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Ten to Follow

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Jenny Meadows

 

19 February 2010

The prestigious Aviva Grand Prix returns to the Birmingham NIA tomorrow [Saturday], with a host of global athletics stars lining up in search of victory. Here Steve Cram takes us through his ‘Ten to Follow’.

Phillips Idowu – triple jump

Birmingham-based Idowu picked up gold at last year’s World Championships in Berlin, adding to the World Indoor title he won two years ago as well as the European Indoor title he won at the NIA in 2007.

The 31-year-old faces Swedish star Christian Olsson, who won Olympic gold in 2004. Now back from injury, he’s also enjoyed success in the Midlands, claiming the World Indoor title at the NIA in 2003.

Harry Aikines-Aryeetey – 60m

A terrific run by the 21-year-old in Sheffield last weekend secured a silver medal at the Aviva World Trials & UK Championships and a new personal best of 6.55seconds.

With the World Indoor Championships just weeks away Aikines-Aryeetey will be hoping to secure a place on the senior Aviva GB&NI team, having already enjoyed terrific success with 100m gold at the European Under 23 Championships last year and the World Junior Championships in 2006.

Bernard Lagat – 1,500m

The two-time Olympic medallist made an impressive start to his 2010 campaign, with a record eighth Wanamaker Mile victory and a new American national 5,000m record in the last month.

The 35-year-old won 1,500m bronze and 5,000m silver at the World Championships last year to add to the double gold he won in Helsinki in 2007 and shows no sign of slowing down.

Yaroslav Rybakov – high jump

Russia’s high jump World champion has a host of global medals to his name, including the World Indoor silver he won in Birmingham back in 2003.

With an indoor personal best of 2.38m and a win at the NIA back in 2007, the 29-year-old will be tough opposition for Britain’s Samson Oni and Birmingham based Tom Parsons.

Dayron Robles – 60m hurdles

The Olympic 110m hurdles champion and world record holder kicked off 2010 with a win in Germany earlier this month, and with the World Indoor Championships just around the corner he’ll be hoping for a strong performance on his Birmingham debut.

The Cuban lines up against the reigning European Indoor champion Ladji Doucoure, Gregory Sedoc who picked up the title in Birmingham three year ago, plus the current crop of young Britons led by Callum Priestley.

Tirunesh Dibaba – 2 miles

The double Olympic 5,000 and 10,000m champion competes at the Aviva Grand Prix for the third time, and with the likes of World 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot in the field, it promises to be an exciting race.

Dibaba holds the outdoor 5,000m world record and will strongly challenge Meseret Defar’s two-mile record of 9:06.26minutes.

Anna Rogowska – pole vault

A surprise gold medallist at the World Championships last year, the Polish athlete – Olympic bronze medallist in 2004 - has kicked off her indoor season in fine style, setting a new personal best of 4.81m last weekend in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

The 28-year-old will provide tough competition for British indoor record holder Kate Dennison, who notched up her fifth national title in Sheffield last weekend.

Gelete Burka – 1 mile

The reigning World Indoor champion over 1,500m looked set to secure the World outdoor title last August, but leading with 300m remaining, she suffered a tumble and finished out of the medals.

The Ethiopian quickly bounced back from that disappointment and will now be looking for a return of the winning form that saw her victorious in Birmingham two years ago as she lines up against the woman who won in Berlin, Maryam Jamal.

Laverne Jones-Ferrette – 60m

The Virgin Islands’ sprinter has enjoyed a sensational start to 2010 with eight successive wins, most recently in Stuttgart where she clocked 6.97seconds – the fastest time by a woman in 11 years.

The 28-year-old has upset the form book by twice beating American sprinter and World bronze medallist Carmelita Jeter, who won in Birmingham last year. Watch out as the pair meet again at the NIA.

Jenny Meadows – 800m

With a World 800m bronze medal from Berlin to her name, Meadows has grown in confidence, and she’ll be out to better her second place finish at the NIA last year.

The Wigan athlete started the year with a win at the Aviva International Match three weeks ago and more recently picked up her 6th national title in Sheffield with a new stadium record. 

Tickets for the Aviva Grand Prix at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham on Saturday 20th February are available on 0844 338 8000 or from the box office, which opens at 9am on event day