Wednesday, 28 May 2014

PREVIEW: Prefontaine Classic/Eugene IAAF Diamond League – Oregon, USA

The Prefontaine Classic, the longest-running international invitational athletics meeting in the USA, celebrates its 40th birthday this weekend as the IAAF Diamond League travels to Oregon for the third leg of the summer-long season.

Taking place at the historic Hayward Field, which will also host July’s IAAF World Junior Championships, the Pre Classic - as it is affectionately known – will spread across Friday evening (30th May) and Saturday afternoon (31st May).

A plethora of world-class stars have confirmed their attendance and here is a run-down on the top names to watch out for:

Sprints - 

Jamaica’s two-time Olympic 100m champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce starts as the favourite to take the women’s 200m event.

Having captured the world indoor 60m crown in Sopot, Poland in March, the 27-year-old world outdoor 100m, 200m and 4x100m champion faces world bronze medallist, Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria.

The world championship long jump runner-up stole the honours in both events at the Shanghai Diamond League a fortnight ago and finished second behind Fraser-Pryce over 100m in the Doha leg a week earlier.

Another key name who is expected to feature is Olympic champion, Allyson Felix of the USA.

Additionally part of the Olympic-winning 4x100m and 4x400m relay squads, the three-time world 200m champion has not competed over the half-lap event distance since pulling up injured in August’s world championships final in Moscow, but should utilise the home crowd support to rediscover her form.

World 100m and 200m silver medallist, Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast and local girl, English Gardner – the 100m fourth-placer in Moscow – also contest.

In the men’s 100m, the USA’s Justin Gatlin looks the man to beat.

The 32-year-old world championship runner-up and Olympic bronze medallist currently leads the world rankings with a swift 9.87 clocking from Beijing a week ago, and following his victory in Shanghai, the American looks set to take his fifth win in Eugene.

Nesta Carter – part of Jamaica’s Olympic, world and recent IAAF World Relays 4x100m winning teams – finished second in Shanghai after claiming global outdoor bronze last summer.

Others to look out for include 2009 Pre Classic winner, Mike Rodgers of the USA, world 200m fourth-placer, Nickel Ashmead of Jamaica and France’s European indoor 60m champion, Jimmy Vicaut.

The men’s one lap contest features a thrilling head-to-head battle between world champion, LaShawn Merritt and Kirani James, the Olympic champion.

Merritt, the 27-year-old 2008 Olympic champion won in Doha and was part of the USA’s winning 4x100m squad at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas last weekend, whilst James – the 2011 world champion and at six years younger – will be hoping to halt his rival from claiming his fifth Pre Classic victory.

The 400m field also includes the USA’s global silver medallist, Tony McQuay, world indoor champion, Pavel Maslak of Poland, Chris Brown of the Bahamas and Belgium’s Jonathan and Kevin Borlee.

Hurdles – 

World 110m hurdles champion, David Oliver will be hoping to replicate his winning ways from Doha and the 32-year-old American has a fine history in Eugene, winning in both 2010 and 2013.

His closest challenge will come from world record holder and Olympic champion, Aries Merritt and a third USA athlete, Ryan Wilson – the global silver medallist.

Other notable names include 2011 world champion, Jason Richardson of the USA, Shanghai runner-up, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde of France and Russia’s world bronze medallist and Doha second-placer, Sergey Shubenkov.

Ashton Eaton, the Olympic and world decathlon champion and world record holder, is Eugene-based and is an interesting entrant in the high hurdles.
Middle distance –

Olympic 800m champion and world record holder, David Rudisha makes his hotly-anticipated return to competition following a long-term knee injury in his debut appearance in Eugene.

The 25-year-old’s comeback will be a baptism of fire as he faces three of the nine fastest men in history, the quickest of whom being Ethiopia’s Mohamed Aman.

The 20-year-old world indoor and outdoor champion took advantage of his rivals’ absence in 2013 and this will be the pair’s first meeting in a full year.

The USA’s Olympic fourth-placer, Duane Solomon and Botswana’s 20-year-old Olympic silver medallist, Nijel Amos are expected to feature highly, whilst world indoor silver and bronze medallists, Adam Kszczot of Poland and Great Britain’s Andrew Osagie also compete.

2012 world indoor victor and three-time Eugene winner, Abubaker Kaki of Sudan makes his season debut and France’s European under23 champion, Pierre Ambroise-Bosse start.

The Pre Classic’s signature event, the Bowerman Mile should be an easy affair for world 1500m champion and 2008 Olympic champion, Asbel Kipop.

The 24-year-old Kenyan has won this prestigious event on three occasions and arrives in Eugene following victory in Doha and the Bahamas (in the 4x1500m).

His fiercest challengers will be compatriot, Silas Kiplagat – the 2013 Eugene winner and world indoor 1500m champion, Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti.

The loaded field also includes Ethiopian duo, world indoor runner-up, Aman Wote and world outdoor bronze medallist, Mekonnen Gebremedhin, Kenya’s Bethwell Birgen and local man, Matthew Centrowitz.

Meanwhile, the women’s 1500m contest has been described as Eugene’s ‘best field ever’, with Sweden’s world indoor and outdoor champion, Abeba Aregawi leading the way.

Undefeated in her specialist event in 2013, the 23-year-old took the metric mile victory in Shanghai and will be challenged by Kenya’s Hellen Obiri.

The 2012 world indoor 3,000m champion and 2014 runner-up won the 3,000m event in Doha and was part of the winning 4x1500m team in the Bahamas.

World 800m bronze medallist, Brenda Martinez of the USA should figure prominently whilst her team-mate, world runner-up Jenny Simpson and Kenyan trio world 800m champion, Eunice Sum, Faith Kipyegon and 2008 Olympic champion, Nancy Langat additionally race.

Ethiopia’s 19-year-old world indoor runner-up, Axumawit Embaye and Britain’s 2011 world silver medallist, Hannah England complete the impressive line-up.

In the women’s 3,000m steeplechase, Kenya’s Milcah Chemos starts as the favourite.

The 28-year-old world champion has won twice in Eugene and will face her compatriot and global runner-up, Lidya Chepkurui and bronze medallist, Sofia Assefa from Ethiopia who placed second in Shanghai.

