24 Jul 2009

3 New Zealanders competing in London this weekend

6:18 am on 24 July 2009

New Zealand will have three athletes competing in the London Grand Prix track and field meeting this weekend.

Kimberley Smith will race the world's best women distance runners over 5000 metres, Adrian Blincoe is in the men's 5000 metres and Monique Williams competes over 400 metres.

The London Grand Prix is Britain's showpiece athletics event this summer. It takes place at Crystal Palace as the highlight of the athletics summer over two days. Olympic champions and the world's elite are expected to battle it out as they look to place fear in their competitors ahead of the World Championships in Berlin the following month.

The feature of the meeting will be the clash of the world's top sprinters including Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay.

Kimberley Smith has just come down from a training base at altitude in Colorado and will be in good shape to take on the Ethiopian Dibaba sisters and a field of top class female distance runners. Smith's best time over 5000m was set indoors in February this year in New York and stands at 14.39.89. Her best outdoor time is her New Zealand record of 14 minutes 45.93 seconds set in Rome in July last year.

Adrian Blincoe has his first race for some time following injury and will be aiming for a time of 13 minutes 29.00 seconds to confirm his place in the New Zealand team for the Berlin World Champs in three weeks. Blincoe's best time is his New Zealand record of 13 minutes 10.19 seconds set in Belgium last July.

Monique Williams has been in outstanding form recently over 200 metres, winning the World University Games title two weeks ago. Last week she set a personal best over 100 metres. At the London meeting she steps up to 400 metres to test herself against a quality field. With a personal best of 51.88 seconds set in March, the

New Zealand record of 51.60 seconds will be under threat.

Elsewhere in London, heptathlete Rebecca Wardell will be aiming for a selection confirming score of 5900 points.

Other members of the New Zealand team are preparing for the Berlin World Track and Field Champs at other training bases in Europe. The World Champs start on 15 August.