Thompson-Herah and Miller-Uibo among Birmingham’s star athletes

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Four individual gold medalists from the Tokyo Olympics and five other reigning world champions will star at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix of Birmingham as Indoor World Tour Gold the series reaches UK shores on Saturday.

World Athlete of the Year Elaine Thompson-Herah hasn’t raced internationally since last year’s Wanda Diamond League final in Zurich, where she capped off an incredible season that included three gold medals Olympic and Jamaican records for 100m (10.54) and 200m (21.53), placing her second on the all-time world lists in both events.

The 29-year-old enjoys racing on UK indoor tracks. Apart from his two World Indoor Championship appearances, Thompson-Herah’s only indoor races have been at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix: twice when held in Glasgow and twice in Birmingham. And both times it has been held in Birmingham, she has emerged victorious – with a time of 6.98 in 2017 and 7.13 in 2019.

But Thompson-Herah will have strong opposition in the form of world 200m bronze medalist Mujinga Kambundji, who beat Thompson-Herah to world indoor 60m bronze in Birmingham 2018. Olympic finalist Daryll Neita, who has improved to 7.15 this year, is also on the court, as is American Destiny Smith-Barnett, who has a Kambundji-identical season high of 7.14.

Like Thompson-Herah, Mondo Duplantis also has fond memories of the Muller Indoor Grand Prix. In his final appearance at the event of 2020, when held in Glasgow, he set a world pole vault record at 6.18m.

Since then, the young Swede has won an Olympic gold medal. He also had numerous attempts to increase his world record – many of which were close, but ultimately unsuccessful. However, being back at this meeting might provide him with the inspiration he needs.

Thiago Braz, who preceded Duplantis as Olympic champion, British record holder Harry Coppell and American Nate Richartz are among the other entrants.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo has never been the most prolific of indoor runners, but the two-time Olympic 400m champion is making a rare appearance on the boards at her specialist distance.

Despite her tall stature, the Bahamian has always performed well in the tight turns of indoor inclined tracks. Last year, for example, she set national indoor records of 50.21 in the 400m and 22.40 in the 200m. Although she hasn’t raced since the Olympics, Miller-Uibo’s pedigree means she will always start as a favorite in Birmingham.

Jamaican Stephenie Ann McPherson, outdoor performer in less than 50 seconds and double winner of this meeting, will be among Miller-Uibo’s main opponents, alongside Polish European champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic and European champion Europe 4x400m indoor Lieke Klaver.

Mariya Lasitskene is the fourth Olympic gold medalist to compete in Birmingham. The multiple world high jump champion opened her 2022 season with a clearance of 1.93m in Banska Bystrica earlier this week. But Australia’s Eleanor Patterson, winner at Banska Bystrica with an Oceanian indoor record of 1.99m, will also be in action on Saturday in what should be a thrilling rematch between the two.

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