Shanghai third-placer and world fourth-placer, Hiwot Ayalew of Ethiopia also contests, as does Tunisia's Olympic silver medallist, Habiba Ghribi and Kenyan pair Purity Kirui and Fancy Cherotich.

Long distance –

The men’s 5,000m will see a clash between 39-year-old Bernard Lagat of Kenya and his younger rivals, namely his team-mate, Edwin Soi and Ethiopia’s Yenew Alamirew.

2007 world 1500m champion, Lagat has won five times in Eugene but never in this event and despite his advancing years, took the 3,000m silver medal in Sopot.

24-year-old Alamirew claimed the honours in Shanghai and Soi won this event in 2013, but the trio will not have the contest all the own way, with Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet – the 20-year-old world silver medallist - also contesting.

Additional names set to impress include Kenyan pair Isiah Koech, the world bronze medallist, and Caleb Ndiku – the world indoor 3,000m champion, as well as the USA’s Ben True.

Great Britain’s double Olympic and world 5,000m and 10,000m champion, Mo Farah will act as the honorary starter.

Kenya’s Mercy Cherono heads the women’s two-mile field, having placed runner-up over 3,000m in Doha.

The 23-year-old world 5,000m silver medallist will run against Bahrain’s two-time world 1500m champion Maryam Jamal – the Olympic and world indoor bronze medallist – and world bronze medallist, Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia.

Local girl, Sally Kipyego – the Olympic 10,000m runner-up – will come down in race distance, whilst other notable names include her compatriot, Viola Kibiwot and Ethiopia’s Belaynesh Oljira, the world 10,000m bronze medallist.

The men’s 10,000m will be held on the traditional ‘Distance night in Eugene’ on Friday and Galen Rupp from nearby Portland is hoping for a home victory over the 25 laps.

The 27-year-old Olympic silver medallist will take on Kenya’s world bronze medallist, Paul Tanui and his team-mate and Olympic fifth-placer, Bedan Karoki.

Two more Kenyans, Kenneth Kipkemoi and Emmanuel Bett should feature highly, as should Ethiopia’s world junior champion, Yigrem Demelash and Birhan Nebebew.

Jumps –

The USA’s Brittney Reese will be looking to reverse her bad luck in Eugene in the past with victory in the women’s long jump here, following her Olympic and world championship wins in recent seasons.

The 27-year-old opens her season in Oregon and is matched up against her team-mate, Janay DeLoach Soukup – the Olympic bronze medallist and world indoor champion, Eloyse Lesueur of France.

Others of note include Serbia’s world indoor and outdoor bronze medallist, Ivana Spanovic, Russia’s two-time European indoor champion, Darya Klishina and Great Britain’s 2012 world indoor bronze medallist, Shara Proctor.

The women’s high jump features Olympic silver medallist, Brigetta Barrett of the USA.

The 23-year-old world silver medallist opens her outdoor campaign in Eugene and will duel with Olympic champion, Anna Chicherova of Russia and her team-mate and world champion, Svetlana Shkolina.

Additional top names include joint world indoor champions, Kamila Licwinko of Poland and Russia’s Mariya Kuchina, plus Spain’s world indoor bronze medallist, Ruth Beitia.

World pole vault record holder, Renuad Lavillenie will be looking to add to his victory in Shanghai and the Olympic champion will attempt to win the Diamond League Trophy for the fifth consecutive year this summer.

The 27-year-old will jump against world champion and Olympic bronze medallist, Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany and his compatriot, Malte Mohr – the world indoor runner-up.

Greece’s Konstadinos Filippidis succeeded Lavillenie as the world indoor champion in Sopot and will be joined by the bronze medallist, Jan Kudlicka of the Czech Republic.

Throws – 

The USA’s world indoor champion, Ryan Whiting goes up against Germany’s two-time world champion, David Storl in the men’s shot put contest.

The 27-year-old Whiting placed third in Shanghai following his world indoor victory, whilst his 23-year-old rival claimed the world outdoor crown in Moscow.

Keen to upset expectations is Poland’s two-time Olympic champion, Tomasz Majewski and the USA’s Reese Hoffa – the 2007 world champion in this battle of the big men.

*At the time of writing, the entry lists for the women’s discus, men’s triple jump, women’s 400m hurdles, women’s 400m and men’s javelin were unavailable.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

PREVIEW: IAAF World Relays – Nassau, The Bahamas

The inaugural IAAF World Relays will take place in The Bahamas this weekend, as teams from more than forty nations comprising in excess of 500 athletes immerse on Nassau for the innovative two-day event.

With an impressive prize purse of $1.4 million on offer, sprinters and middle-distance runners alike are set to contest the 10-event programme in the Bahamian capital on Saturday and Sunday.

Athletics powerhouses USA, Jamaica, Kenya and Russia are set to compete with strong squads in a timetable featuring the men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m and 4x1500m.

The top eight teams in the 4x100m and 4x400m, meanwhile, will automatically qualify for the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

In the men’s events, several star performers will be in action including world 100m champion, Yohan Blake named in Jamaica’s 4x100m team, global 400m victor, LaShawn Merritt in the 4x400m for the USA and Kenya’s world 1500m champion, Asbel Kiprop who contests the rarely-run 4x1500m.


With the past five major championship titles and the current world record (36.84) to their name, Jamaica are evidently a supreme dominant force to be reckoned with, and in addition to Blake ‘The Beast’, they include Kemar Bailey-Cole, Nesta Carter and Michael Frater on their team.

Their fierce rivals, the USA, should provide stiff competition and the Americans have Mike Rodgers, Trell Kimmons and Marvin Bracy in their corner.

The British team have admitted to having not practised much recently but will be looking to seek redemption for losing their global bronze medal through disqualification in Moscow last summer.

With world indoor 60m champion, Richard Kilty at the helm, the Great Britain outfit will also be leaning on Dwain Chambers and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey.
France, meanwhile, will rely on the swift assistance from European 100m champion, Christophe Lemaitre and European indoor 60m victor, Jimmy Vicaut.


Jamaica again, are heavy favourites with world 200m silver medallist, Warren Weir and team-mate, Nickel Ashmeade but the USA – who will utilise Wallace Spearman and Walter Dix – will provide a solid challenge.

Also in the hunt are strong teams from France (again with Lemaitre), Nigeria and hosts Bahamas.


The USA quartet have a commendable strength in depth which has seen them dominant at major championships in recent years but the Bahamian team – winners of the 2012 Olympic title in London – will undoubtedly be keen to reassert their authority on home ground.

Led by world indoor 400m runner-up, Chris Brown, the Bahamas will feature their complete Olympic-winning team with Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller also in action.

The Americans have world 400m and 4x400m champion, LaShawn Merritt for support and an interesting entrant comes in the shape of Olympic triple jump champion, Christian Taylor who set a promising 45.17 personal best in Florida last month.

Jamaica are expected to be in the mix, whilst European champions, Belgium have the three Borelee brothers – Kevin, Jonathan and Dylan on their roster.


Three teams stand out in this event with Kenya leading the way.
Represented by Alfred Kipketer, Job Kinyor and James Magut, the Kenyans will face a strong US squad, who boast David Torrence and Duane Solomon.

Poland, meanwhile, will make use of world indoor 800m runner-up, Adam Kszczot and 2010 European 800m champion, Marcin Lewandowski.


Kenya again have the edge and they can boast having Kiprop, the fastest metric miler in the world in 2013 with 3:27.72, in their quest for glory.

The Kenyan outfit have already stated their intentions on claiming the world record – which, incidentally, belongs to them at 14:36.23.

Mugut, Nixon Chepseba and Silas Kiplagat will join forces with Kiprop for the favourites.

Ethiopia have access to world indoor medallists, Aman Wote and Mekonnen Gebremedhin, whilst the USA – with Olympic silver medallist, Leonel Manzano and Ryan Gregson – and Poland, with Kczszot and Lewandowski should also feature prominently.

In the women’s events, the stand-out performers include world and Olympic 100m champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in Jamaica’s 4x100m and 4x200m quartets, Nigeria’s world 200m bronze medallist, Blessing Okagbare in the 4x100m and 4x200m and Hellen Obiri, the world indoor 3,000m champion in Kenya’s 4x1500m team.


In addition to Fraser-Pryce’s glittering individual athletic CV, ‘The Pocket Rocket’ was also the anchor leg runner of Jamaica’s world title-winning team in Moscow and helped them to Olympic silver in 2012.

The Caribbean island’s squad features all four members from the Russian capital, with Carrie Russell, Kerron Stewart and Schillonie Calvert combining, but the USA will provide a stiff challenge.

The Olympic champions with a 40.82 world record will be without their star performers but can still rely on Alexandria Anderson, Tianna Bartoletta, LaKeisha Lawson and
Babara Pierre.

World bronze medallists, Great Britain and Northern Ireland bring in Asha Philip, Jodie Williams, Hayley Jones and Desiree Henry, whilst France and Nigeria are also expected to finish high up.


Again, Jamaica and the USA are the dominant force with the Jamaicans registering the same athletes from the 4x100m to their roster, and the US team supplying a completely fresh foursome headed by Bianca Knight, Shalonda Solomon and Kimberlyn Duncan.

Great Britain, Nigeria and Trinidad and Tobago have all entered identical teams to their 4x100m squads, and as with the previous days’ shorter sprint relay, Fraser-Pryce and Okagbare should provide the class of the race.


The Americans will face off with the Russians and Jamaicans, and former world and Olympic 400m champion, Sanya Richards-Ross is an eye-catching member of the US outfit, having raced sparingly since the 2012 Olympic final due to health issues.

World champions, Russia pose a strong threat and Jamaica will take advantage of world indoor 400m runner-up, Kaliese Spencer and Novlene Williams-Mills.

The British team, meanwhile, can boast having world champion, Christine Ohuruogu in addition to Eilidh Child and Shana Cox.


Kenya start as favourites, aided by the likes of world champion, Eunice Sum and 2007 global victor, Janeth Jepkosgei.

Russia enters a similar team to their 4x400m squad and the USA are supported by world indoor champion, Chanelle Price, world bronze medallist, Brenda Martinez, world junior champion Ajee Wilson and Morgan Uceny.


Kenya will be considered the strong favourites following their 17:05.72 world record recently and will be headed by recent African 3,000m record holder, Hellen Obiri.

Together with Mercy Cherono and Irene Jelegat, the Kenyans are the firm top contenders and will be chased by Bahrain and the USA – the latter utilising Martinez and
Uceny once again.

PREVIEW: Bupa Westminster Mile and London 10,000

Some of Britain’s finest middle and long distance runners and wheelchair athletes will gather in the capital this weekend, as London welcomes the Bupa Westminster Mile and London 10,000.

The iconic mile distance will be celebrated by marking the 60th anniversary of the first sub-four-minute mile on Saturday, as Sir Roger Bannister’s milestone 3:59.4 on a track in Oxford on May 6th, 1954 is commemorated.

In the world’s biggest one-day festival of road mile racing with 31 races in total looping around St James’ Park, a sub-four clocking in the men’s elite race would offer a fitting tribute to Bannister’s historic achievement.

The programme, organised by the Virgin Money London Marathon, includes the British Athletics One-Mile Road Championships for senior, junior and wheelchair athletes.
Bannister himself will be patron of the event and the winner of the senior men’s race will be awarded the newly-commissioned Sir Roger Bannister trophy.

The senior women, meanwhile, will compete for the Diane Leather trophy, named after the first woman to run a sub-five-minute mile, also 60 years ago.
Leather, now Diane Charles, ran 4:59.6 in Birmingham just three weeks after Bannister’s famous feat.

Six-time London Marathon champion, David Weir will aim to become the first wheelchair racer in history to break three minutes for the mile.

The four-time gold medallist from the London 2012 Olympic Games said:

“It’s a huge challenge but I think, given the right conditions, a sub-three-minute mile is possible.

“My PB for the mile on the track is 3:16 so I need a big improvement on that. But racing on the open road rather than having to contend with the tight bends of the track will be a big help.”

Double Olympic and World 5,000m and 10,000m champion, Mo Farah has withdrawn from Sunday’s Bupa London 10,000m due to having not sufficiently recovered from his marathon debut in London last month, but will be on hand to officially start the race.

The star of British Athletics will also inspire future generations of the sport by running alongside the under 11 and under 13 boys in the London Borough Challenge races on Saturday.

He will additionally start the senior men’s and women’s mile races as Britain’s best tackle the route which starts on The Mall and finishes in front of Buckingham Palace.

2008 Olympic 1500m finalist, Andy Baddeley heads the elite men’s field and will be joined by 2013 World Championship 1500m finalist, Chris O’Hare and 2011 European under 23 1500m silver medallist, James Shane.

The women’s mile offers a strong line-up lead by Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m eighth-placer, Julia Bleasdale and World Championship 1500m finalist, Lisa Dobriskey.

Former UK 1500m champion, Charlene Thomas also contests, as does 2011 European 3,000m champion, Helen Clitheroe.

Other notable names include European junior 3,000m champion, Emelia Gorecka who is enjoying her first season as a senior athlete, Beth Potter, Lily Partridge and Katie Brough.

2012 London Marathon winner, Shelley Woods is the top entrant in the women’s wheelchair race.

On Sunday, British 10,000m track champion, Andy Vernon will face Chris Thompson who was the second British finisher in the Virgin Money London Marathon in April.

European cross-country silver medallist, Gemma Steele leads the women's entrants, with GB marathoner, Louise Damen and Tasha Doel also due to compete.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Post-race quotes from Bekele, Kipsang, Dibaba and Steel - Bupa Great Manchester Run

Kenenisa Bekele (ETH), the two-time Olympic 10,000m and four-time world 10,000m champion - 1st in 28:23 - 

"It was good, it was a little bit windy but I stayed behind them to control the race and it was good with my good sprint at the end.

"I really am quite good (after his Paris marathon) - I'm healthy so it's nice.

"I'm better but I still need to improve my speed so I'll do some speed-work and I think I have enough time to prepare myself.

"If I'm invited, I'm willing to run here again and it was great to run past the Manchester United football ground, and there are amazing supporters here.

"I really want to try the 10,000m one more time and after that, I will fully go back to the marathon.

"Maybe I will (run the marathon against Kipsang), it depends on the organisation - if someone invites me, I'm willing to run - we have competed together many times.

"We will make a plan on where to run soon - I will go back to Ethiopia after this and I do not want too much travelling, I need to prepare myself."

Wilson Kipsang (KEN), the world marathon record holder and Olympic marathon bronze medallist - 2nd in 28:28 - 

"I'm not back in full training yet - after the (London) marathon (which he won in a course record), I took a rest for one and a half weeks and I was travelling a lot so it's just been the two weeks training for here.

"It was still good for me - I knew he (Bekele) was very strong in the 10km but I prepared very well and I was feeling it in the last sprint, I could not keep up.

"Now I will prepare for the one half marathon (in the Czech Republic next month) and my next marathon in the autumn will be confirmed soon.

"When we (with Bekele) shall meet in the marathon, it shall be a nice time for me - I have a lot of experience in the marathon.

"You have a long way to try to apply the tactics so it will be nice to face him."

Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH), the two-time Olympic 10,000m and three-time world 10,000m champion - 1st in 31:09 - 

"It was a very good run, it was a bit windy and I wanted a better time than this but otherwise, it was good."

"I believe I have recovered (from her third-place finish in last month's London Marathon) - I was ready for this race.

"I didn't expect it to be fast as it was a bit windy.

"I haven't decided where I'm running next but we're working on it with my manager."

Gemma Steele (GBR), the European cross country silver medallist - 2nd in 32:10 - 

"I got a great buzz from it, it was electric coming down the home straight.

"I thought 'I'm not going to let this one go' - I was like a little jack russell when I got the bit between my teeth, that's the way I do it, I just grind it out.

"I tagged onto the other two at the front then made a break away for myself, I didn't want to underestimate myself again.

"I was disappointed with (finishing fourth) last year so I didn't want that to happen today again so it was nice to make progress and get the tactics right on the day, which is important.

"My coach (John Nutall) is in Qatar and he told me to stay with the pack today so I went against that but I'm glad I went with my gut instinct and didn't leave anything out there.

"My calf's fine now and I've switched to Nike now and their shoes are doing me the world of good.

"I showed I still have some speed but the track's not the priority - I love road running and I might do the New York mini 10km or the European Cup 10,000m next, and it's also the Bupa London 10km next week so I need to have a word with my agent and coach.

"It'll be nice to run a fast half marathon before I go to marathons. I might do the Dublin half marathon in August.

"I'm just trying to get my confidence back after the injury - I missed racing so much, I'm just happy to be back and anything's a bonus really. I'm really proud and pleased about today."

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Brits Enjoy City Games Dominance in Manchester


17 May 2014

Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes captured no less than six victories at the sun-drenched BT Great City Games Manchester this afternoon, as the annual street athletics festival enjoyed its’ sixth appearance in the north-west of England.

Taking place on a purpose built track on Deansgate and around Albert Square with fans spectating at close proximity, Tiffany Porter (Rana Reider) led the British challenge with a dominant 100m hurdles win and 12.65 meeting record.

The 26-year-old world indoor and outdoor bronze medallist took the scalp of the USA’s Olympic bronze medallist, Kellie Wells (12.83) and said afterwards:

“I’m really excited with how things are progressing, it’s great to get my first win here and it’s really special to do it against such quality competition.

“If I’m fit and healthy, I’m going to go for both titles (at the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships) this year.”

Serita Solomon (Lloyd Cowan) finished in third place with a 13.28 personal best clocking.

Olympic long jump champion, Greg Rutherford (Jonas Tawiah Dodoo) continued his fine form in taking victory with an 8.02m leap.

The 27-year-old, who will compete at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix in mid-July, said:

“It was an interesting day today – I wasn’t jumping technically well but to come out and win is always nice in a fun event like this.

“There’s a bit more to come – I got more nervous today than in a really long time, but managed to control it.

“I just needed to rise to the occasion and it was good to go over eight meters – it’s a good place to be after two weeks of being ill.

“It’s just about being consistent and ultimately, I hope to be jumping really far in time for the two major championships.”

Britain’s Olympic finalist and 2008 world indoor runner-up, Chris Tomlinson (Frank Attoh) finished third with 7.77m, as Matthew Burton (John Herbert) and Jermaine Olasan (Tawiah Dodoo) placed fifth and sixth with a 7.58m season’s best and 7.29m, respectively.

In a domestic men’s 110m hurdles, Lawrence Clarke (Malcolm Arnold) led the battle of the Brits against 2011 world bronze medallist, Andy Turner (Lloyd Cowan), who continues his return from long-term injury.

The 24-year-old clocked a 13.51 season’s best, whilst Turner – nine years his elder – registered 13.55.

