British 100m record holder Dina Asher-Smith (coach: John Blackie) and European U23 110m hurdles champion David Omoregie (Benke Blomkvist) spoke to the media ahead of an exciting weekend of athletics at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games on 24-26 July at The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Asher-Smith is looking forward to returning to the Olympic Stadium for the IAAF Diamond League event where she will take on a stellar 100m field featuring the second fastest woman in the world this year, English Gardner from USA and Commonwealth champion Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor.
“The thing I’m most excited about for the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games the home crowd, quite a few of my friends are coming – not because I’m racing – they had booked tickets long before I had confirmed I was racing! The crowd genuinely care. I remember watching Adam (Gemili) at the Olympics and when his face popped up on the screen the crowd went absolutely insane. When people cheer when your name is called out, it’s really heart-warming. When you have the crowd behind you, you want to do them proud.”
Asher-Smith is ranked second in Europe after her British record 11.02 clocking in Hengelo in May, and will face Dutch athlete Dafne Schippers who is the European leader on 10.94 this year. The London-based athlete is excited about the prospect of competing on Saturday afternoon but she is concentrating solely on her own race.
“I’ve been in good shape all season but it does still come down to how you do on the day, and how you execute your race.”
The Olympic Stadium holds special memories for the Blackheath & Bromley athlete who was a kit carrier during the 2012 Olympic in London. This time she returns to compete in her own right as well as the 4x100m relay team on Friday night and she recognises how special the occasion will be.
“I was fortunate enough to be a box carrier (at the Olympics in 2012) and I did it on Super Saturday so saw Jess, Greg and Mo do absolutely amazing. It really did inspire me to see how much people want British athletes to do well.
“It’s going to be absolutely amazing to be back in the Olympic stadium and I really hope I do everybody proud. It’s not daunting at all, it’s a unique opportunity for us British athletes to utilise the atmosphere that the stadium provides. It’s not often you get to run there and I hope it will be absolutely packed. I’m hoping we get that little extra cheer as we are British and are in London. I just can’t wait.”
Omoregie, the gold medallist from The European Under 23 Championships in Talinn two weeks ago, will line-up against a world-class field including Olympic champion and world record holder Aries Merritt, the fastest man in 2015 Orlando Ortega, 2011 world champion Jason Richardson and UK number one Lawrence Clarke.
The Welshman said: “I think all of the guys I’m racing this weekend have PBs below 13.3, so it’s going to be a really fast race but I’m hoping that the occasion will push me on to a really fast time which I feel I’m capable of doing.
“There are a lot of top hurdlers in the world here – Pascal Martinot Lagarde, Orlando Ortega, Aries Merritt. So for me it’s about learning from the experience and hopefully in two years’ time I’ll be able to go to a meet like this and really be competitive and go for the top spots.”
Omoregie added: “In 2012 I was actually a multi eventer, I watched a morning session of the decathlon. It was amazing and I never thought I’d be here competing now. I’ve been so excited about this and I’m looking forward to learning from it and enjoying it a lot.”
To buy tickets to the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games 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.