BT Great City Games Manchester and BUPA 10km Preview

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An array of world class athletes will go head-to-head in the streets of Deansgate tomorrow, for the BT Great City Games.

Now in its fifth year, the 2013 event will include Paralympic athletes for the first time, with stars such as Jonnie Peacock, and Alan Oliveira, gracing the city with their presence.

Crowds of up to 20,000 people are expected to line the streets, with the event giving spectators the unique opportunity to get closer to the action, for free.

Unfortunately, the hotly contested clash between Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Allyson Felix, in the 150m, has been cancelled.

The Jamaican was forced to withdraw, having sustained a hamstring injury after aggravating it at last Saturday’s Diamond League fixture, in Shanghai.

Felix, USA’s 200m superstar, will be returning for her third Great City Games.

The women’s 100m spectacle will be a domestic competition, with the line-up including Olympians Laura Turner and Margaret Adeoye, as well as former World Youth champion Asha Philip, and Bianca Williams.

Greg Rutherford  Another first, will be the addition of the long jump, which will include 2012 London Olympic gold medallist, Greg Rutherford, and Paralympic silver medallist, Stefanie Reid.

Rutherford commented: “I’m hugely looking forward to it.

“There’s only five guys in the field, and four rounds, so it’s a lot more fun.

“It’s not as highly competitive as some of the other ones, so you often perform well because you’re so relaxed.”

Peacock will compete in the 100m T43/44 event, which will be his first competitive outing since claiming Paralympic gold in the same distance, in London 2012.

The 19-year-old underwent a big ankle operation after London, and has only been back training a few months: “It’s my first outing [since London] so I’m not quite sure what shape I’m in.

“It’s going to be a good baseline for me to see where I’m at.

“This is the first time we are getting to see Paralympic events get involved and incorporated, which is a fantastic step forward for Paralympic sports.

“I’m excited, a little nervous, but I’m sure it’s going to be fun. I don’t know what it’s going to be like, it’s going to be interesting though.”                                                               

Adding to Manchester’s fantastic weekend of sport, will be the Bupa Great Manchester Run on Sunday 26, and the Bupa Junior and Mini Great Manchester Run on Bank Holiday Monday.

While the mass event on Sunday is expected to welcome around 40,000 runners, the elite race boasts a stellar line-up, too.

Haile Gebrselassie, undisputedly a distance running great, tops the men’s field, seeking his sixth 10km title in Manchester.

Haile Gebrselassie  The 40-year-old said: “My training is good, I ran in a race a week ago in Switzerland, and it was good.

“Of course to win will be one of my targets, and beside that, just to run a good time.

“The atmosphere for everyone taking part in this race is just amazing. When you run there is a lot of support, and many people watching.

“It will be a good race.”

Challenging the Ethiopian, will be Wilson Kipsang, bronze medallist in the 2012 Olympic marathon, and Moses Kipsiro, double gold medallist in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. 

The women’s race is headed by Gebrselassie’s compatriot, Tirunesh Dibaba. 

Host to numerous prestigious medals, Dibaba will debut in the event, with her sights set on adding her name to the list of previous winners.

Helen Clitheroe, the 2011 winner, and one of only two British runners to break the African dominance in the event, will take to the streets of Manchester as the main British contender. 

The Preston Harrier athlete spoke: