BIRMINGHAM (Sporting Alert) — Two-time Olympic 100 metres champion Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce and world champion Carmelita Jeter face off over 200m on Sunday at the Diamond League meet in Birmingham.
Fraser-Pryce, who continues to impress in the half-lap since taking it more seriously last year when she won the silver medal at the London Olympic Games, is coming off a world-leading 22.13 seconds performance to win the Jamaica trials.
The Jamaican sprinter is determined to run a similar time or even faster in Birmingham, as she continues to prepare for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, later this summer.
In fact, Fraser-Pryce said her plan is to come away with a victory.
“I’ve started the season well but I know there’s more to come from me,” the smiling and joyful Fraser-Pryce said.
“The 200 meters is looking very competitive already this year but I want to win at the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix in Birmingham and show that I’m still the woman to beat in the sprints going to Moscow.
“I had such a great welcome from the Birmingham public for the Jamaican team before the games, I’m really looking forward to putting on a show for the crowd and hopefully come out with a victory this year after finishing second at the meet in 2012.”
Jeter comes into the contest after recovering from a strained thigh muscle, which saw her hobbling to third place in the 100m behind the Jamaican in Shanghai in May.
“Once I’m past this it will be a lot better.
“I’m excited to be back and, hopefully, can get back to top form. Tomorrow I have to go out and run my own race, that’s the main thing.
“The big picture is Moscow, and I’ve got a lot of racing to do before then. I’ve got a lot of work to do to put things together.”
The Birmingham Diamond League has again assembled another world class field in almost all the starting line ups.
A host of Olympic medalists, including home hero Mo Farah, who captured the gold medal in both the 5,000m and 10,000m, are set for the meet.
Farah races in the 5000m against the Ethiopian pair of Hagos Gebrhiwet and Yenew Alamirew, the top two runners in 2013, in addition to reigning world 10,000m champion Ibrahim Jeilan, also from Ethiopia.
“2012 was an incredible year for me and I’m really looking forward to competing in front of a home crowd in the U.K. again,” Farah said.
“This is another big year with the world championships just around the corner and it’s always good to perform well in Birmingham.”
Elsewhere, at the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix, which takes place at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium, World and Olympic 100 hurdles champion Sally Pearson of Australia, who returned from a hamstring and quad injury with a winning performance in Ostrava, last week, takes on a strong field, which also includes London Olympics silver and bronze medallists, Dawn Harper-Nelson and Kellie Wells of USA.
The men’s 400m hurdles also welcome back all three medalists from the Olympics, with surprised champion Felix Sanchez from the Dominican Republic taking on American Michael Tinsley and Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson.
Great Britain’s reigning world champion Dai Greene is also in the field.
USA’s Jennifer Suhr and Brazilian world-leader Fabiana Murer will battle in the women’s pole vault, while Olympic champion and world record holder over the 110m Hurdles Aries Merritt races over that discipline.
Merritt was beaten recently at the U.S. trials, but he’s hoping to lay down a marker against a strong field on Sunday.
“I’m really looking forward to competing at the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix – Birmingham and testing myself against another world class field,” Merritt, who holds the meeting record at 12.95 and world record, at 12.80, said.
“Other hurdlers are running quick times this year so I’m sure we’ll all push each other and put on a great show for the Birmingham crowd.
“2012 was a breakthrough year for me but now I need to make sure I stay on top. I would love to add a World title to my Olympic one so this is another big summer for me.”
A total of 30 London 2012 Olympic Games medallists, including 11 reigning Olympic champions have been scheduled for the event.