Some of the biggest stars in world athletics will feature at the Birmingham Diamond League, held at the Alexander Stadium on Sunday 5 June.
With double Olympic, world and European champion Mo Farah (coach: Alberto Salazar) already competing, a further 12 British and international stars have confirmed that they will appear at the IAAF Diamond League event.
British 100m record holder Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie) will compete in the 100m and return to the Alexander Stadium for the first time since setting a new championship record on her way to claiming the British title in 2015. She set five British records in 2015 and at last year’s Birmingham Diamond League ran a superb 200m to finish third behind nine-time world champion Allyson Felix in an extremely close race.
Asher-Smith said: “I’m so excited to be running at the Birmingham Diamond League on June 5th! I had so much fun last year and it was a great opportunity to be able to race against some of the best women in the world. I expect it to be a strong field and I’m looking forward to challenging myself over the 100m.”
World 200m champion Dafne Schippers will compete at the Alexander Stadium for the very first time when she lines up against Asher-Smith in the 100m. The Dutchwoman had a breakthrough year in 2015 and will be looking to get back on track following a surprise defeat at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland last month.
Schippers said: “2016 is a very important year for me with the Olympic Games taking place in Brazil. The Birmingham Diamond League will be a good race to test myself early in the season and start the road to Rio. I’m looking forward to competing in front of another great British crowd and hopefully continuing my form from last year into this summer.”
European 200m champion Adam Gemili (Steve Fudge) will return to the scene of his first sub ten second performance to compete against over 100m again. The 22 year old finished second with a time of 9.97 in 2015 and is hoping for another good run this time round.
He said: “Last year running sub ten for the first time in front of the Birmingham crowd was an amazing experience. I’m looking forward to returning to Birmingham in June to test myself against a strong field over 100m and set myself up for such an important season.”
800m world record holder David Rudisha will step down to 600m as he prepares to defend his Olympic title in Rio de Janeiro later this year. The Kenyan won over the same distance in his last appearance in the West Midlands, clocking an impressive time of 1:13.71 two years ago.
Rudisha said: “I loved running 600 at the Birmingham Diamond League in 2014 and I’m really looking forward to doing it again on 5 June. The athletes always get amazing support at British events and running 600m is a good part of my preparations this Olympic Year. My training has been going well and I am looking forward to a good year.”
His compatriot Asbel Kiprop will make only his second appearance in Birmingham following victory in the Emsley Carr Mile in 2014. The three time world champion will be looking to regain his Olympic 1500m title in Brazil in August.
He said: “I have great memories of winning the mile at the Birmingham Diamond League in 2014 and hopefully I can run well again this year. 2016 is a huge year for me; I want to win back the Olympic title and challenge my personal best, Birmingham will be an important race for me to see how my training has been going.”
New Zealand’s Valerie Adams will be one of the main attractions in the field events. The two-time Olympic shot put champion holds the stadium record at the Alexander Stadium with 20.52m and has twice won at this event in 2012 and 2014.
European 800m champion Lynsey Sharp (Rana Reider) will be aiming for her second victory at the Birmingham Diamond League. The 25 year old has won three British titles at the Alexander Stadium and had a breakthrough performance at the 2014 Birmingham Diamond League as she defeated a world class field in a time of 1:59.14.
The Scot will go up against some of the best 800m runners in the world including newly crowned world indoor champion Francine Niyonsaba, 2013 world champion Eunice Sum, world indoor silver medallist Ajee Wilson and world indoor 1500m champion Sifan Hassan.
Sharp said: “I’m really looking forward to facing such a strong field at the Birmingham Diamond League in June. I’ve got great memories of winning in Birmingham in 2014 and hopefully I can run well again this time round. Everything is geared towards Rio and this is an important race in my build up.”
Further British interest will come from European 100m hurdles champion Tiffany Porter (Rana Reider), who claimed a third successive World Indoor medal in Portland last month in the 60m hurdles and will be another athlete hoping to get her outdoor season off to a good start at the Birmingham Diamond League.
For tickets to the Birmingham Diamond League please visit britishathletics.org.uk