Thursday, July 7, 2011

Samsung Diamond League action hot & heavy in Paris & Birmingham...

PARIS--The Samsung Diamond League kicks into high gear with two meetings this weekend--Friday's Meeting Areva at the Stade de France, and Sunday's Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix in Birmingham, England.

In Paris, a pair of Washington affiliated athletes who won national titles a fortnight ago--Kara Patterson (left/photo by Paul Merca) in the javelin, and Bernard Lagat in the 5000, return to competition after their victories in Eugene.

Patterson, who won her fourth straight national title in the javelin, will throw against a field that includes current Samsung Diamond Trophy leader Christina Obergfoll of Germany, current world leader Mariya Abakumova of Russia, and reigning Olympic champ Barbora Spotakova.

Patterson recently talked to media partner Universal Sports' Joe Battaglia about her season to date in this video interview:

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Lagat drops down in distance to 1500, where he finished second in the national championships to Oregon's Matthew Centrowitz, whom he'll face in Paris, along with fellow 2008 1500m Olympians Andrew Wheating and Leo Manzano.

The field also includes current Samsung Diamond League event leader and Olympic champ Asbel Kiprop, Olympic bronze medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand, Deresse Mekonnen of Ethiopia, and Amine Laalou of Morocco.

Washington alum and former world champ Brad Walker, who no-heighted at the national championships, looks to rebound in the pole vault where he'll face Samsung Diamond League leader Renaud Lavillenie from France and fellow countryman Romain Mesnil.

In the men's discus, another former Husky, Märt Israel from Estonia, competes against current Samsung Diamond League leader and countryman Gerd Kanter, the legendary Virgilijus Alekna from Lithuania, and defending world champ Robert Harting of Germany.

You can watch the Meeting Areva online on starting at 11 am, pacific time on Friday.

The link to the start lists for the Meeting Areva are here.

In Dublin, Ireland, Auburn/Riverside grad Jordan McNamara will run in the Morton Mile at the Clonliffe 125 Track & Field Grand Prix against Ireland's Alistair Cragg, Great Britain's Tim Bayley, and Americans Jack Bolas and Tommy Schmitz.

You can read the release here.

Two days later, the scene shifts across to Birmingham's Alexander Stadium for the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix in the English city.

Three time US Olympian Aretha Thurmond will face off against reigning Olympic champ and current US champ Stephanie Brown-Trafton in the discus.

Rainier Beach HS grad Ginnie Crawford, who finished fourth in the USA outdoor championships, will face a strong field in the 100-meter hurdles including US champ Kellie Wells, Christina Vukicevic of Norway, and Australia's Sally Pearson.

Former Husky Ingvill Måkestad will square off in a very competitive women's 1500 against the likes of Ethiopia's Gelete Burka, Burundi's Maryam Jamal, and new American champion Morgan Uceny.

Ebba Jungmark of Sweden, a former NCAA indoor champ at Washington State, faces Blanka Vlasic of Croatia, Anna Chicherova of Russia, USA runner-up Elizabeth Patterson, and Sweden's Emma Green in the women's high jump.

You can find the start lists for the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix here.

You can watch the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix online on starting at 10 am, pacific time on Sunday.

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