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Ten to Follow for the Aviva London Grand Prix

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Phillips Idowu
Idowu - just one of the Biejing bound on show

 

 

 

24 July 2008

 

 

 

The Aviva London Grand Prix takes place over two days for the first time in 23 years this year in what is set to be the best meeting of the summer outside of the Olympic Games. A prize pot of $800,000 is up for grabs as the world’s best athletes join the majority of Britain’s Olympic team for two days of top class athletics. So much to look forward to, here are just some of the highlights:

 

Mens 100m

Sadly world champion Tyson Gay has lost his battle to be fit for this one, but fascinating to see how Asafa Powell can perform. Is he in the sort of shape to get close to regaining his world record? Britain’s Olympic hopefuls are out in force too – including European Indoor silver medalist Craig Pickering and Tyrone Edgar, who ran 10.06 in Geneva earlier in the season.

 

Mens 200m

Jamaican’s man of the moment Usain Bolt – the current world record holder over 100m – will provide stiff competition for former World Junior Champion Christian Malcolm and reigning European Junior champion Alex Nelson, who finished first and second at the Aviva National Championships earlier this month. Watch out too for America’s World relay gold medalist Wallace Spearmon.

 

Mens Mile

Double world champion Bernard Lagat heads an impressive field which includes Britain’s number one miler Andy Baddeley – winner in Oslo back in June. Australia’s Craig Mottram, bronze medallist at the World Championships in 2005, returns to Crystal Palace to fine tune his preparations for Beijing. Look out too for Kenya’s Shedrack Korir, who won bronze last year in Osaka.

 

Mens Triple Jump

London athlete Phillips Idowu deserves plenty of home support this weekend. The 29-year-old world indoor champion currently tops the world rankings and is Britain’s top medal hope for Beijing. Also on the plane to China are Larry Achike and Nathan Douglas.

 

Mens Pole Vault

The world’s top six are all in London this weekend, headed by world champion Brad Walker who set a new personal best of 6.04m in Oregon back in June. Commonwealth champion Steve Hooker, and world indoor champion Evgeniy Lukyanenko. Stiff competition then for 22-year-old Steve Lewis, who competes in his first Olympic Games next month. The British record of 5.81m is within his reach.

 

Men’s 4x100m Relay

A fitting end to the weekend’s action with defending Olympic champions Britain expected to unveil its first choice quartet for Beijing. Traditional rivals the USA will be as strong as ever and Usain Bolt is expected to feature in an impressive Jamaican line up.

 

Womens 100m

An incredible line up which includes the nine fastest women in the world this year and two reigning world champions. Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell won the 100m in Osaka, whilst Allyson Felix took home three gold medals including gold over 200m to add to her Olympic silver won in Athens.  Then there’s Lauryn Williams, a former 100m World champion. All will provide stiff opposition for Britain’s Olympic hopefuls Jeanette Kwakye, Laura Turner and Montell Douglas who broke Kathy Cook’s long standing British record in Loughborough last week, clocking 11.05.

 

Womens 400m

The domestic showdown of the weekend as Britain’s world gold and silver medallists Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders go head to head for the first time since that world final in Osaka. Britain’s other pick for Beijing, Lee McConnell also goes and the trio will take to the track in London hoping to fine tune their preparations for Beijing with a strong performance in front of the home crowds. All three were also part of the bronze medal winning 4x400m relay quartet which won bronze in Osaka.

 

Womens Pole vault

For global dominance look no further than Yelena Isinbayeva. The world, Olympic and European champion has won here in London for the last five years, setting three world records in the process. Crystal Palace was also the venue where Isinbayeva memorably cleared five metres. The 26-year-old looks in impressive form having set a new world record of 5.03m in Rome two weeks ago – but keep an eye on Jenn Stuczynski, the American champion and World Indoor silver medalist who could well provide stiff competition for the Russian.

 

Womens 800m

Always an exciting event, and this time is no different as Britain’s three Olympic qualifiers – Jenny Meadows, Marilyn Okoro and Jemma Simpson meet for the first time in 2008. Okoro was victorious at the recent Olympic Trials but Meadows – who missed the event through illness – is also in great form, having run a lifetime best of 1.59.11 in Paris last week. Simpson meanwhile set a personal best earlier this month recording 1.59.17 to take victory in Milan.

 

Womens 4-Event Challenge

Four events over two days for Britain’s Olympic heptathlon medallist Kelly Sotherton as she completes her competitive build up to Beijing. It’s the 100m hurdles and long jump on Friday and the shot and 200m on the Saturday. Commonwealth silver medallist Kylie Wheeler of Australia also competes.

 

Tickets for the Aviva London Grand Prix are available by phone on 08000 556 056 or online at www.ukathletics.net

 

Some Facts and Figures…

 

  • 49 of the 68 athletes in the British Olympic team for Beijing will be competing over the two day meeting
  • 36 of the USA team for Beijing will be competing
  • The total prize pot for the meeting is $800,00
  • A bonus of $50,000 is available to any athlete breaking a world record in Olympic event at the weekend
  • 36 world champions will be in action