Get set for this weekend’s Great CityGames as we take a look ahead to some of the action on offer
Athletes will again take to the streets of Manchester city centre on Saturday as Great CityGames action returns, with Jessica Ennis-Hill, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Richard Kilty and Greg Rutherford among those set to compete on a temporary track on Deansgate and in an athletics arena in Albert Square.
Injury problems and then becoming mum to her now nine-month-old son Reggie mean that Ennis-Hill hasn’t competed since July 2013 and she faces a tough test on her return. The 29-year-old takes to the track to race British record-holder and European champion Tiffany Porter, European indoor 60m hurdles silver medallist Lucy Hatton and USA’s world champion Brianna Rollins in the 100m hurdles.
“I’m really looking forward to making my competitive return,” said Ennis-Hill, who will be competing in front of BBC television cameras and an expected crowd of 25,000. “The atmosphere in Manchester is always amazing. Street athletics is a lot of fun because you are really close to the fans.”
Johnson-Thompson, who broke Ennis-Hill’s British record en route to pentathlon gold at the European Indoor Championships in Prague in March, will be making her Great CityGames Manchester debut and competes in the 200m hurdles against the likes of European 400m hurdles champion Eilidh Child.
World and European indoor 60m champion Kilty lines up in the 100m and also takes part in a special mixed 2x100m relay, partnering European and Commonwealth 200m silver medallist Jodie Williams, while Rutherford returns to take on the likes of Ignisious Gaisah of the Netherlands in the long jump.
Here we mark out just some of the events in the action-packed programme worth keeping an eye on. For a more in-depth event-by-event preview see the May 7 edition of AW magazine which is available to order here or view digitally here.
Two months after adding the European indoor 60m crown to the world indoor title he won in 2014, Gateshead Harrier Richard Kilty faces an intriguing 100m head-to-head with Kim Collins, the 38-year-old St Kitts and Nevis speed merchant who was the undisputed world number one on the boards in the 2015 indoor season. Collins, who won the 2002 Commonwealth Games 100m title in Manchester, and Kilty have met four times at 100m and Collins has won all four.
The line-up also includes CJ Ujah, the 21-year-old Londoner who broke through the ten second barrier last summer, and 2010 world indoor 60m silver medallist Mike Rodgers of the USA.
In the IPC T44 event, USA’s Paralympic silver medallist Richard Browne takes on Felix Streng, the double world junior champion from Germany who was a surprise winner over 200m in Manchester a year ago.
Women’s 100m hurdles
In her first competition since July 2013, Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill goes head-to-head with the woman who broke her British record for the 100m hurdles at the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakesh in September last year. Tiffany Porter’s 12.51 seconds clocking in Morocco shaved 0.03 seconds off the time Ennis-Hill recorded in the opening event of her triumphant heptathlon campaign at London 2012.
The returning Ennis-Hill will also have to contend with reigning world champion Brianna Rollins of the United States and the rising Briton Lucy Hatton, who took 60m hurdles silver at the European Indoor Championships two months ago.
Men’s 110m hurdles
Britain’s Lawrence Clarke, who was fourth in the Olympic final in London in 2012, faces a tough test against two reigning global champions. The 2010 Commonwealth bronze medallist lines up against Aries Merritt, the American who clinched Olympic gold in London and then clocked a world record 12.80 seconds in Brussels in 2012, and American David Oliver, winner of the 2013 world title in Moscow. Also in the field is Olympic sixth-placer Orlando Ortega of Cuba.
Flying Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers takes on the likes of Dina Asher-Smith, who claimed her first major individual senior medal and became the quickest teenager in history over 60m at the Euro Indoors in March. The women’s 150m had also been due to see Jodie Williams in action, but the young British sprinter who claimed European 200m silver in Schippers’ slipstream in Zurich last August has failed to recover in time from the hamstring tear that also kept her out of the IAAF World Relays.
The field also features another burgeoning Brit, European 100m bronze medallist Ashleigh Nelson, and USA’s Stacey Ann Smith.
Men’s long jump
Greg Rutherford tackles his first competition of an outdoor season in which he aims to complete a full set of major championship gold medals with victory at the World Championships in Beijing. Rutherford, who topped the world rankings with a British record leap of 8.51m last year, will be up against one of the men who made the medal frame at the last World Championships in Moscow two years ago: runner-up Ignisious Gaisah of the Netherlands.
Intriguingly, he also faces Dan Bramble, the 24-year-old Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier who leapt to fifth place on the UK all-time list with a 8.21m jump in Clermont, Florida, two weeks ago. British indoor record holder Chris Tomlinson and Americans Mikese Morse and Mike Hartfield complete the line-up.
Timetable – Saturday May 9
11:15 – Women’s pole vault (Albert Square)
12:21 – Great School Sprint – Girl’s B 150m
12:28 – Great School Sprint – Boy’s B 150m
12:35 – Great School Sprint National Final – Girl’s 150m
12:42 – Great School Sprint National Final – Boy’s 150m
13:05 – Men’s long jump (Albert Square)
13:12 – Women’s 150m
13:22 – Women’s 200m hurdles
13:32 – Men’s 200m hurdles
13:44 – Men’s 100m
13:57 – Women’s 100m
14:06 – Men’s T44 100m
14:10 – Women’s long jump (Albert Square)
14:21 – Men’s 150m
14:35 – Men’s 110m hurdles
14:44 – Women’s 100m hurdles
14:53 – Mixed 2 x 100m relay
» A more in-depth preview to this weekend’s Great CityGames Manchester and Morrisons Great Manchester Run action can be found in the May 7 edition of AW magazine which is available to order here or view digitally here
» Fans in the UK can watch the Great CityGames live on BBC One and online from 13:00-15:00 on Saturday. Follow Athletics Weekly on Twitter @AthleticsWeekly and keep and eye on athleticsweekly.com for updates and coverage