Athletes ready for the Games to begin in Manchester

Allyson Felix, Perri Shakes-Drayton, Greg Rutherford and Jonnie Peacock among those set to grace the BT Great CityGames on Saturday

Allyson Felix and Christine Ohuruogu (Mark Shearman)

The organisers of the BT Great CityGames were dealt a blow when two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce withdrew from an anticipated head-to-head with Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix over 150m.

Despite the loss of the Jamaican due to a hamstring injury, Felix will still be among the main attractions, although the spectacle will probably be more akin to a demonstration from one of the world’s all-time greats.

The field also includes Jodie Williams, who appears to be back in form after an injury-riddled 2012 season. The former world youth and junior champion opened her season with a 11.57 100m in Ashford on Wednesday although this will be her first big test of the year.

Perri Shakes-Drayton and Eilidh Child will be looking to convert their glittering indoor form to the hurdles although the European indoor gold and silver medallists face a tough assignment in the first-ever running of the women’s 200m hurdles as the field is led by reigning Olympic 400m hurdles champion Natalya Antyukh from Russia.

Andy Turner has arguably been the most accomplished performer at this meet with a hat-trick of 200m hurdles victories and a pair of 110m hurdles wins. He just takes part in the 200m hurdles this year and the opposition comes from one-lap specialists Jack Green, L.J Van Zyl and Felix Sanchez.

Historically, Turner’s had the beating of the 400m hurdlers over half the distance but his form is questionable as he didn’t break 14 seconds in his last 110m hurdles race.

The 100m hurdles should be a tussle between Olympic silver and bronze medallists Dawn Harper-Nelson and Kellie Wells although former UK record-holder Tiffany Porter shouldn’t be ruled out either, while Olympic bronze medallist Hansle Parchment from Jamaica starts as the favourite in the 110m hurdles ahead of American veteran Terrence Trammell.

Margaret Adeoye and Asha Philip were two of Britain’s breakthrough performers during the indoor season and they start as the leading contenders in an all-British 100m while Mark Lewis-Francis and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey face 2003 world champion Kim Collins in the men’s equivalent. In the 150m, two of Europe’s finest in Dwain Chambers and Christophe Lemaitre go head-to-head.

Olympic champion Greg Rutherford will be the main attraction in a largely domestic long jump which also includes Chris Tomlinson, who holds the Great CityGames record with 8.18m from Tyneside last year which is in excess of the Olympic champion’s season’s best.

Konstantinos Filippidis from Greece takes on the leading German duo of Raphael Holzdeppe and Malte Mohr in the pole-vault where 2010 world junior bronze medallist Andy Sutcliffe is the sole Brit in the field.

The ever-expanding programme places a greater emphasis on Paralympic competition this year. Olympic champion Jonnie Peacock lines up in the T44 100m while Olympic 200m champion Alan Oliveira from Brazil races in the 200m straight. The 1-2 from the F44 long jump, Kelly Cartwright and Stefanie Reid, renew their rivalry and the latter also competes in the 100m.

» The format of this competition will allow spectators to experience the action, which takes place on an IAAF certified purpose built track and pop-up athletics arena in the city centre, for free and no tickets are required. For further information visit www.greatcitygames.org.

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