BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – About a dozen Caribbean athletes led by double Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica are down to compete at the Diamond League meeting at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, United Kingdom today.
Fresh from her victory at the Jamaica National Championships last weekend with a world leading time of 22.13 seconds, Fraser-Pryce will renew rivalry with American Carmelita Jeter, her first race since an injury in Shanghai in May, and the consistent Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria.
Sherone Simpson of Jamaica and the young Anthonique Strachan of the Bahamas will also provide a strong Caribbean challenge.
Fraser-Pryce, the winner of the last two Olympic Games over 100m, insists that she thrives upon the rivalry with her American counterpart and is ready for her Birmingham return after being based in the city prior to her Olympic triumph.
“Birmingham has been a very good city for us as Jamaicans as they were so welcoming and warm last year. So I’m excited to be back and having fun in the 200m against all the other girls lined up in the event,” she said.
“For us as athletes, it’s about competing against the best and Carmelita is one of those. She’s thrown down lots of good times, and racing her is something that has been rewarding for me as well. We bring out the best in each other. I like competing against people that are aggressive and hungry like me.”
The women’s 400m also promises some fireworks with Jamaican champion Novlene Williams-Mills and compatriot Stephanie McPherson will challenge Botswana’s Amantle Montsho, former World and Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain and Regina George of Nigeria.
The reigning 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene will be tested at home and against a field which includes Olympic champion Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic, Olympic bronze medallist Puerto Rican Javier Culson, the world leader American Michael Tinsley and national champion of Trinidad and Tobago Jehue Gordon.
In one of the non-Diamond races on Sunday’s programme, the Men’s 110m hurdles also promises an exciting clash of in-form hurdlers including Olympic champion and world record-holder Aries Merritt of the United States, 2009 World Champion Ryan Brathwaite of Barbados, national record-holder of Trinidad and Tobago Mikel Thomas and Dwight Thomas of Jamaica.
The Men’s 100m puts Jamaicans Nesta Carter and Kimmari Roach, along with Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis and Kston Bledman of Trinidad and Tobago. Briton Mark Lewis-Francis and Japanese teenage sensation Yoshihide Kiryu provide a competitive line-up.
Overall a total of 30 medallists, including 11 reigning Olympic champions, will star at the Sainbury’s Grand Prix.