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London Diamond League preview

11 July 2012



The eighth stop of the Samsung Diamond League circuit will see 13 Flame athletes compete in London, exactly two weeks before the Opening Ceremony takes place in the capital city.

The first Australian in action will be Steve Hooker (WA) in the men’s pole vault alongside the top three pole vaulters of the season, Renaud Lavillenie(FRA), Bjorn Otto (GER) and Malte Mohr (GER).

In the discus Benn Harradine (VIC) faces four-time Olympian Virgilijus Alekna (LTU), who won gold in Sydney and Athens as well as Gerd Kanter (EST) the reigning Olympic champion.

Also looking to defend his Olympic title is Irving Saladino (PAN) who will compete in the long jump on Friday evening. Silver medalist from Beijing Godfrey Mokoena (RSA) is also in the field which includes both Mitchell Watt (QLD) and Henry Frayne (QLD). 

Watt has won both competitions he’s entered outside of Australia this season, in New York and last weekend in Madrid, while Frayne’s best leap of 8.27m (+1.4m/s) still has him within the top ten best jumps of the year. Britain’s Greg Rutherford (GBR) leads the waywith his 8.35 (+2.0) effort in Chula Vista (USA) in May.

The first Flame in action on the track will be Kaila McKnight (VIC) in her Olympic discipline the 1500m. Having set a personal best at the Diamond League event in Shanghai in May, McKnight will face two-time world champion Maryam Jamal (BRN) as well America’s Olympic-bound trio Shannon Rowbury, Jenny Simpson and Morgan Uceny.

Friday night’s action climaxes with a thrilling men’s 5000m and delighting the home crowd will be Mo Farah (GBR) who set a world-lead in Eugene last month. That was until the Diamond League event in Paris on Friday, when 10 athletes ran faster, six of whom went sub 12:50.00.
 
It’s been six years since Craig Mottram (VIC) lined up against Farah and yet now the Athens 2004 finalist, who is heading to his fourth Olympic Games, could face the world champion twice within the space of a month in London.
 
Mottram ran a season’s best of 13:16.08 in Belgium on Saturday while compatriot Collis Birmingham (VIC) will run his first 5000m since setting a personal best of 13:10.51 in Eugene last month.Also racing is current 10,000m Oceania record holder Ben St Lawrence (NSW).
 
On Saturday Sally Pearson (Qld) will look to maintain her unbeaten hurdles run in 2012. With a heats and final format, which Pearson favours in her preparation for the Olympics, the world champion will have two hit outs.
 
Pearson extended her world-lead to 12.40 (+0.0) in Paris last Friday, where Virginia Crawford (USA) proved stiff competition. Tiffany Porter (GBR) was also in that field and lines up again in Crystal Palace, as does Jamaica’s number one hurdler Brigitte Foster-Hylton and a third of the America trio who will race at the Games, Kellie Wells.
 
Kim Mickle (WA) and Kathryn Mitchell (VIC) will throw in the same competition for the second time this year, after Mickle beat Mitchell at the Australian Athletics Championships in Melbourne in March.
 
Both javelin throwers arrive in London having recently thrown new personal bests, Mitchell 64.34m in May in Ostrava (CZE) while Mickle’s effort of 64.12m recorded in Mannheim (GER) last month is still awaiting IAAF ratification.
 
They will face world-leader Sunette Viljoen (RSA) and reigning Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova (CZE).
 
Frayne will make a second appearance at the London Diamond League on Saturday in the triple jump, alongside home favourite Phillips Idowu (GBR) and Christian Taylor (USA), the world champion and world-leader with 17.63m (+0.0).
 
Finally on the track Ryan Gregson (NSW) and Jeff Riseley (VIC) will contest the one-mile. Gregson returned from injury to finish ninth in this event last year, while Riseley arrives having clocked a season’s best of 3:36.10 to win the 1500m in Finland last Sunday. 

Headlining the competition is Bernard Lagat  (USA), who will head to his third Olympic Games in search of his first Olympic title, Olympic 1500m silver medalist Nick Willis (NZL) and the fastest man in the field Caleb Ndiku (KEN).
 
Samsung Diamond League (Aviva London Grand Prix)
London (GBR) Friday, July 13
 
17:35 (02:35 AEST)
Pole Vault: Steve Hooker (WA)
 
17:40 (02:40 AEST)
Discus: Benn Harradine
 
19:00 (04:00 AEST)
Long Jump: Henry Frayne (Qld), Mitchell Watt (Qld)
 
19:36 (04:36 AEST)
1500m: Kaila McKnight (Vic)
 
20:09 (05:09 AEST)
5000m: Collis Birmingham (Vic), Craig Mottram (Vic), Ben St Lawrence (NSW)
 
Samsung Diamond League (Aviva London Grand Prix)
London (GBR) Saturday, July 14
 
14:44/14:54 (23:44/23:45 AEST)
100mH: Sally Pearson (Qld)
 
15:20 (00:20 AEST)
Javelin: Kim Mickle (WA), Kathryn Mitchell (Vic)
 
15:32 (00:32 AEST)
Triple Jump: Henry Frayne (Qld)
 
15:37 (00:37 AEST)
One-mile: Ryan Gregson (NSW), Jeff Riseley (Vic)
 
16:39 (01:39 AEST)
100mH final
 
Athletics Australia

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