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stage set for sainsbury's glasgow grand prix

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Eilidh Child
10 July 2014

More than 50 British athletes will line up at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 July as the IAAF Diamond League heads to Glasgow for the very first time.

The prestigious two-day event will provide many athletes – from home and abroad – a chance to compete at the city’s Hampden Park Stadium less than three weeks before they step out again for the Commonwealth Games.

The meeting will also provide a final opportunity for many to secure their place on the GB&NI team bound for the European Championships in Switzerland next month, with the qualification period closing at midnight on Sunday 13 July.

Scotland’s Eilidh Child (coach: Malcolm Arnold) has already secured her British vest for Zurich, and with three impressive third place finishes in the Diamond League already this season, she’ll be hoping the home crowds on Friday evening can help her do even better.

Meanwhile in the men’s 400m hurdles, newly crowned Sainsbury’s British champion Niall Flannery (Nick Dakin), reigning European champion Rhys Williams (Adrian Thomas) and British Champs runner-up Tom Burton (Dakin) take on a stellar field which includes all three Olympic medallists – the Dominican Republic’s Felix Sanchez, America’s Michael Tinsley and Puerto Rica’s Javier Coulson. Also in the race is Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton, who has decided to focus solely on the 400mH this summer:

Eaton said: "I never thought I’d be at this level (in the 400m hurdles). It was done for training purposes and to take my mind off the multi-events, and have some fun. I have accomplished those goals and being able to run fast. To be here in Glasgow is an honour."

The women’s 800m features a British battle royale as Laura Muir (Andy Young), fresh from setting a new Scottish 1500m record in  Paris, goes head to head with Scottish compatriot Lynsey Sharp, who went sub two in Lausanne, and Jess Judd (Rob Denmark) who did the same in Oslo.

James Dasalou (Steve Fudge) kicked off his outdoor season in fine style in Lausanne last week, clocking 10.03 to win the 100m ‘B’ race, and his form will be tested once again on Friday with Diamond League regulars Michael Rodgers for the US and Trinidad & Tobago’s Richard Thompson also on the start line. World Indoor 60m champion Richard Kilty (Reider) and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Reider) make up the British contingent.

On competing in the first IAAF Diamond League of the year, Dasaolu said: "I’m excited to compete at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix at Hampden Park. In the 100m on Friday night, I will be focusing on executing my race and getting everything technically right after starting the season encouragingly in Lausanne (Diamond League) last week."

Danny Talbot (Cossins) and James Ellington (Reider) are the British duo that go in the men’s 200m, having finished first and third respectively at the Sainsbury’s British Championships two weeks ago. They’ll be made to work hard by the top two in the world, Jamaica’s Warren Weir and Panama’s Alonso Edward.

In the women’s sprints on Saturday, British 100m gold and silver medallists Asha Philip (Christine Bowmaker) and Ashleigh Nelson (Michael Afilaka) are up against the likes of Lausanne winner Michelle-Lee Ahye, Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce,  whilst Jodie Williams (Bowmaker) is part of a world class 200m field which includes Diamond race leader and top ranked Blessing Okagbare.

In the women’s sprint hurdles, Tiffany Porter is all set for a showdown with Olympic champion Sally Pearson and current world number one Queen Harrison as she reaches top form ahead of the Commonwealth Games and European Championships.

Kelly Massey (Stephen Ball) races over one lap against the Diamond League’s top six 400m runners, and in the men’s 400m Martyn Rooney (Reider) heads a British trio with Matthew Hudson-Smith (Tony Hadley) and Conrad Williams (Linford Christie) also in Glasgow.

Heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Mike Holmes) and 2013 Diamond Race champion Shara Proctor (Reider) take on the long jump, with Johnson-Thompson fresh from winning the British title two weeks ago with an outdoor personal best of 6.81m. The 21-year-old has shown great promise this year with the Commonwealths and Europeans still to come.

Laura Weightman (Steve Cram) knocked two and a half seconds off her personal best in Paris last week - the 23-year-old clocking 4:00.17 - agonisingly close to registering her first sub four minute time. Glasgow could provide the perfect backdrop for that feat, as a whole bunch of Kenyan’s will ensure a fast pace from the off.

In the men’s 1,500m British number one Charlie Grice (John Bigg) lines up alongside British 5,000m champion Tom Farrell (Dave Smith) as well as Glasgow 2014 bound Scottish duo Chris O’Hare (Steve Gulley) and Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman). They’ll face a stern test in a field that features Kenya’s Silas Kiplagat, second in Lausanne last week.

There is another Scottish duo in action in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase where all eyes will be on Dundee Hawkhill’s British Champion Eilish McColgan (Liz McColgan-Nuttall) as well as Lennie Waite (Jim Bevan), the top ranked Briton this year.

David Rudisha headlines an impressive 800m line-up that includes six athletes who’ve already gone sub 1.45 this year. British champion Michael Rimmer (Jon Bigg) and Mukhtar Mohammed (Bigg) will be hoping such a good field will inspire them to a similar feat. Ahead of the race, Rudisha said:

"I am really excited to be here in Glasgow for the Diamond league event. I am going to be back here in a couple of weeks for the Commonwealth Games so it is good to be here in Scotland finally. I am looking forward to racing at Hampden Park. Training has been going well and I had a good race in New York recently so hopefully I can do the same here."

Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford (Tawiah-Dodoo) tops the long jump field with a season’s best and British record of 8.51m. Competing alongside him is JJ Jegede (Peter Stanley), whilst Julian Reid (Aston Moore) is in the triple jump.

Max Eaves (Steve Rippon) and Glasgow’s own Jax Thoirs (Pat Licari) - the Scottish record holder – do battle in the pole vault before they go head-to-head again at the Commonwealth Games, and newly crowned British champion Sally Peake (Scott Simpson) goes in the women’s event.

Isobel Pooley (Fuzz Ahmed) and Jayne Nisbet (Graham Ravenscroft) compete in the high jump, with David Smith (Ken Allan), Chris Baker (Sharon Heveran) and British champion Allan Smith (Ahmed) in the men’s event.

Five Paralympic track and field events also take place in Glasgow, with Great Britain’s six-time Paralympic gold medallist David Weir (Jenny Archer) taking on the 1,500m along with fellow Britons Will Smith and Stuart Bloor, as the 35-year-old prepares for both the Commonwealth Games and the IPC European Athletics Championships in Swansea this summer.

Expect an exciting race in the men’s 100m T44, as Great Britain’s Paralympic champion Jonnie Peacock (Fudge) faces the world record holder and man he beat to gold at the 2013 IPC World Championships, Richard Browne.

Double World and Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft (Jenni Banks) will be hard to beat in the women’s 100m T34, although Kare Adenegan, Carly Tait and Mel Nicholls (Job King) will be hoping to upset the form book. In the 100m T11-13 for visually impaired athletes, World silver medallist Libby Clegg (Keith Antoine) starts alongside fellow Briton Erin McBride.

Great Britain’s Paralympic long jump silver medallist Stef Reid (Reider) set a new unofficial world record of 5.45m earlier this season, and continued that form beating Germany’s Vanessa Low in Berlin last month. It’s a tough field in Glasgow though with the likes of F42 World Champion Martina Caironi and F44 World silver medallist Marie-Amerlie Le Fur, as well as Great Britain’s Laura Sugar (Femi Akinsanya).

Get your last minute tickets for the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix here: http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/british-athletics-series/sainsburys-glasgow-grand-prix/

Alternatively, the event will be live on BBC Two from 18:30 until 21:00 on Friday and on BBC One from 14:00 until 17:20 on Saturday.