Diamond League 2014: High-Profile Britons to Watch at Birmingham Grand Prix

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2014

Britain's Mo Farah celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's 5000m final during the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, Switzerland, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Martin Meissner/Associated Press

The 2014 Diamond League makes its way back to the United Kingdom on Sunday as the elite of the athletic world come together for the Birmingham Grand Prix, each with maximum points hauls in their sights.

With only two more meets to go after this weekend's extravaganza, stars from across the globe are making last-gasp bids to claim a prize come the end of the 2014 Diamond League season.

It's a special homecoming for the Britons as much as anyone, and we examine some of those big figures set to entertain in front of a home crowd, some developing a steady wave of excitement, building up their Birmingham bows.


Chijindu Ujah, Men's 100-Metre Sprint

At just 20 years of age, Chijindu Ujah is Great Britain's latest sprinting sensation to shoulder the weight of a nation, and despite lacking in years, the youngster is already duelling well with the big boys.

On Thursday evening, Ujah beat a field of fearsome peers to finish third in the Stockholm edition of this year's men's 100 metres, just missing out on a sub-10-second time, per British Athletics:

The starlet will take no shame in finishing behind Jamaica's Nesta Carter and Keston Bledman of Trinidad and Tobago, the former finishing in 9.96 seconds.

In Birmingham, Chijindu will share the home-support spotlight with Harry "AA" Aikines-Aryeetey and Richard Kilty, but recent form suggests he has the ability to overcome his compatriots following his first-ever Diamond League podium.


Christine Ohuruogu, Women's 400-Metre Sprint

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Great Britain will dominate the women's 400-metre field on Sunday as things stand, with no less than four athletes from the hosting nation set to compete in Birmingham.

The United States accounts for three spots, while Jamaica's Shericka Williams takes up the remaining position, one of the stars Christine Ohuruogu will be viewing as her main competition.

Ohuruogu was unfortunate to miss out on a medal in this event at last week's European Championships, as BBC Sport can attest, but she'll be hoping to put any notion of a bad 2014 behind her for the Birmingham meet:

The 30-year-old will be the most seasoned veteran lining up in Sunday's 400 metres, and after failing to run a time under 51 seconds this season, will need to summon her very best if she's to rank among the top finishers.


Mo Farah, Men's Two Miles

Mo Farah put all the demons of a forgettable calendar year behind him to claim a momentous European double Zurich last weekend, claiming gold in both the 10,000-metre and 5,000-metre events.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

As the Press Association, via The Guardian, states, Farah's 2014 has been stifled by injury and illness, but his European Championship triumph was a resounding fight back on his behalf.

Despite the success, however, Farah told BBC Sport that he's not the legend some might make him out to be—yet:

Farah recently confirmed his attendance at the Birmingham Grand Prix, per the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) website:

I was gutted to have to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games but am really pleased that I’ll be back on the track racing for British fans at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix. I’ve retained my European 10,000m title and hope to be carrying the 5000m gold medal with me (which will be contested in Zurich on Sunday) as well, when I come to Birmingham next week.

I can’t wait to race again in Birmingham, I have competed there many times in the past and the fans always give all the athletes huge support.

It's a fairly scaled-down task for Farah by recent standards this Sunday, with the two-mile medium giving him something of a shorter-distance test than he'll have become used to.

However, it's just another opportunity for the Somali-born titan to show his dominance in British colours, and what better place to do it than in front of a home support?