Rudisha and Asbel all set

World and Olympic champion David Rudisha in a past action. /Courtesy
World and Olympic champion David Rudisha in a past action. /Courtesy

World champions David Rudisha and Dafne Schippers are among the latest athletes to confirm participation in the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham on June 5.

Kenya’s 800m world record-holder David Rudisha will step down to 600m as he prepares to defend his Olympic title in Rio later this year. The world champion won over the same distance in his last appearance in Birmingham two years ago, clocking a PB of 1:13.71.

“I loved running 600m at the Birmingham Diamond League in 2014 and I’m really looking forward to doing it again,” said Rudisha. “The athletes always get amazing support at British events and running 600m is a good part of my preparations for Olympic Year. My training has been going well and I am looking forward to a good year.”

His compatriot Asbel Kiprop will make only his second appearance in Birmingham following victory in the Emsley Carr Mile in 2014. “I have great memories of winning the mile at the Birmingham Diamond League in 2014 and hopefully I can run well again this year,” said the three-time world 1500m champion. “2016 is a huge year for me, I want to win back the Olympic title and challenge my personal best. Birmingham will be an important race for me to see how my training has been going.”

World 200m champion Dafne Schippers will compete at the Alexander Stadium for the first time when she lines up against British record-holder Dina Asher-Smith in the 100m.

“2016 is a very important year for me with the Olympic Games taking place in Brazil,” said Schippers. “The Birmingham Diamond League will be a good race to test myself early in the season and start the road to Rio. I’m looking forward to competing in front of another great British crowd and hopefully continuing my form from last year into this summer.”

Asher-Smith will return to the Alexander Stadium for the first time since setting a championship record on her way to claiming the British title in 2015. She set five British records in 2015 and at last year’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham she ran a superb 200m to finish third behind nine-time world champion Allyson Felix in an extremely close race.

“I’m so excited to be running at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting on 5 June,” said Asher-Smith. “I had so much fun last year and it was a great opportunity to be able to race against some of the best women in the world. I expect it to be a strong field and I’m looking forward to challenging myself over the 100m.”

New Zealand’s Valerie Adams will be one of the main attractions in the field events. The two-time Olympic shot put champion holds the stadium record at the Alexander Stadium with 20.52m and has twice won at this event before, in 2012 and 2014.

European 200m champion Adam Gemili will return to the scene of his first sub-10-second performance to compete over 100m again. The 22-year-old finished second with a time of 9.97 in 2015 and is hoping for another good run this time round.