Gateshead, UKMore than 30 Berlin medallists, including a dozen freshly crowned World champions, are set to compete at the Aviva British Grand Prix in Gateshead’s International Stadium on Monday (31).
The Aviva British Grand Prix is Grand Prix status meeting as part of the IAAF World Athletics Tour 2009.
Ennis and Idowu the centre of attention
While the host nation’s gold medal heroes, Jessica Ennis and Phillips Idowu, will no doubt top the bill for the home crowd, every one of the 20 international events includes at least one Berlin finalist with medallists scheduled to appear in 15 of those.
Ennis has limited herself to one event – the 100m Hurdles – where she faces the new World champion, Brigitte Foster-Hylton of Jamaica. Ennis, who dominated the Heptathlon in Berlin, has her eyes on the British record of 12.80 having got within 0.01s of Angela Thorp’s 1996 time earlier this season.
Idowu, meanwhile, faces no fewer then four Berlin finalists, including Brazil’s Jadel Gregorio and fellow-Brit Nathan Douglas. The world Triple Jump champion has been saying all season that Berlin is the only competition that matters this year, so now he’s achieved his long-time goal this could be a celebratory demonstration from the colourful Briton at the former home track of World record holder Jonathan Edwards.
“Hopefully, I can build on this and go on to achieve great things like Edwards,” said Idowu. “I have still got some more medals I need to pick up to even be classed in the same rank as him.”
Merritt vs. Clement in the 400m
While Britons are likely to draw the biggest cheers, Americans will be much in evidence too, not least in the men’s 400m where world champion LaShawn Merritt takes on 400m hurdles gold medallist Kerron Clement, plus their 4x400m relay team-mate Angelo Taylor.
Merritt, who memorably repeated his Olympic one-lap triumph over Jeremy Wariner in Berlin and again dominated the proceedings in Zurich on Friday, will also face Britain’s world finalist Michael Bingham plus two other members of GB’s 4x400 relay silver medal-winning quartet, Martyn Rooney and Robert Tobin.
Three-time World champions Phillips and Felix join the fray
Dwight Phillips dominated the Long Jump in the Olympic Stadium as his winning leap of 8.54m captured his third World title. Here he’ll face four men who finished out of the medals: Australia’s Fabrice Lapierre, Salim Sadri of France, and Britons Greg Rutherford and Chris Tomlinson.
Like Phillips, Allyson Felix won her third World title in the German capital, the graceful American again dominating the 200m to scratch a rare blemish into Jamaica’s shining domination of the sprints. Felix will face the world bronze medallist Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of Bahamas, plus Berlin 100m finalist Lauryn Williams of USA and Britain’s 200m finalist Emily Freeman.
Williams and Ferguson-McKenzie also race in the 100m against world bronze medallist Carmelita Jeter who won impressively in Zurich plus Chandra Sturrup, while Tyson Gay is the main draw in the men’s 100m. The world silver medallist will be a clear favourite in a field that includes Trinidad’s Berlin finalist Marc Burns plus four other sub-10 second men and three of Britain’s 4x100m relay bronze medallists.
The 200m features three of the men who chased Usain Bolt to the line in Berlin, including silver medallist Alonso Edward of Panama and bronze medallist Wallace Spearmon of USA, plus former Olympic champion Shawn Crawford.
Cheruiyot and Masai tangle in the 3000m
The women’s 3000m is the most intriguing of the longer events featuring Kenya’s world 5000m and 10,000m champions, Vivian Cheruiyot and Linet Masai, against the double Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba and her younger sister Genzebe.
Men’s 5000m silver medallist Bernard Lagat lines up in the men’s 3000m against Britain’s Mo Farah, seventh in Berlin, and Ugandan Moses Kipsiro who was fourth.
World champion Yaroslav Rybakov will be favourite for the High Jump against Poland’s surprise bronze medallist Sylvester Bednarek and Americans Andra Mason and Keith Moffatt, while the Czech Republic’s silver medallist Barbara Spotakova tops the women’s javelin field against Germany’s Christina Obergföll and Linda Stahl, with Britain’s Goldie Sayers hoping to make amends for a wretched season.
Britons feature heavily in the women’s middle distance races, not least the Berlin medallists Jenny Meadows in the 800m and Lisa Dobriskey in the 1500m, while USA’s Berlin bronze medallist David Payne is favourite for the 110m hurdles.
But wait, there's more!
By popular demand, organisers made room for one late minute entry. Berlino, the bear who took the world by storm as the World championships mascot, will be on hand to entertain the fans in the English northeast as well.
Matthew Brown for the IAAF