22 OCT 2010 General News Portsmouth, Great Britain

Glittering line-up of Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth champions for Great South Run

Joseph Ebuya crosses the finish line to complete Kenya's sweep of all titles in Bydgoszcz 2010 (Getty Images)Joseph Ebuya crosses the finish line to complete Kenya's sweep of all titles in Bydgoszcz 2010 (Getty Images) © Copyright

Joseph Ebuya and Saif Saeed Shaheen, both world champions, head a glittering men’s field at the 21st Bupa Great South Run in Portsmouth on Sunday, which will also see three current Olympic, European and Commonwealth gold medallists in action.

Kenyan Ebuya, the reigning IAAF World Cross Country champion, and Qatar's Shaheen, a two-time World 3000 metres Steeplechase title holder, will be joined in their race by Viktor Rothlin, the recently crowned European marathon gold medallist.
 
An equally strong line-up in the women's contest over the very flat and very fast 10 mile course, features Romania's 2008 Olympic marathon gold medallist Constantina Dita, lining up against Kenya's Grace Momanyi, winner of this month's Commonwealth Games 10,000 metres crown.
 
However, sickness will prevent Jo Pavey challenging for a second Bupa Great South Run success, following her win in 1996, leaving the talented Stephanie Twell to lead the domestic challenge against a loaded field of overseas stars.
 
"It’s great news that so many major championship gold medallists and other world class athletes have committed themselves to what I believe will be very wide open competitions in both the men and women's races," said Peter Riley, the elite athletes manager.
 
Riley, who has recruited the event's best ever strength in depth line-ups, added: "I'm sure they will all do full justice to the 21st Bupa Great South Run anniversary celebrations."
 
The Bupa Great South Run, which will be preceded by the Junior and Mini Races on the Saturday, has attracted a record entry of 23,000 runners and the IAAF Gold Label event will also be televised live on Channel 5 from 10.30am.

Kenya's Vincent Yator, who finished fourth in the recent Commonwealth Games 5000m, will join his fellow countryman Ebuya and Shaheen (also born in Kenya before switching nationality to Qatar) in a field which also includes top Europeans, Rothlin and Guenther Weidlinger.
 
Switzerland's Rothlin is now fully recovered after his European Championships marathon win in Barcelona in August, while Weidlinger of Austria is very eager to add another success to his victory at the Great Australian Run last November.
 
Scotland's Andy Lemoncello's exclusion from last weekend's World Half Marathon Championships, when Chinese authorities refused to issue him a visa, allows him to lead the British challenge.
 
The women's race also promises to offer something special, as Momyani will be following her superb Commonwealth victory in Delhi by quickly turning her attention back to road running.
 
The Kenyan and former Bupa Great Yorkshire Run title holder, will be fully tested when stepping up in distance in what also promises to be a very competitive clash, including Great Britain's Twell who will be making her 10 miles debut.
 
Dita, although a veteran, is now getting down to serious preparations to defend her crown at the 2012 London Games, while Portugal's Sara Moreira is an interesting entry.
 
"She's had a great year so far, highlighted by her European 5000m bronze medal and is determined to follow in the footsteps of fellow countrywoman. Ines Monteiro who, although coming to Portsmouth a year ago as a virtual unknown, was a runaway winner," said Riley.
 
Italy's Anna Incerti, the European marathon bronze medallist, top Hungarian pair, Aniko Kalovics and Krisztina Papp, and South Africa's Tanith Maxwell, will also be in action.
 
The appearance of Twell, who many believe will eventually be a successful performer over the longer distances and could follow in the footsteps of Paula Radcliffe, is expected to attract plenty of attention.
 
Riley said: "Steph may not have run a serious 10 miler but has a 71min 56sec half marathon under her belt from the Spring, so she will not be overawed by the opposition.
 
"Certainly she's on a high at the moment after her Commonwealth 1500m bronze medal and finishing fourth behind three Kenyans in what was a world class 5000m race," added Riley. "I'm sure she'll be in the mix."

David Martin for the IAAF