Preview: Grabarz goes for glory as teams gear up for Glasgow

Line-up at British Athletics International Match includes Lagat, Jeter, Collins and Greene

Robbie Grabarz (Victah Sailer)

Athletes pulling on the British vest for the first time since London 2012 will face tough opposition from a host of World, Olympic and European medallists from the USA, Germany, Russia and a Commonwealth Select team at the British Athletics Glasgow International Match on Saturday.

The only world-class team competition of the indoor season will see action take place at the new Emirates Arena. Led by Olympic bronze medallist and European high jump champion Robbie Grabarz, the British team will target their eleventh win in the fixture, going head-to-head with teams from the USA, Germany, Russia and the Commonwealth for the glory.

Of all the events, the men’s 600m is set to provide possibly the most fascinating test, as World 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene and Olympic 800m finalist Andrew Osagie go head-to-head over three laps. Both athletes will have their sights set on Ikem Billy’s 28-year-old British indoor 600m record of 1:17.6 but will also have to watch out for USA’s Duane Solomon who has an indoor PB of 1:17.0 and could pose a serious threat.

The men’s 60m will see 2010 World Indoor champion Dwain Chambers take on 2003 100m World Champion Kim Collins of St. Kitts & Nevis, and American Mike Rodgers, who finished second to Chambers in Doha in 2010.

On the women’s side, Carmelita Jeter, the second fastest woman of all time over 100m, will headline the 60m. She will take on a strong field including Germany’s European champion Verena Sailer.

Grabarz faces Russia’s World Indoor silver medallist Alexey Dmitrik in the high jump, while Matthew Centrowitz, the 2011 World Championship 1500m bronze medallist, will take on Kenyan Bethwel Birgen, a 3:31.00 performer outdoors, and British youngster Charlie Grice in the 1500m.

Andy Vernon will be looking for another win to add to his victory at the McCain Cardiff Cross Challenge last weekend when he lines up for the 3000m. He’ll be joined by multiple world and Olympic medallist Bernard Lagat and former junior world record holder for 3000m and world indoor silver medallist Augustine Choge.

Britain’s two best female 400m hurdlers will go head to head in the 400m flat. Perri Shakes-Drayton, part of the gold medal winning British 4x400m relay team at the World Indoor Championships last March, runs for Great Britain whilst Scottish Commonwealth Games silver medallist Eilidh Child will compete for the Commonwealth Select.

World Indoor triple jump champion Yamile Aldama will take on Trecia Smith of Jamaica, while Scotland’s three time Olympian Lee McConnell will face Britain’s Margaret Adeoye, Germany’s Inna Weit, Olga Belkina of Russia and American Cambrya Jones in the 200m.

At this year’s event the new venue is not to be the only ‘first’, as the Emirates Arena also plays host to the first disability events to ever be held in the British Athletics Glasgow International Match’s 25 year history.

Libby Clegg, who won silver in the T12 100m in London, will headline the T11/12 60m event and Stef Reid, who won Paralympic silver in the F44 long jump, will compete in a competitive F44/46 long jump field.

After the success of the London Paralympic Games last year, Reid believes that hosting disability events within the Glasgow International Match shows that there is a bright future for the sport leading up to Rio 2016 and beyond.

“I’m really excited at the prospect of competing in Glasgow on Saturday – it speaks volumes for what London 2012 achieved,” she said. “For me I don’t think it’s about integration, it’s about the idea of respect and part of it is public movement.

“We have to realise that Paralympic movement is evolving and professionalising – it’s not quite where it needs to be yet, but it’s getting there. The more people that see and understand what we do, that will naturally happen.”

Three members of the British gold medal winning T37 4x100m relay team from London, Olivia Breen, Katrina Hart and Jenny McLoughlin, will also line up  in Glasgow in the 60m. T46 100m Paralympic bronze medallist Ola Abidogun will also take on a world class field in the T46 60m.

» Find a full event-by-event preview in the January 24 issue of AW, which is available here. BBC1 will show the event live from 1:30-4:30pm. For startlists, timetable and live results, click here. And be sure to follow Athletics Weekly on twitter during the meeting for live updates.

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