News18 Jan 2017

High-powered long jump field announced for Birmingham


Katarina Johnson-Thompson in action at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix (© Getty Images)

The 2014 world indoor long jump silver medallist Katarina Johnson-Thompson, world indoor bronze medallist Lorraine Ugen and European silver medallist Jazmin Sawyers will face off in a high-powered long jump battle of the Brits at the Müller Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham on 18 February, the last stop of the five-meeting 2017 IAAF World Indoor Tour.

Five Olympic champions are among 14 medallists from the Rio 2016 Games who have so far signed up for the meeting at the Barclaycard Arena.

Johnson-Thompson, who is also the European indoor heptathlon champion, is looking for a strong performance in Birmingham to start an important year on a positive note.

“I’m really looking forward to competing again at the Müller Indoor Grand Prix on 18th February, it’s one of my favourite meets of the year," Johnson-Thompson said.

“I’m really excited to get back on the runway where I was fortunate enough to set a British indoor long jump record last time the event was there in 2015.”

Meanwhile, 2016 was a breakthrough year for Ugen who took the bronze medal at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 with a personal best jump of 6.93m, equalling Johnson-Thompson’s British indoor record set the year before.

“Winning my first major medal and jumping a British record at the World Indoors last year was amazing, so hopefully bigger distances will come from me during the 2017 season," Ugen said.

“I always love the atmosphere of the home crowd in Birmingham, so competing there is going to be really exciting for me. I think the long jump competition will be pretty exciting with the rest of the British jumpers providing a healthy rivalry to push us all to some fantastic jumps.”

Sawyers earned the silver medal at the European Championships and finished eighth in the Rio Olympic final. She has now relocated to Birmingham to train with 2004 Olympic heptathlon bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton, and the 2014 Commonwealth silver medallist is hoping the collaboration can help her to more success in 2017.

“This year is a big year for all British athletes and I really want to build on my performances from last year and hopefully get to the World Championships in London this summer," Sawyers said.

“I’m currently focusing hard on jumping well indoors and I’m really excited about competing against Kat and Lorraine.”

Organisers for the IAAF

2017 IAAF World Indoor Tour calendar
28 Jan – Boston, USA
1 Feb – Dusseldorf, GER
4 Feb – Karlsruhe, GER
10 Feb – Torun, POL
18 Feb – Birmingham, GBR