Mo Mania to hit Birmingham as Farah headlines Grand Prix
Mo Farah will headline an impressive list of 16 gold medallists and 42 medallists from the London Olympics that will take to the track this Sunday as the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix returns to the Birmingham Alexander Stadium.
Great Britain’s double Olympic champion Farah will be part of an array of world-class stars as he lines up to race over 2 miles at the UK’s final Samsung Diamond League event of the year.
Having already broken the British indoor 2 mile record earlier this year, Steve Ovett’s outdoor British record of 8:13.51 will likely come under threat.
Farah wrote his name in the history books as he became the first British man to win Olympic gold in the distance events, taking victory in both the 5,000m and 10,000m. The 29-year-old is looking forward to entertaining the sold-out crowd again in Birmingham.
“I’m looking forward to coming back to the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix. It was a special atmosphere there last year and another victory would be great. It’s a big year for athletics in the UK. The crowd has really got behind me on home soil in 2012, and I’m sure they’ll be in high spirits to cheer on the returning Olympic contingent in Birmingham.”
The men’s long jump will see another of Britain’s newly-crowned Olympic champions in action as Greg Rutherford (Dan Pfaff) takes on Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor as well as Australia’s Mitchell Watt and American Will Claye, who were second and third in the long jump at the Games. Rutherford admits he is relishing being part of another star studded long jump line-up in Birmingham.
“The Olympics were an amazing experience from start to finish. The crowd were unbelievable and I’m really looking forward to competing in front of a home crowd once again at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix. It will be the last major meet in the country this year and I’m determined to give the crowd another big reason to cheer in what has been the best year of my career.”
Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan), who took silver in London to add to her Beijing gold, will compete over 400m in Birmingham. The 28-year-old will face three of her opponents from the Olympic final, including bronze medallist DeeDee Trotter, Jamaican Rosemarie Whyte and American Francena McCorory.
Another highlight of Sunday’s action will be the men’s high jump where Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz (Fayyaz Ahmed) will take on Russian Ivan Ukhov, who took gold in London. Grabarz and Ukhov will be joined by Andrey Silnov, as well as 2011 World Champion Jesse Williams in what has the potential to be one of the day’s most exciting events.
All eyes will also be on the men’s 110m hurdles where an Olympic final rematch will see rising British star Lawrence Clarke (Malcolm Arnold) – fourth at London 2012 – take on all three Olympic medallists. Champion Aries Merritt, who has enjoyed a summer of incredible consistency, will enter as favourite against silver medallist Jason Richardson and bronze medallist Hansle Parchment, with a line-up that includes six of the top seven from London’s Olympic final in place.
The women’s 100m is set to be a thrilling battle as perennial rivals and Olympic gold and silver medallists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Carmelita Jeter go head-to-head again at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium. Jeter – who picked up individual 100m silver and 4X100m relay gold with the US team at London 2012 – leads Jamaica’s Fraser-Pryce 11-9 in head-to-head clashes.
Fraser-Pryce ensured her place in Olympic history in London, however, by successfully defending the individual 100m title she won in Beijing four years ago.
The men’s 200m will see supremely talented 18-year-old Brit Adam Gemili (Michael Afilaka) joined by four-time Olympian Christian Malcolm (Dan Pfaff) as they take on three London 2012 finalists in the form of Wallace Spearmon, Churandy Martina and Ryan Bailey.
In the men’s discus competition, Olympic champion Robert Harting of Germany will look to continue his impressive form by recording another victory over the silver and bronze medallists from London, Ehsan Hadadi and Gerd Kanter.
Further Olympic gold medallists on display include shot putter Valerie Adams, 800m champion Mariya Savinova, 400m hurdles champion Natalya Antyukh, triple jump winner Olga Rypakova, pole vault champion Jenn Suhr and Barbora Spotakova, winner of the javelin.
A full start list is available here. 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. Live coverage on BBC2 from 2-5pm.