Pair are among the 13 European medal-winning British athletes set to compete at the Müller Grand Prix
Katarina Johnson-Thompson looks to sign off her strong season in style, while Laura Muir has record-breaking aims for the Müller Grand Prix meeting in Birmingham on Saturday.
The pair are among the 13 European medal-winning British athletes who are set to compete at the Alexander Stadium as the Diamond League series makes its last stop ahead of the two finals in Zurich and Brussels.
Johnson-Thompson secured silver after a PB performance in the heptathlon in Berlin and will contest the long jump in Birmingham, while Muir targets Dame Kelly Holmes’ 21-year-old British 1000m record after gaining 1500m gold in Germany.
Earlier in the year, both athletes also added global medals to their CV in the West Midlands city as Johnson-Thompson claimed the world indoor pentathlon title and Muir secured medals in both the 1500m and 3000m.
Further success for Johnson-Thompson came in Australia, as she won the Commonwealth heptathlon title.
“It’s been a brilliant 2018, right from the outset,” said Johnson-Thompson. “Being crowned British indoor champion in February, world indoor champion in March, Commonwealth champion in April and now European silver medallist last week.
“The support from the British fans has been amazing all year from Birmingham to Gold Coast and Berlin.
“I remember the Birmingham crowd really spurring me on to win the world indoor title, so naturally I have a soft spot for Birmingham as it was where I won my first ever world title which was extra special to do so in front of such passionate fans.
“That type of support keeps you motivated and determined to go and win more medals and make people back home proud,” she added. “So to have done that and now be coming back to the city where the best year of my career so far started will be special.
“Hopefully I can sign off the season with a good performance and enjoy a great meet with the fans.”
Among her competition will be Germany’s European champion Malaika Mihambo and British record-holder Shara Proctor, who claimed European long jump bronze in Berlin, plus Britain’s world leader Lorraine Ugen and European fourth-placer Jazmin Sawyers.
Muir became the first British female to win the outdoor European 1500m title and now she is aiming to make further history as she looks to beat Holmes’ 2:32.55.
“First and foremost, I am looking to win the race but if I can break the British record in doing so that would be fantastic,” Muir said. “1000m is a distance I don’t often run over, but I am looking forward to the challenge and just going out there and hopefully putting on a show for the home crowd.
“You know that any record held by Dame Kelly Holmes is going to be a tough one to beat, but I feel in really good shape and am going to go after it with everything I’ve got.”
On returning to race on home soil, she added: “We British athletes are incredibly lucky to have such a great event straight on the back of a major championships – if gives us the opportunity to say thank you to the amazing British fans for all of their support through the European Championships, and obviously we all want to put on a show for them and perform really well too.
“I’ve had some great times in Birmingham – I remember that when I broke the British 1000m record indoors there last February the crowd were so loud that I couldn’t hear my footsteps or sense where anyone else was in the race – it was crazy – so I’m sure it’ll be much the same on Saturday at the Alexander Stadium.”
Further history was made in the women’s 1500m in Berlin as Laura Weightman claimed European bronze – the first time two British females have both been on the same European podium – with Weightman racing over the same distance in Birmingham.
Joining Muir in the 1000m will be her fellow Brits Adelle Tracey, Jess Judd, Jemma Reekie and Katie Snowden, while the 1500m is also set to feature South Africa’s world and Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya and recently-crowned European 5000m champion Sifan Hassan of Netherlands.
In the sprints, and already confirmed to be competing in Birmingham, triple European champion Dina Asher-Smith will take on the 200m not only as the best in Europe, but also the quickest in the world this year.
Featuring a stacked field, all eight of the entrants – including Marie-Josée Ta Lou, Dafne Schippers and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – have a sub-22.20 personal best.
On the men’s side, European champion Zharnel Hughes and silver medallist Reece Prescod will take to the start line in a star-studded men’s 100m, with company coming from 200m silver medallist Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and fellow Brits Adam Gemili, Ojie Edoburun, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and CJ Ujah, plus South Africa’s Akani Simbine and Americans Christian Coleman and Noah Lyles.
Returning to the track they each know so well are Birchfield Harriers Matt Hudson-Smith and Meghan Beesley.
Newly-crowned European 400m champion Hudson-Smith will surely have an eye on the British record on his home track, while Beesley is back in action after her breakthrough European 400m hurdles bronze.
Eilish McColgan, the European 5000m silver medallist, will race over 3000m in Birmingham, with fellow Scot Jake Wightman, who won 1500m bronze in Germany, contesting the 800m.
Holly Bradshaw will form part of a star-studded women’s pole vault competition, just nine days after becoming the first British female ever to win an outdoor pole vault medal at a European Championships.
For tickets visit britishathletics.org.uk.