attempt, and despite narrowly missing out at 2.33m, the Newham & Essex Beagle was delighted to come away with a bronze medal.
“To get a bronze medal, it’s incredible. To the general public I have come from nowhere and they’ll be like ‘who is this kid with a medal round his neck?’ It’s fantastic.
“It seems slightly surreal. I planned for it, made the right decisions and knew I’d got the training in and the talent to achieve this, but just to make it come true is the difficult thing. It’s not going to sink in for a while. It’s been the plan all along to come to these Games and not fail a bar, and I did get a medal without failing a bar – two jumps was what it took, and I got a medal.”
Grabarz was pipped into second place by American Erik Kynard and eventual winner Ivan Ukhov, who cleared 2.38m to win gold. However, after beating the Russian in the Rome Samsung Diamond League meet in May, Grabarz will be full of confidence as he returns to the Alexander Stadium for the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix.
“I love competing against these guys on the Diamond League circuit. Having the opportunity to go up against Ukhov again at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix is one that I will relish. I'm looking forward to being part of a world-class field once again; it'll be like re-living the Olympic final.”
Grabarz will also be joined by Beijing gold medallist Andrey Silnov, and in a third day of Samsung Diamond League action in the UK in 2012, the Olympic bronze medallist is hoping for a big crowd to spur him on to victory.
“Medalling at the Olympics is the best experience of my career to date. The crowd were amazing and behind me all the way. The lift the fans gave me is like nothing I have ever experienced and I look forward to having their support once again in Birmingham.
“The Alexander Stadium is like home to me. I train there every day and I live five minutes away. It's going to be a special day for me to return home as an Olympic medallist and put on a show for my friends and family.”
Grabarz will be joined at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix by Birmingham’s own 2008 Olympic finalist Tom Parsons. Despite missing out on a place at the London Olympic Games, the Birchfield Harrier is relishing the prospect of taking on some of the Olympic medallists on his home patch.
"Missing out on the Olympics has made me hungry to perform well again as soon as possible. The Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix provides the perfect opportunity, and I’m confident that I can produce my best form in front of my home crowd at the Alexander Stadium.”
Also joining Grabarz, Ukhov, Silnov and Parsons will be Russian World silver medallist Aleksey Dmitrik.
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. For tickets, visitwww.uka.org.uk/aviva-seriesor call 08000 55 60 56.