Clarke, the Olympic fourth placer in London 2012, said afterwards:

“I had to push as hard as I could with Andy alongside me.

“The track’s seriously quick and it’s a bizarre but an amazing experience, with the crowd watching you warm up and being right there.

“It was a real fight to the line but I’m glad I got the Commonwealth selection time, it’s a big weight off my shoulders and now I’m looking forward to Loughborough tomorrow.

“I want to make the final of the European’s and the Commonwealth’s – I was third in the 2010 Commonwealth’s and I want to get a medal again.”

Meanwhile, in third, David King (James Hillier) set a 13.85 personal best and Alex Al-Ameen (Reider) ran 14.16 for fourth position.

Meghan Beesley (Nick Dakin) enjoyed a promising start to her summer campaign with an impressive 200m hurdles win in a 25.05 world best to boot, in the rarely-run event.

The 24-year-old world outdoor semi-finalist pushed her team-mate, European indoor 400m silver medallist, Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold) into the runner-up spot with Child – who heads to both the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas next weekend and Glasgow - clocking a 25.84 personal best.

The British duo took the scalps of the Czech Republic’s European outdoor runner-up, Denisa Rosolova (25.86) and the USA’s world silver medallist, Dalilah Muhammed (25.90), respectively.

A delighted Beesley said:

“I can’t believe it really, I’ve never done it before and it’s all a bit of a blur but it’s exciting.

“It’s good to beat her (Child) – I’ve wanted to for so long, and it’s amazing to so early in the season and now hopefully I can beat her over the 400m hurdles this season.

“My aims are both the champs so I just need to get my rhythm right – to beat three of the world finalists at this time of the year, hopefully I can build on this now to do well in both the major champs.”

Shana Cox (George Williams) took a surprise victory over world 400m champion, Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan) in the women’s 200m
Clocking 23.28 ahead of Ohuruogu’s 24.06, Cox halted the latter’s hopes for a successful 30th birthday track celebration.

Ohurogu has not competed since anchoring the British squad to the world indoor 4x400m relay bronze medal in Sopot in March, and will compete in both the Bahamas and in
Glasgow this summer.

She said:

“I wasn’t really expecting much from this race, I was just here to support this nice showpiece of an event, which is really important to get the supporters behind us.

“Training’s been a bit downhill but it’s nice to be here on a lovely day.

“It’s really nice to be here on my birthday and it was ten years ago when I broke my breakthrough in the (2004 Olympic) trials in Manchester so it’s great to be back here.”

Turner, meanwhile, returned to the track to contest his favourite event, the 200m hurdles and claimed his fourth victory in five appearances in the discipline in Manchester.

Registering 22.58 from the Dominican Republic’s Olympic 400m hurdles champion, Felix Sanchez (22.61), Turner is also the meeting record holder with 22.10 and said:

“I’m just so happy to be back after such a terrible year so I’m blessed to be here in one piece, doing what I love to do – I’m really thankful and don’t take anything for granted anymore.

“I partially ruptured my Achilles here last year but there’s no problems with it anymore – it’s so nice to be pain-free and I’m just happy to be here.

“I’m just taking each week at a time, I’d love to go to both of the champs again – I feel I’m in better shape than I’m showing so hopefully I’ll improve and get selected.”

Sebastian Rodger (James Hillier) finished third in a 22.95 personal best.

Twenty-year-old European junior 100m champion, Chijindu Ujah (Tawiah Dodoo) sped to a huge 10.14 100m personal best and pushed world indoor 60m champion, Richard Kilty (Reider) into third position (10.19), as Qatar’s world inoor 60m bronze medallist, Femi Ogunode took the win in 10.10.

Ujah said afterwards:

“I’m not surprised – indoors, I didn’t put together some good 60’s and got injured before the trials.

“I knew 10.1 was in my legs and I’m just looking to go on and improve.

“It feels to beat him (Kilty) out here. My main aims are the Commonwealth’s and the European’s and I hope to qualify for them soon.”
Whilst Kilty, who will compete in both the Bahamas and in Glasgow, was philosophical in his defeat:

“As soon as I came out of the blocks, my legs were heavy.

“It’s all about enjoying myself as I knew I wouldn’t be fresh (after travelling over from the USA) – I had to drink four double shot expresso’s just to wake myself up and I only got three hours’ sleep so it’s not ideal but I had the best reception, coming here as a world champion – I owed it to the crowd, it was a perfect homecoming race for me.

“I feel if I had come out here a couple of days earlier, I could have won but I have the target on my back and it was a shame I couldn’t perform but I got beaten if every indoor race before the race that mattered (the world indoor final).

“I’m back (Florida) tomorrow but I thought it was my duty to come to race in the north of England. Mid-season, you’ll see my true form come out.”

In the final event of the afternoon, the event’s star attraction, Jamaica’s Olympic 100m and 200m silver medallist, Yohan Blake took the men’s 150m in a swift 14.71.

The Olympic relay champion and 2011 world 100m victor – who will return to British shores with an appearance in Glasgow - was content with his day’s work:

“I feel I’m in great shape but I didn’t have a good warm up today – we had nowhere to warm up but I’m injury-free and happy.

“It was a phenomenal day and a really good run from me today, a little bit embarrassing but I’m good.

“I’m going to enjoy the summer and execute – it’s good to have a Commonwealth medal and would be good to race Usain (Bolt, Jamaica’s triple Olympic and world sprint champion and world record holder) so we’ll see.”

2004 Olympic 4x100m champion, Mark Lewis-Francis (Andy Paul) placed fourth in 15.22.

In the women’s pole vault, Sally Peake (Scott Simpson) finished third with a 4.25m clearance, whilst Katie Byres (Kate Dennison) placed fourth with a 4.10m season’s

And in the IPC sprint races, Michael Poulton (Ryan Freckleton) finished fourth in the men’s T44 100m, as Laura Sugar (Femi Akinsanya) and Sophie Kamlish (Robert Ellchuk) finished second and third in the women’s T44 100m in a 14.04 season’s best and 14.31, respectively.


