Muir and Johnson-Thompson among Britain's European stars and world's best confirmed for Müller Grand Prix Birmingham
European 1500m champion Laura Muir and European heptathlon silver medallist Katarina Johnson-Thompson are among the 13 European medal-winning Brits looking to continue their memorable 2018 seasons at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham this coming Saturday (18 August) at the Alexander Stadium.
Confirmed to be competing alongside the 12 other individual medallists who secured medals for Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Berlin, Muir was one of several Brits to make history at the European Championships as she became the first British female ever to win 1500m European outdoor gold.
Now aiming to make further history this coming weekend, Muir will take to the track in Birmingham with the aim of breaking Dame Kelly Holmes’ 21-year-old 1000m British record of`2:32.55.
Speaking on her excitement at having a world-class home-coming event as in the UK coupled with a British record attempt, Muir said:
“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.”
On Dame Kelly Holmes’ time to beat, 2:32.55, Muir said:
“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. 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.”
Further history was made in the women’s 1500m as Laura Weightman claimed European bronze – the first time two British females have both been on the same European podium – with Weightman running over the same distance in Birmingham.
Among those joining the pair is European heptathlon silver medallist Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who has confirmed she will continue what has been a memorable 2018 at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham.
Johnson-Thompson claimed silver in the heptathlon on Friday to add another international medal to her impressive haul following gold in the pentathlon at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham in March, and Commonwealth gold in April.
On continuing her memorable 2018 season in Birmingham, the city where she won world indoor gold in March, Johnson Thompson said:
“It’s been a brilliant 2018; right from the outset, being crowned British Indoor Championship 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, 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.”
Present in the same event is Shara Proctor, an athlete who by her own admission is “extremely excited” to return to Birmingham once more. Proctor still holds the record for the furthest jump in British history and has enjoyed a strong 2018 which was capped off with a European bronze medal
In the sprints, and already confirmed to be competing in Birmingham, triple European champion Dina Asher-Smith will take on the women’s 200m following her three gold medals in Berlin, not only as the best in Europe, but also the quickest in the world this year.
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 who steps down a distance he is no slouch in having run 9.99 previously.
Returning to the track they each know so well are Birchfield Harriers Matt Hudson-Smith and Meghan Beesley.
The newly crowned 400m champion of Europe, Hudson-Smith will compete in a stacked men’s 400m after winning his first individual major title, with the strength of the field making it plausible that the 22-year-old may well target the British record on his home track. For Beesley, a breakthrough European bronze medal will see her sure of a magnificent reception back at a track she knows so well.
A silver medal star over 5000m at the Olympiastadion, Eilish McColgan will run over the shorter distance of 3000m in Birmingham, with fellow Scot Jake Wightman racing the 800m, an event in which he continues to perform brilliantly as he continues to develop as one of Britain’s brightest middle-distance prospects.
Last but not least, Holly Bradshaw will be part of a star-studded women’s pole vault competition, just nine days after becoming the British female ever to win an outdoor pole vault at a European Championships.
See the world’s biggest stars at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham on Saturday 18 August at the Alexander Stadium; for tickets visit: https://www.britishathletics.org.uk/events-and-tickets/muller-grand-prix-birmingham/