General News Birmingham, UK

400m Hurdles action added to the Birmingham program

Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic competes in the Men's 400m Hurdles Final (Getty Images)Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic competes in the Men's 400m Hurdles Final (Getty Images) © Copyright
Olympic and twotime World champion Felix Sanchez is set to star in the first ever 400m indoor Hurdles competition to take place on UK soil when it is showcased at Birmingham’s Aviva Grand Prix, the penultimate stop on the 2011 IAAF Indoor Permit Meeting series, this Saturday (19).

Sanchez, who won the Dominican Republic’s first ever Olympic gold at the 2004 Athens games, will join British runner Rick Yates in addition to American Reuben McCoy and France's Heni Kechi at the NIA as the event is inaugurated into the Aviva Series.

The innovative event, which originated in France and is staged at various meets in Europe, sees four athletes tackle eight hurdles as they run two laps of the indoor track.

And the 33-year-old admits he is relishing the prospect of taking the first ever win in the competition on UK soil and has tipped the event to become a regular feature on the indoor season.

“I’m excited to be running the 400 hurdles at the Aviva Grand Prix, it’s a unique event to run indoors and you don’t see it that often anywhere in the world," said Sanchez.

“I ran it in France last year and the clip has had a lot of hits on YouTube. It’s really exciting to be part of and also watch as it’s totally different to how the race is run outdoors."

“I understand it’s the first time this race has been run indoors in the UK so I’m looking forward to being part of history making. It would be great to be the first person to win the event in the country, although I’m sure Dai Greene would probably want that title too at some point!

“The hurdles, both the 60 and the 400, will be strong events at the NIA and the fans can be sure to be entertained.”

Like the indoor 400m, the athletes must stay in their lane on the opening lap, but are free to move to the inside lane thereafter, ensuring a blockbuster finish.

Organisers for the IAAF