Flu stops Cheruiyot from Birmingham Grand Prix showdown

Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot at the Daegu 2011 IAAF World Championships

Kenya's double world 5000 and 10,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot and Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, has had to withdraw from this Saturday’s Aviva Grand Prix at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham after coming down with a bout of flu.

Cheruiyot, a star at British events over the past few years, spoke of her disappointment at not being able to compete at the Aviva Grand Prix where she had hoped to kickstart her season.

"Sadly I have withdrawn from the Aviva Grand Prix on Saturday in Birmingham at the NIA," she said.

"Just before I began my journey to the UK on Wednesday, I developed flu and do not feel well enough to travel. I need to take a few days off to recover so I can resume training as soon as possible in this important year.

"I was looking forward to the competition.  Training has been good in the past few months and I was looking forward to improving my Kenyan Indoor 3000m record.  The standard of athletes at the Aviva Grand Prix is very high and the sell-out crowd are really passionate supporters. 

"I have been competing in the UK meets every year since 2006.  UK events are some of the best in the world, I hope to come back to Birmingham to race in the outdoor season. Until then, I have my sights firmly set on the Olympics in London less than six months away. I wish all my competitors a great meet on Saturday."

England welcome

Meanwhile, Birmingham-based World silver medallist Hannah England today welcomed some of the USA and Jamaica’s leading athletes to the city she calls home ahead of this Saturday’s event.

England will be one of the stars of the show as a world-class line-up of athletes take to the track on Saturday in the biggest annual indoor athletics event on the planet.

With both the US and Jamaican athletics squads basing themselves in Birmingham this July ahead of the Olympic Games, Hannah met American sprint duo Danielle Carruthers and Bianca Knight, as well as Jamaican speedster Michael Frater and spoke of her excitement at racing against the world’s best at home this Saturday.

England said: “I’m so excited to race in front of a home crowd this weekend. I do a lot of my training right in the city centre here and I run past the NIA every other day.

“I feel like all year I’m waiting for this event and the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix in August so that I can show everyone what our sport is all about. I’ve got a lot of friends from university and some family who are coming along so it should be really fun.”

Racing in her favoured 1500m event on Saturday, the 24-year-old will go head-to-head with Ethiopian threat Genzebe Dibaba, with fellow Brit Claire Gibson also lining up against her.

England recently competed in the unfamiliar 3000m at the Aviva Indoor UK Trials and Championships last weekend, scooping her first indoor national title in the process, and the Oxford athlete admits the contest in Sheffield has left her confident in the showdown ahead.

She added: “I’ve done two indoor races and they’ve both gone really well but my coach yesterday called them my warm-up races and this the big one. It’s a really good quality race and Ian Stewart’s managed to put together a world-class field. It’s my last indoor race so I’m really going to give it my all.”

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