The biggest names in British athletics will line up at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix on 7 June when Mo Farah (coach: Alberto Salazar) will be joined by the likes of Olympic, European and Commonwealth long jump champion Greg Rutherford (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) and world and former Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu as well as a raft of other British stars.
British record holder Rutherford will face a top class long jump field and is anticipating an exciting event at the Alexander Stadium.
Rutherford said: “I love competing in Birmingham and I can’t wait for the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix. It’s a World Championships year and I’m determined to win the only major title that I’m missing from my cabinet. Everything is geared to that aim and if I can beat my main rivals in Birmingham in June it will set me up perfectly for the rest of the year.”
2008 Olympic champion Ohuruogu, who set a new British record of 49.41 as she regained the 400m world title in Moscow in 2013, will race against newly crowned European indoor bronze medallist Seren Bundy-Davies (Stephen Ball) as she looks to get her season off to a strong start.
She said: “The Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix will be really important for me to make sure I start my season well. Defending my title at the World Championships in Beijing is the main target for 2015 but I want to run well in every race, especially on home soil in front of British fans. I’m excited to pull my spikes on and get back out on the track.”
World junior champion Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie) will go head to head with European and Commonwealth silver medallist Jodie Williams (Christine Bowmaker) over 200m whilst on the men’s side world and European indoor 60m champion Richard Kilty (Linford Christie) will face European 100m champion Adam Gemili (Steve Fudge) and sub-10 second man Chijindu Ujah (Tawiah-Dodoo) in the 100m.
19 year old Asher-Smith won the world junior 100m title last year before adding her first major senior medal as she clinched European indoor 60m silver in March and is excited about making her first appearance at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix.
She said: “I’m looking forward to running at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix on June 7. This will be my first time to run an individual event at an IAAF Diamond League meeting on home soil. I expect the line-up to be truly world class but the British girls are very strong at the moment and we will do our best to get the crowd off their seats. I had a great indoor season this year over 60m and I hope to transfer this form to the 100m and 200m in the build up to the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.”
Meanwhile Gemili believes that the event will give the public a unique opportunity to see the talented group of British sprinters in action.
“There are such a great crop of young British sprinters at the moment and it’s great that we will have the platform to compete against each other in front of a British crowd at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix. I always want to run well over both 100m and 200m and this event will give me a great chance to run a quick time against what will be a world class field. Sub-10 is a big target for any sprinter but I know that if I execute my race well it will come eventually and hopefully that could happen in Birmingham.”
Martyn Rooney (Rana Reider) and Matthew Hudson-Smith (Tony Hadley), the top two from the 400m at last year’s European Championships in Zurich, will compete over the rarely run 300m distance. After a breakthrough 2014, local athlete Hudson-Smith is looking to build on a year that saw him add 4x400m relay gold at both the European and Commonwealth Games to the individual silver he won over 400m in Zurich.
He said: “I train on this track every day and it will be great to welcome the other athletes to my home city. I have competed at the Alexander Stadium many times but this will be only the second time I’ve competed in a Diamond League meeting in Birmingham. I started as a 200m runner and moved up to 400m last year so the 300m distance should be perfect for me.”
A total of 24 GB & NI internationals have today confirmed their participation at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix. A full list of British athletes confirmed as competing is below:
Adam Gemili (Steve Fudge)
Richard Kilty (Linford Christie)
Chijindu Ujah (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo)
Matthew Hudson-Smith (Tony Hadley)
Martyn Rooney (Rana Reider)
Guy Learmonth (Rob Denmark)
Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar)
Chris O’Hare (Terrence Mahon)
Lawrence Clarke (Malcolm Arnold)
Greg Rutherford (Tawiah Dodoo)
Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie)
Jodie Williams (Christine Bowmaker)
800m: Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter)
Laura Muir (Andy Young)
1500m: Laura Weightman (Steve Cram)
Jessica Judd (Gandy)
Lucy Hatton (Jerzy Maciukiewicz)
Tiffany Porter (Rana Reider)
Eilidh Child (Arnold)
Morgan Lake (Eldon Lake)
Isobel Pooley (Fuzz Ahmed)
To buy tickets to the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix visit britishathletics.org.uk. Sainsbury’s is proud to be a long-term supporter of British Athletics and a champion of inclusive sport for all, from grassroots to elite level.