Yesterday, we caught up with some of the world-class athletes competing at the Co-op Great CityGames in Deansgate this evening. For the eighth year running, the renowned street-track will welcome the British public to watch competitors up close. The world famous street-meet has previously welcomed athletes such as Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Tyson Gay.
This year’s one-to-watch in the 100m is 2016 60m IAAF World Indoor Champion, Trayvon Bromell, who will be joined on the four-lane track by Kim Collins, Chijindu Ujah and Richard Kilty.
Twenty-one year-old Trayvon Bromell spoke about watching his idols on the track growing up. “It’s always been a dream to run on a track in the middle of the street. When I first saw Bolt run here I thought, one day I want to run there. It’s really exciting.”
When asked about the temperamental Manchester conditions, the Baylor University Senior says he takes it all in his stride: “Any condition is good for me because at the end of the day we all have to run in the same weather.
With outdoor track and field, you never know what weather you will get. I will always step on the track and give 100% – even if the headwind is 4.5!
I’m about to run a race that I’ve always dreamed of running in. Even if it was to pour down with rain it’s still a great competition with great competitors!”
As the first junior athlete to ever dip below ten seconds in the 100 metres, Bromell understands how important it is to be inspired by senior athletes – especially at these types of competitions.
“I feel like it’s going to be really exciting being up close in front of a great crowd. I think that the U.S. should have a similar event – the crowd are so close and you can really interact in a way that you can’t do in a stadium. For kids who look up to these athletes it’s real cool and street racing like this should be all over the world!”
Bromell also spoke about the importance of using other American athletes as mentors. “I talk to Maurice Greene, Michael Johnson – oh and Wallace Spearmon is like my big brother! I talk to a lot of those guys and they really help me out. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to someone to ask for advice. Anyone can be a helping hand and those guys don’t mind helping me because they want to see track and field blossom just like I do.”
As an important figure in the history of junior track and field, Bromell has often been compared to Usain Bolt. When asked his opinion on this comparison, he laughed. “It’s funny because he’s tall and I’m like how can you even compare us, because I’m not. But it makes me feel good that people recognise my talent in that way and think I can be just as great as him. It’s real encouraging.”
Although he hasn’t directly asked Usain Bolt for advice, the athlete has learnt something important from the World-Record holder which he believes everyone can learn from: “He has fun with the sport and never seems to stress too much. He looks like he was born to do it and that’s the same way I look at it – I just want to have fun.”
Chijindu Ujah will be competing in the 100m against Bromell, and says he can’t wait to race at the CityGames again. “When I was younger I remember watching Usain Bolt running the 200m. I didn’t ever think I would come here myself, but now it’s my third time here which is amazing.”
The twenty-two year-old also discussed the fast progress of men’s British sprinting. “Every year we’re progressing. The more and more we progress the more likely we are to medal at the major championships.
The more we keep pushing each other, it’ll be more likely for you to see us getting medals on a world stage in individual events and not just the relay.”
On his goals for the rest of the season, the 2015 IAAF World Championship semi-finalist said, “I sat down with my coach and said there’s two key races for me: the first is trials – and making sure I’m on the plane to Rio – and the second is the semi-finals of the Olympic Games. I got to the 2015 IAAF World Championships semi-finals and if I could go one step further, who knows what could happen.”
The athlete talked about his successes in the 2015 season and emphasised how much confidence his experience has given him. “There’s no experience better than being on the line. No major championship or IAAF Diamond League gave me the same kind of experience I gained from being in the World Champs semi-final. At the age of twenty-two I feel like I’ve got a bit of experience and I just want to continue building on it every year.”
Ujah and Bromell will compete against triple Olympic-finalist Kim Collins and 2015 IAAF World Indoor 60m Champion Richard Kilty. The event is live on BBC Two from 18:00 GMT on Friday, 20 May in the Co-op Great CityGames and spectators can watch live on Deansgate in Manchester city centre for free.