Kirani James winning the 400m at the 2014 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham (Jean-Pierre Durand) © Copyright
General News Birmingham, Great Britain

Olympic champion James to face local star Hudson-Smith over 400m in Birmingham – IAAF Diamond League

Britain’s European silver medallist Matthew Hudson-Smith will line up against an outstanding 400m field including Grenada’s Olympic champion Kirani James at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham on 5 June.

James is regarded as one of the best 400m runners of recent times after winning at the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympics.

He ran 44.08 at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, USA, last month and currently leads the 2016 world list. James also won over one lap of the track at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham two years ago.

“2016 is a really big year from me and I want to retain my Olympic title," said James. "The Birmingham Diamond League will be an important part of my build-up to Rio and I’m looking forward to racing against some very good athletes. I love competing in Britain and I’m excited about putting on a good show for the fans."

Hudson-Smith, who trains at the Alexander Stadium, is relishing the opportunity to challenge himself against the man he looked up to as an aspiring junior athlete.

“I can’t wait to compete at the Birmingham Diamond League, it’s always special for me to be able to compete on the track where I train nearly every day," said 21-year-old Hudson-Smith, whose 2015 season was cut short by injury.

“It will be great to test myself against a great field, particularly Kirani James who I have really looked up to for the last few years.

“Getting injured last summer was a big disappointment for me but I’m now feeling good and looking forward to competing at such a big event and getting ready for such an important season.”

With Saudi Arabia’s Asian record-holder Yousef Masrahi and Botswana’s former African record-holder Isaac Makwala, both sub-44.00 runners, also competing, the event is set to be one of the highlights of the prestigious IAAF Diamond League meeting.

Organisers for the IAAF

2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar
6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL