14 February 2013
Many of the world’s best athletes, including six Olympic Champions, are set to compete in the British Athletics Grand Prix at Birmingham’s NIA on Saturday.
Double Olympic Champion Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar) will take to the track for the first time this year as he competes in the 3,000m and the 29 year old is looking forward to competing in front of a Birmingham crowd again.
“I always love running in Birmingham and have fond memories of celebrating my Olympic success with the British fans at Alexander Stadium last August. I always run well at the NIA. I won this meet in 2007, 2009 and 2011 and that’s what I’ll be aiming to do at the British Athletics Grand Prix.”
The top two from the women’s 100m at last summer’s Olympic Games will go head to head as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce faces Carmelita Jeter for the first time since August in the 60m. Jamaican Fraser-Pryce will compete in her first ever indoor race while Jeter will return to the UK after a second place finish at the British Athletics Glasgow International Match last month.
Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz (Fayyaz Ahmed) will take on Russia’s Olympic Champion Ivan Ukhov in the men’s high jump. Grabarz, who secured his place on the GB & NI team for the European Championships in Gothenburg with victory in Sheffield last weekend, will look for a repeat of the performance that saw him take victory at this event last year.
“I think it will take a height higher than the Europeans to win in Birmingham this weekend. Everyone’s jumping really well at the moment and a first time clearance around the mid-30s will probably win it.
“Birmingham was the reason why I attempted a big height (2.39m) at the European Trialson Sunday, as it would have been nice to get a world lead and put Ukhov and Dmitrik on the back foot. It didn’t happen, but I was close - I just need to control my excitement and I’ll come out flying.”
Holly Bleasdale (Dan Pfaff, Scott Simpson), who set a world leading 4.77m as she won the pole vault at the British Athletics European Trials & UK Championships last weekend, will face the challenge of Cuba’s Olympic silver medallist Yarisley Silva – herself a 4.76m vaulter in 2013.
Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter) will return to the track for the first time since September 2011 as she runs over 800m against Olympic bronze medallist Ekaterina Poistogova of Russia and fellow Brit Lynsey Sharp (Terrence Mahon) and Meadows is excited about her return to competitive action.
“First and foremost I’m just really glad to be on the start line with my spikes on, injury free and raring to go. I am a competitor and want to perform well so I want to finish as high up in the competition as I can. The British Athletics Grand Prix is my favourite competition of the year, I really enjoy the event and I like indoor racing.
“I can’t wait to hear my name announced and hopefully the crowd will give me a good reception. It’s been a lot of effort to get back on to the track in competitive shape and overcome the injuries so it means the world to me. 16th February 2013 is probably a date I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
Jamaica’s Lerone Clarke will be looking for a repeat of last year’s 60m at the British Athletics Grand Prix where he beat fellow Jamaican Nesta Carter, who also competes on Saturday. Dwain Chambers (Rana Reider), who defeated a field including 2003 World Champion Kim Collins at the British Athletics Glasgow International Match last month, will lead British hopes while Mike Rodgers of the USA will also hope to challenge.
Olympic 400m hurdles semi-finalist Perri Shakes-Drayton (Chris Zah) will go up against fellow hurdler Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold) in the 400m. Child, who set a Scottish record 52.06 in Sheffield last Saturday on her way to the UK title, will be wary of the challenge posed by American 4x400m specialist Natasha Hastings, who narrowly defeated Shakes-Drayton at the British Athletics Glasgow International Match.
2011 World Championship silver medallist Hannah England (Bud Baldaro) competes for the first time in 2013 in a 1500m race where Genzebe Dibaba will be eyeing the world record of 3:58.28. Lawrence Clarke (Malcolm Arnold), who finished fourth in the 110m hurdles at the London Olympic Games, also makes his season debut in a 60m hurdles field which includes European Champion Sergey Shubenkov.
Aries Merritt has withdrawn from the 60m hurdles with a hamstring injury and the men's 5,000m has been replaced with a women's 3,000m..
The British Athletics Grand Prix will be televised 1300-1630, BBC One and online. Limited tickets remaining, don't miss out, get yours now!