Friday, 16 May 2014

Blake, Rutherford, Kilty and Porter quotes - pre-event interviews, Manchester


Ahead of tomorrow's BT Great City Games Manchester, four of the world's greatest athletes spoke in pre-event interviews. Here is what Yohan Blake, Gre Rutherford, Richard Kilty and Tiffany Porter had to say:

Yohan Blake (JAM) – World 100m champion and Olympic 100m and 200m silver medallist -

This is your first return to the UK since London 2012 - what shape do you feel you’re in and what are your hopes in terms of times for the upcoming Diamond League season?

“I’ve wanted run here (in Manchester) since high school, seeing Usain (Bolt) and Tyson (Gay) running here before.

“I can’t wait to get on to the track in this street race – I love over-distance and I want to just go out there and have some fun.

“I feel good, anything is possible and if the weather’s good anything can happen.

“We do a lot of 150m’s in training – it will be interesting running it in a straight. It’s only an extra 50m so it will be good.”

“For the Diamond League season, I just want to run fast and win.”

There are some British sprinters coming through the ranks such as Gemili, Kilty and Dasaolu, what do you make of the talent coming through in this country?

“I like the way British sprinting is developing – (Adam) Gemili and (James) Dasaolu ran well last year and it’s taking off again with (Richard) Kilty – I can’t relax against them anymore.

“When Delano (Williams) came to the Racers Track Club, I took him under my wing and this summer, I think he will surprise the British people.

“We’re training really well, according to plan.”

Tell us about your hopes for the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas next weekend?

“I’ve ran some pretty good legs for Jamaica and the 4x200m will be really interesting and we’re ready. We haven’t done any training – we just use our natural talent.”

You are set to compete in London for the Anniversary Games in July – are you looking forward to returning to London to compete?

“I love running in London, it’s really nice and the support is amazing.

“Last year, I was dying to come back to run in London at the Anniversary Games so I’m excited to finally come back and give the fans what they want by running fast.”

Explain your love of cricket and whether you are still able to play the game around your training?

“I’m serious about cricket, it’s my first love over athletics. I was in a tough situation – my mom was poor when I was growing up and so I used my talent to make a career and to provide for my family.

“I play every Sunday but I have to stop now for the serious part of the track season.”

Greg Rutherford (GBR) – Olympic long jump champion

You had your injury problems last year, so to bounce back and jump so well this year, how much confidence has that given you?

“You never know when you’re going to get injured next and it’s part and parcel of being an athlete – I just always hope they don’t pop up at the worst time like they did last year.

“I’m feeling good within my body and in the training I’m doing – I spent most of last year travelling the world, trying to find that perfect combination and then rediscovered what I had in London (2012 Olympics) with my fantastic, young coach Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo that’s excited by the sport and is learning with me – that’s what I need at this stage of my career, it’s a great partnership and hopefully, I’ll have a great year and steer clear of injury.

“I took for granted just being able to go home – I travel for hour to get to training and live in such a beautiful setting to help me completely switch off with my dogs, which helps me to just be me. Joining Jonas almost seemed too easy, going back to my old training ground but it really works.

“I’ve always said I could jump far as I’ve had the fundamentals since day one.

“I never set a distance on my ability and I hope to become regular around the 8.40m’s and 8,50m’s – your body comes to remember how jumping those distances feels.

“It didn’t feel particularly nice, I was in quite a lot of pain afterwards from pushing my body to somewhere it’s never been before but I hope to feel like that again many more times.

“I certainly hope to upgrade my Commonwealth silver to gold and to win again at the European’s two weeks later.

“Lynn Davies was the first to hold the Olympic, Commonwealth and European titles and I hope to achieve that as well this summer.”

How do you feel you have developed since joining Jonas’ training group?

“He was my old coach, Dan Pfaff’s assistant and has a good understanding of jumping, we’re surrounded by lots of kids who are incredibly fast and who are aiming to become top British sprinters so I have to work hard to keep up with them. Dan still has an involvement in my life, which is great as well.”

You’ve also announced that you are expecting a baby - how do you feel knowing you’re going to be a dad and how do you envisage that changing your training competition dynamics?

“It’s pure excitement – I can’t wait for the baby to be here in October, everything that comes with you just get on with and it hasn’t changed my focus – it focuses me more as ultimately, I’ll need to provide for another mouth in a couple of months’ time, I’ll need to make sure I’m jumping well.

“I’ll stay training at home in Milton Keynes from when the baby’s born until Christmas so I’ll be around for them for a good ten weeks or so.

“I’ve tried not to go too crazy but have bought loads of baby bibs and grows etc. We might do something fun with baby grows on the Gravity range.”

“For the Gravity company, the annex on my house has been turned into a glorified garage, filled with Gravity stuff and obviously I don’t want to stress about it all too much with my training so I’ve got a couple of guys, Suzi – my girlfriend being one of them helping out.

“I have to test the market and the waters – I couldn’t invest everything I have in something that could fail but it’s turning into a good start-up business and hopefully, it will continue to be popular. I like the idea of having other avenues to put my energy into.”

“With so much going on in my life right now, it’s good that I can switch off from competing. A lot has happened – it’s all been really exciting and has been things that I’ve wanted to happen in my life and fills me with confidence and joy.”

Richard Kilty (GBR) – World indoor 60m champion

You’re going to face Adam Gemili, Kim Collins and Yohan Blake in Glasgow in the Diamond League in July. After your heroics in Poland, are winning races like these in your sights?

“Glasgow will be a great opportunity to race the likes of Yohan again, and Adam and Kim – it’s going to be great.

“Those meetings will never be an easy race so hopefully they’ll drag me to a fast time to become one of the best sprinters in the world.

“I love competing in the City Games races, especially the one in Gateshead at the end of the season but my coach and I have proven that we work at peaking at the major championships and the Commonwealth’s and European’s are the big picture.

“People are putting pressure on me to break ten seconds so hopefully I can do that at the big meetings.”

How much has life changed for you, if at all since winning the World Indoor Championships?

“This time last year, I wasn’t sponsored, had to buy my own kit and pay my own way to get to competitions.

“Now all the Diamond Leagues want me and I’m pretty high demand at the moment, so it’s a dream come true – it’s all I ever wanted since I was a kid and now it’s a reality, it’s a bit of a culture shock but I’m accepting it.

“It’s been pretty difficult – my mind’s been all over the place with being worried of the pressure people are putting on me – before the was no expectation and I had the hunger to succeed behind me.

“Mentally it’s been tough but I’ve accepted it and I thrive on it.

