AN ALL-STAR British cast of decorated champions will compete in what is arguably the strongest ever line-up in the Aviva UK trials and championships next Friday (Aug 5) in Birmingham.
World and European champions Jessica Ennis and Phillips Idowu, Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu and double European champion Mo Farah are just some of the names headed for the Birmingham Alexander Stadium as they look to cement their place in the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team destined for the IAAF world championships in Daegu, South Korea next month.
Joining them will be in-form Welshman Dai Greene, who powered through a world class field to take victory in the 400m hurdles in his last visit to the stadium just two weeks ago at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix, European and Commonwealth champion Andy Turner and world medallist Jenny Meadows.
Fresh from her European under-23 success in Ostrava, Czech Republic, British record holder Holly Bleasdale will also be part of the action while Tiffany Ofili-Porter competes on home soil for the first time since breaking the British record for the 100m hurdles in Monaco on Friday (July 22).
It will be a quick return to the city for Farah, who ran a near-perfect race to take first place when the Samsung Diamond League visited the West Midlands earlier this month.
The 28-year-old, who is now world number one in both the 5,000m and 10,000m, will run the 5,000m in the hope of regaining the national title he won back in 2007.
Farah followed up his outstanding performance in Birmingham with a British record-breaking run in Monaco and he is determined to deliver another performance of note for the athletics-savvy Birmingham crowd.
RECORD BREAKER: Farah
Farah said: “It will be nice to compete at the trials in Birmingham – I had a great race there just the other week against a strong field so I’m feeling really positive as we go in to the upcoming meets.
“I’ve been training hard with Alberto [Salazar] & Galen [Rupp] in Portland and my run at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix showed that it is coming together. I want to keep on improving over the next few weeks so that I feel confident going in to the world championships.
“I can only continue to do what I’m doing, concentrate on my own development and racing and hopefully the results will come from there.”
Making her return to action will be 27-year-old Ohuruogu, who ran a Daegu qualifying time of 51.49secs in Barcelona, and she will be out to regain the 400m title she last won back in 2009.
Injuries have meant the Londoner has not competed as much as she would have wished, but the Beijing gold medallist is keen to return to form with the national title this weekend.
Ohuruogu said: “Obviously the past few years haven’t been ideal for me in terms of injuries but I’m so keen to get back to competition and am aiming towards the world championships before I start thinking about the Olympics.
“I’ve been in training for a good while now and am definitely feeling comfortable with where things are at. Competing in the Aviva UK trials and championships ahead of the Aviva London Grand Prix is good for me, I want to be able to ease myself in and of course, we’ll take a look at my performance after Birmingham to make sure I’m prepared for London.”