Preview: Five to watch at the British Grand Prix

We highlight five events worth keeping an eye on at this weekend’s British Athletics Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham

Mo-Farah1

The British Athletics Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham is widely regarded as the world’s premier indoor meeting and the star-studded line ups of this weekend’s event confirm that the 2013 edition will be no exception.

Many of London 2012′s big names will be in action, with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Carmelita Jeter set to go head-to-head in the 60m while double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah rounds off Saturday afternoon’s programme in the 3000m.

Thirteen British athletes booked their place on the team for next month’s European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg by placing in the first two at last weekend’s European Trials & UK Championships and having already attained the qualifying marks. Those who were first or second can still automatically book their places if they meet the standard by next Sunday – with many sure to be trying to do so in Birmingham. The full team will be announced next week.

Here we list the five events we’re most looking forward to watching this Saturday.

Men’s 3000m » Entry list
Mo Farah only has two races on his itinerary for the time being and the first of them should be a formality as the field is comprised largely of domestic athletes.

Frenchman Florian Carvalho could offer a modicum of opposition as he’s run sub-3:34 for 1500m but the double Olympic champion looks destined to make a winning start on the track where he’s set UK indoor records at 3000m, two miles and 5000m.

Women’s 60m » Entry list
The organisers have arranged a lip-smacking line-up headed by world 100m champion Carmelita Jeter of the United States and two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly- Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, who will be racing indoors for the first time.

However, considering Jeter’s defeat at the hands of Germany’s Verena Sailer in Glasgow and Fraser-Pryce’s inexperience indoors, the pre-race favourite could arguably be the American- based Ivorian Murielle Ahuore, who set the yardstick with a 7.00 world-lead last month and holds the four fastest times in the world in 2013.

Men’s high jump » Entry list
Robbie Grabarz is to renew his rivalry with Aleksey Dmitrik and Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov, who could present the greatest challenge at the European Indoor Championships next month. Russian Dmitrik beat Grabarz last month in Glasgow and has since set an indoor PB of 2.36m which is two centimetres in excess of Grabarz’s corresponding indoor lifetime best.

However, Grabarz showed commanding form at the UK Indoor Championships with a 2.31m victory before two respectable attempts at 2.39m. The form of Ukhov has fluctuated this winter, but cannot be overlooked.

Women’s pole vault » Entry list
Holly Bleasdale goes head to head with Olympic silver medallist Yarisley Silva from Cuba, to whom she suffered her first defeat of the season in Bydgoszcz on Tuesday. The Brit has been on top form this year and heads the world rankings with her 4.77m from the national indoor championships last weekend.

Men’s 400m » Entry list
The British pair of Nigel Levine and Richard Strachan have a great chance of making an impact on this race as Olympic silver medallist Luguelin Santos of Dominican Republic is yet to break 47-seconds indoors this year.

However, Olympic bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago will be a danger and looks set for a fast season’s debut after a world-leading 200m of 20.60 last month.

Elsewhere, world record-holder and Olympic champion Aries Merritt has pulled out of the 60m hurdles due to hamstring problems. Jenny Meadows’ name is on the entry-list for the 800m and if the reigning European indoor champion competes, this will be her first competitive outing since September 2011. Hannah England is also set to return to action for the first time in 2013 and will compete in the 1500m.

» Find a full preview of the event in this week’s Athletics Weekly, out Thursday Feb 14. The British Athletics Indoor Grand Prix is being televised live on BBC 1 from 1pm on Saturday Feb 16. See next week’s AW for full coverage from Birmingham.

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