01 JUL 2008 General News London, UK

Rising home stars take on World champions in London – IAAF World Athletics Tour

Andy Baddeley, surprise winner of the men's dream mile in Oslo, 2008 (Getty Images)Andy Baddeley, surprise winner of the men's dream mile in Oslo, 2008 (Getty Images) © Copyright

Miler Andy Baddeley and quarter miler Martyn Rooney will race World champions Bernard Lagat and Jeremy Wariner respectively at the Aviva London Grand Prix at the Crystal Palace stadium just two weeks before this year’s Olympics Games.

The London meeting is a Super Grand prix status event as part of the IAAF World Athletics Tour 2008.

Baddeley will take on some of the world’s best milers in the historic Emsley Carr Mile. The 26-year-old has been one of a number of plus points for British athletics this summer, with a memorable victory in Oslo’s Dream Mile followed up by gold over 3000m at the European Cup.

In the London race he will meet reigning World 1500m and 5000m champion Bernard Lagat of the USA, and 2005 World bronze medallist and two-time World cup 3000m winner Craig Mottram of Australia.

"I am looking forward to competing against Bernard and Craig at the Emsley Carr Mile next month, they are my main rivals and it will be great to gauge how my preparation is going before we all head to Beijing,” confirmed Baddeley.
 
"Having recently won the Dream Mile in Oslo I am full of confidence and would love to add the Emsley Carr Mile to my name which would give me a unique double in an Olympic year."
 
The Emsley Carr Mile has been run since 1953 and is the world’s longest continually held race over the distance. Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, Said Aouita and Hicham El Guerrouj are among those entered in a bound red leather book which is traditionally signed signed by all the winners.

Baddeley added: "I am aware of the history of this great race with past winners such as John Landy, Roger Bannister and Seb Coe and I would love to get my name in that winners’ book."

Home track dream encounter for Rooney

Croydon born, 400m sprinter, Martyn Rooney has been handed a dream chance to face Olympic & World Champion Jeremy Wariner on his home track, Crystal Palace.

The pair will meet ahead of Beijing at the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace, 25th / 26th July.

Rooney, only 21, now ranked the UK’s number one 400m runner, will be looking to build on his recent winning performance at the recent European Cup. There he produced a dominant race coming home impressively to claim victory in the 400m, ultimately helping to secure overall victory for Team GB in Annecy. 

Rooney, who is unbeaten in five races in 2008, will be looking to gain any advantage he can in the clash with Wariner, hopefully some coming from running on his home track in front of a noisy home crowd. 

Rooney said: “I was born in Croydon, just two miles away from Crystal Palace, so the Aviva London Grand Prix is a very special event for me. I am really pleased with the way the season is building for me.  I am ultra keen to put on a great performance in front of my home crowd before I head for Beijing.”

Lachlan MacKinnon for the IAAF