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Mo Farah to use Birmingham as Olympic launch pad

LAUNCH PAD: Mo Farah

BIRMINGHAM IS on the blocks to confirm its status as the UK’s home of athletics this month when it hosts two key athletics events on the road to Rio.

Both the Birmingham Diamond League on Sunday (June 5) and the British Championships from 24 to 26 June are organised by British Athletics, in partnership with Birmingham City Council. Both events will be held at the city’s Alexander Stadium.

The council will be using these events to give athletics fans the chance to sign up to receive information about tickets or volunteering opportunities for the IAAF World Indoor Championships, which will be staged in the city in March 2018.

Councillor Ian Ward, the city’s deputy leader, said: “Not only do this month’s athletics provide us with an excellent chance to once again highlight why Birmingham is the home of UK athletics, but we’re also looking to use this opportunity to start raising awareness that the IAAF World Indoor Championships is coming back to Birmingham.”

Both the Diamond League and the British Championships are attracting a glittering line-up of sports stars, with the world’s best athletes expected to compete. This will be a make or break time for those hoping to win a place on the British Athletics Olympic team bound for Rio de Janeiro.

The Birmingham Diamond League will act as a launch pad for Britain’s greatest distance runner Mo Farah’s Olympic hopes. Farah has targeted the meeting at the Alexander Stadium as one of his major stepping stones to defend his Olympic record when the Games open in Rio, exactly two months later, on August 5th.

Farah said: “The Birmingham Diamond League will be my first big European track race of 2016 and a great platform to test myself on the road to the Olympic Games.

“This meet has long been a key fixture in the season and I know I’m having the support of a passionate home crowd – this will be a fantastic motivator for me.”

Greg Rutherford, another of Britain’s gold medallists from the London Olympics, has also announced that he will be competing on Sunday. He and Farah will be joined by several team mates including Birmingham-based high jumper Robbie Grabarz, Dina Asher-Smith, Adam Gemili, Tiffany Porter and Lynsey Sharp.

Other international stars who have confirmed they will take part include reigning Olympic champions David Rushida, Kirani James, Sally Pearson, Valerie Adams and Robert Harting.

Niels de Vos, chief executive of British Athletics, said: “Mo Farah will lead a stellar cast of global stars at the Birmingham Diamond League. This event is vital to their preparation for Rio and the perfect launch pad for the Olympic Games. There is o doubt that we will witness world-class performances aided by amazing support from home crowds.”

For tickets to the Birmingham Diamond League or the British Championships visit: www.britishathletics.org.uk

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