24 July 2009
Olympic bronze medallist Tasha Danvers (Croydon Harriers) shares her 10 most anticipated events for the Aviva London Grand Prix which begins tonight 24 July.
All eyes will be on triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt as he runs over 100m for the first time at Crystal Palace. The Jamaican holds the world record of 9.69 clocked in Beijing last year. His compatriot and fellow Olympic 4X100m relay gold medallist Asafa Powell will be hoping to impress along with newly crowned UK champion Simeon Williamson and London sprinter Tyrone Edgar, who recently ran a season’s best 10.09s.
The reigning World champion over 100 and 200m, Tyson Gay clocked a world lead 19.58s earlier this year, and is the man to beat here. Fellow American Wallace Spearmon, who won bronze at the World Championships two years ago behind Gay, also lines up along with former World champion Kim Collins and Britain’s 2004 Olympic 4x100m relay medallist, Marlon Devonish.
Britain’s top three triple jumpers – Olympic silver medallist Phillips Idowu, Nathan Douglas and Larry Achike - line up at Crystal Palace, and face Olympic bronze medallist Leevan Sands from the Bahamas. Idowu, the current World Indoor champion, will be out to fine tune his preparations as he prepares for Berlin and the chance to add an outdoor global gold to his medal tally.
Cuba’s 22-year-old world record holder and Olympic champion Dayron Robles heads up a stellar field which includes America’s former Olympic and four-time World champion Allen Johnson as well as David Payne, who won silver behind Robles at the Olympics last year. Robles will be taking aim at Johnson’s stadium record of 13.05s set 14 years ago - the trio will provide tough competition for UK champion and European bronze medallist Andy Turner.
Welsh athlete David Greene is in great form, clocking the fastest time in Europe this season last month and winning the Aviva World Trials & UK Championships two weeks ago. He faces stiff competition this weekend in the form of reigning World champion and Olympic silver medallist Kerron Clement, Olympic bronze medallist and former World champion Bershawn Jackson – and not forgetting former Olympic and 2001 World champion Felix Sanchez.
Britain’s number one long jumper Chris Tomlinson will be hoping to lay down a marker ahead of the World Championships this weekend as he takes on a strong field which includes the American Dwight Phillips, a two-time former World champion. The 31-year-old is in great form this season, leaping to 8.74m in Oregon last month. Watch out too for Australian Mitchell Watt, who heads to the World Championships next month having already cleared 8.43m this summer.
A thrilling race is on the cards with a field packed with British talent. UK Champion Charlene Thomas impressed with her sprint finish at the Aviva Trials earlier this month, but she’d better watch out for World Junior 1500m champion Steph Twell, as well as Lisa Dobriskey, who finished fourth at last year’s Olympics, and Hannah England – all determined to join Thomas on the plane to Berlin for the World Championships. Overseas opposition is led by the vastly improved American Anna Willard, who could well run below four minutes.
Russia’s reigning World and Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva has set three world records at Crystal Palace and has won there every year since 2004. Emerging into upper world class is UK champion Kate Dennison, who has set no fewer than seven national records this year. America’s nine-time national champion Stacy Dragila, who won Olympic gold in Sydney in 2000, is another experienced athlete to watch out for.
World Indoor and Outdoor champion Blanka Vlasic, who picked up silver at the Olympics last year, has cleared two metres no fewer than seven times this season so far and will be out to impress as she gears up for the defence of her world title. Watch out too for European Indoor silver medallist Ruth Beitia who also regularly clears two metres and will be targeting a global medal in Berlin, as well as six-time American champion Amy Acuff.
As always the women’s 800m is brimming with excitement as Britain’s top three – Jemma Simpson, Marilyn Okoro and Jenny Meadows - do battle over two laps. Simpson came out on top at the Aviva World Trials & UK Championships two weeks ago, but London athlete Okoro followed that up with an impressive sub-two minute run in Paris last week. The trio will have to watch out for Yuliya Krevsun from the Ukraine who has clocked the world’s third fastest time so far this season.
Tickets for the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace, London on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th July are available by phone on 08000 556 056 or online at www.uka.org.uk