“Hopefully I can feed off the energy and live up to the mantle of being a world champion by continuing forward this season.”

British sprinting is fast becoming one of the major forces on the international stage, how does it feel to be a part of that progression?

“The fact that we’ve got James (Dasaolu), Adam (Gemili), James (Ellington), Harry (Aikines-Aryeetey) and Dwain (Chambers), the talent is absolutely unbelievable so to even make a team is a challenge.

“We’ve got seven or eight athletes who would be regularly on the British team but since 2013, British sprinting’s exploded. You always have to be on top of your game and the British championships will be very tough.

“I’ve always studied the sport and researched what could go wrong at championships like with Asafa Powell, for some reason it comes naturally to me to perform when it matters.”

Tell us how your winter training went and how your spring training has been?

“The winter didn’t go as well as I’d planned – rather than hard training, it was about improving my technique and my mentality, not actually training as hard as in the past.

“I only started training in December and hooked up with my new coach in January – I had a month out in South Africa and I learned and improved so much in the two months before the indoor season.

“I’ve just spent seven weeks out in America, which was great – I’ve missed a bit of training due to the long indoor season but things are going very well.”

Explain what your training group is like in Loughborough under Rana Reider?

“We’ve got a great group with Tiffany (Porter), Christian (Taylor), Shara (Proctor) – some great athletes and we all learn and rub off on each other.

“I wasn’t professional in the past but they all train good, live good, eat good – being surrounded by those guys is positive and makes me a better athlete.”

What are your aims for tomorrow’s race in Manchester?

“Tomorrow – rather than saying I’m going to run a massive PB and run away from the field – is about showing the crowd what we’ve about, having an enthusiastic race.

“It’s only my second race of the season – I’d love to win but it’s more about enjoying myself and seeing what shape I’m in – it’s like a homecoming for me after Sopot.”

Tell us about your relay training with the British team and your hopes for the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas next weekend?

“We’ve been working on the relay but haven’t had the best of luck getting into competitions and had a makeshift team out in the US, but we’ll bring Dwain in for the IAAF World Relays and we’re aiming for nothing less than the bronze.

“We can’t have any more failures after Moscow, we just need to get the baton round.

“Myself, Danny (Talbot), Harry (Aikines-Areeytee) and James Ellington were out in Dayton, Florida –we’re all committed to the relay programme and train for it twice a week – we have confidence and should be safe – we’ll come together to deliver and qualify for the (2015 Beijing) World Championships.

“We the flat speed we all have, no other teams apart from Jamaica should get close to us.”

Will you be focusing on the 100m this season?

“All the Diamond Leagues want me in the 100m so I’ll focus on that distance for the major champs this summer. I missed a lot of speed endurance recently but my coach and I know it will come.

“I’d love to run fast in the 200m this year. I’m still learning the 100m but naturally, I’ll be better over the shorter sprint.”

Tiffany Porter (GBR) – World indoor and outdoor 100m hurdles bronze medallist

There are interesting battles in the hurdles developing with the likes of yourself, Brianna Rollins, Sally Pearson to name a few - what do you feel you need to ensure that you finish top of the pile at major championships?

“It’s just a matter of continuing to develop as an athlete and trusting in my training and abilities.

“I’m very confident that the day (of beating them) will come if I juts hone my technique and stay in my lane. There’s so many different things hurdles can perfect all of the time.

You’re a part of a large group mentored by Rana Reider - what impact do you feel he has had on British sprinting since coming into the role?

“Rana’s a really good coach and is world-renowned. I made the decision to join his coach in 2013 and have won two world bronze medals so it’s working well and I’m really excited to see what the future holds for us working together.

“We all get on really well and spur each other on. We’re all in different disciplines but come together in one common goal, I really like training with my training partners.

Tell us what your aspirations for the summer are?

“I go into every competition looking to win so that won’t be any different tomorrow. There’s a couple of technical changes we’ve been working on and I want to win both the Commonwealth’s and European’s, and I definitely want a PB this year.”

Will you spend much of the summer back home in the USA, and explain what it’s like to be married to a fellow world-class athlete?

“I’ll be based in Loughborough from the trials (in Birmingham in late June) until September but until then, I’ll be going back and forth.”

“Since we (with husband, Jeff Porter) both spend so much time in athletics, we try not to talk track at home. We definitely have a good partnership.”

Wilson Kipsang and Kenenisa Bekele pre-race quotes, Manchester

Ahead of Sunday's Bupa Great Manchester Run, two of the world's finest marathon runners spoke at a pre-event interview. Here is what they had to say:

Wilson Kipsang (KEN) – marathon world record holder

In reflection, how do you remember your recent London Marathon victory?

“London was very nice for me – it was fantastic for me to win and in a course record, it was a really great race. The plan was to run at world record pace as I knew I would be very strong – I prepared very well and felt very good from the start, I controlled the race the whole way.”

What is your plan for tomorrow’s big head-to-head clash with Bekele?

“I don’t really have a race plan – for me, I need to be ready for anything as he may be planning to do something so I have to be ready from the start.”

Do you have a race schedule planned for the summer yet?

“I have one half marathon next month and then I will prepare for the next marathon, which is not confirmed yet.”

You are known for your strong faith in God – do you feel this benefits your racing?

“I am a God-fearing guy, I really believe in God and I believe my faith has really contributed to my success and my way of living.”

Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) – two-time Olympic and four-time world 10,000m champion

Do you feel you have recovered well since your victory in your debut marathon in Paris last month?

“This is a short time since the marathon but this race is only 10km and I have prepared despite the short recovery, it is very tough to recover but we will see what happens on Sunday.”

It’s a real clash of the titans with yourself and Kipsang on Sunday, what are your aspirations?

“Winning is very important, I’m not focused on the time. If I can control the race, maybe a good time – that is my plan. Manchester is a great place, I’m very happy to run here.”

Has multiple Manchester 10km winner (and two-time Olympic and four-time world 10,000m champion), Haile Gebrselassie given you any advice on the course?

“I have only met Haile once since the Bupa Great North Run (in Newcastle last September) – we are both busy with training and with our businesses.”

What are your racing plans for the summer and will you go back to racing on the track?

“There is no (race) programme yet but depending on my training, I would like to go back to the track.”

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

PREVIEW: Bupa Great Manchester Run

Europe’s biggest 10km road race will arrive in Manchester city centre on Sunday morning, and both the men’s and women’s elite fields are set to feature a plethora of world-class stars.

Following the BT Great CityGames held on Deansgate the previous day, the Bupa Great Manchester Run will witness a mouth-watering clash of two male marathon titans as well as a predicted demonstration event from the most accomplished female distance runner in the world.

In a thrilling head-to-head battle, the men’s race will focus between Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele and Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang, whilst the women’s event sees Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba compete against many of Europe’s finest.

Bekele, the winner of the Paris marathon last month and the 10,000m world record holder and four-time world champion on the track, makes his debut in Manchester, and the three-time Olympic champion will have his work cut out against Kipsang.

The marathon world record holder and winner of the Virgin Money London Marathon last month, Kipsang too has never raced in Manchester before and the Olympic marathon bronze medallist appears evenly-matched in this mouth-watering duel.

Other names to watch out for include Stephen Mokoka, the 2012 Great South Run winner from South Africa and Spain’s Ayad Lambassem, the 2011 European cross country runner-up.

Morpeth Harriers’ Nick McCormick is expected to lead the British entrants alongside Fife AC’s Andrew Lemoncello.

Meanwhile in the women’s race, three-time Olympic champion, Dibaba should enjoy a comfortable run-out.

The five-time world champion took victory in 2013 and arrives following a third-place finish in her 26.2-mile debut in the Virgin Money London Marathon.

In a fiercely-competitive field, Charnwood AC’s Gemma Steel looks set to offer the closest challenge, with the 2012 world half marathon seventh-placer joined by French duo, Christelle Daunay and Sophie Duarte.

World 10,000m finalist, Daunay finished third in the 2013 event, whilst Duarte will be aiming to replicate the form which saw her claim the European cross country title over Steele back in December.

Additional names likely to impress are topped by world marathon silver medallist, Valeria Straneo of Italy, world fifth-placer, Alessandra Aguilar of Spain, Kenya’s 2013 Great South Run winner, Polline Wanjiku of Kenya and Portugal’s Ana Dulce Felix, the 2012 European 10,000m champion.

Preston’s Helen Clitheroe – the 2011 winner and European indoor 3,000m champion in the same year – clocked a 15:31.76 British V40 best in California a fortnight ago and she is joined by fellow Brits – and marathon runners - Alyson Dixon and Susan Partridge.

Full coverage of the event will be broadcast on BBC Two from 10am on Sunday.

PREVIEW: BT Great City Games Manchester

The annual festival of city athletics returns to the streets of Manchester this weekend, as the BT Great City Games overtakes the city centre for an afternoon of exhilarating athletics action.

Kick-starting the weekend-long programme of sport which culminates with the Bupa Great Manchester Run taking centre stage on Sunday morning - will be Saturday’s BT Great City Games, which will celebrate its sixth year in the north-west.

Taking place on a purpose built track on Deansgate and around Albert Square, many of the world’s finest track and field athletes will gather to compete in the unique urban environment, as spectators enjoy the action at close proximity.

Here are some tips on the top athletes to watch out for -

Men’s 150m

Top billing in the 2014 edition goes to Jamaica’s Yohan Blake. The Olympic 100m and 200m silver medallist will chase the 14.35 150m meeting record, set by his countryman and triple Olympic and world sprint champion, Usain Bolt in 2009.

The Olympic relay champion and 2011 world 100m victor will face team-mate, Kemar Bailey-Cole who placed fourth over 100m in last year’s World Championships in Moscow.

2004 Olympic 4x100m champion, Mark Lewis-Francis heads the British interest, whilst world indoor 400m runner-up, Chris Brown of the Bahamas is an intriguing entrant.

Men’s long jump

Fresh from his British record-breaking display in the USA last month, Greg Rutherford looks set to comfortably repeat his 2013 win.

The closest challenger to the Olympic champion is Ignisious Gaisah of the Netherlands. The world silver medallist and 2006 world indoor champion is joined by Britain’s Olympic finalist and 2008 world indoor runner-up, Chris Tomlinson.

Men’s 100m

Richard Kilty, arguably one of the biggest surprises of the winter courtesy of his world indoor 60m victory, opened his outdoor campaign with a promising 10.12 in Florida last weekend and he will face Qatar’s Femi Ogunode – the bronze medallist behind Kilty in Sopot, Poland in March.

The USA’s Trell Kimmons, the 2012 Olympic 4x100m relay silver medallist, also contests.

Women’s 200m

World 400m champion, Christine Ohuruogu has not competed since anchoring the British squad to the 4x400m relay bronze medal in Sopot, but the 2008 Olympic champion and 2012 Olympic silver medallist should make light work of her toughest competitor, Shana Cox – her team-mate from Poland.

Men’s 200m hurdles

The Dominican Republic’s Felix Sanchez also steps down in distance, as the Olympic 400m hurdles champion goes up against Jamaica’s Ledford Green and British duo, Andy Turner – a three-time winner in this event and the meeting record-holder with 22.10 - and Sebastian Roger.

Women’s 100m hurdles

USA pair, Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells – the Olympic silver and bronze medallists, respectively – will line up in a tight battle with Britain’s Tiffany Porter, the world bronze medallist indoors and out for company.

Men’s 110m hurdles

Turner, the 2011 world bronze medallist will, as usual, compete both the hurdles disciplines and he is in fine form following long-term injury.

In a solely domestic field, Turner’s nearest rival should be Lawrence Clarke, who is in his best shape since the 2012 season when he finished fourth in the Olympic final.

Women’s 200m hurdles

The USA’s world runner-up, Dalilah Muhammed competes against Britain’s European indoor 400m silver medallist, Eilidh Child.

The Czech Republic’s Denisa Rosolova, the European outdoor runner-up also contests, as will Britain’s global semi-finalist, Meghan Beesley.

Women’s pole vault

Olympic fourth placer, Silke Speigelburg of Germany takes on Greece’s Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou, the European bronze medallist, whilst Sally Peake leads the British challenge.

IPC races

In the International Paralympic Committee races, world 100m and 200m champion Marlou Van Rhijn of the Netherlands starts as favourite in the women’s T44 100m.

In the men’s T44 200m, Australia’s world champion, Jarryd Wallace faces world 400m victor, David Prince of the USA.

Full coverage of the event will be broadcast on BBC One from 1:15pm on Saturday.