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Collins and Williamson for Series

Kim Collins

Kim Collins

Former world champion Kim Collins and World Championships relay bronze medallist Simeon Williamson are the latest names to be added to star studded 100m line-ups at the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix and Aviva London Grand Prix this summer.

Both athletes will compete at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium on 10 July while Williamson will go on to compete at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on 5-6 August, the only two-day meet in the Samsung Diamond League calendar.

Already on the bill for both events is Tyson Gay, the fastest man on the planet in 2010, former world record holder Asafa Powell and Birmingham-based European silver medallist Mark Lewis-Francis.

But having broken his lifetime best over 60m indoors earlier this year, and clocked his fastest time in six years with victory in Hengelo last Sunday, Collins has warned messers Gay, Powell and Lewis-Francis not to underestimate what is destined to be one of the strongest 100m line-ups of the season.

“I’m really looking forward to competing in the UK again – I was there just a few months ago for the indoor season and it seemed to set me up for a good run, so visiting England again will be great,” he said.

“I know that both London and Birmingham will have a great field. Asafa and Tyson will be competing but I need to make sure that the attention is not just on those two. I’ve had a good year so far and I want to keep on going, getting some great times, and hopefully put up a good fight in England.

“I’ve been competing in a lot of races over the outdoor season so far and I hope to keep that performance up. Rome was my first Diamond League event, again I came up against Powell and of course Bolt! Hopefully I’ll be able to do it in the UK.”

Collins is no stranger to Birmingham, having competed in the city on six occasions – including the World Indoor Championships in 2003 where he picked up silver – and most recently at the Aviva Grand Prix in February.

But astonishingly, the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix will be the first time he has competed outdoors in the city since 2004 and the 35-year-old admits he is looking forward not only to experiencing the atmosphere of a full-house at the Alexander Stadium, but also to partaking in his customary pre-event Balti, as is his tradition when in town.

“It’ll be my first time competing in Birmingham in the outdoor season for years,” he added. “I’ve competed indoors there several times before and we always get a great reception from the crowd so I’m sure that Alexander Stadium will be the same – I’m really looking forward to it. Plus I always get treated to a nice curry when I’m in town!”

Meanwhile, Williamson – who saw off compatriot Dwain Chambers in impressive style to become UK 100m champion in his last outing at the Alexander Stadium in 2009 prior to his 4 x 100m bronze medal relay performance at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin – returned to action in Jamaica three weeks ago after a frustrating spell on the sidelines due to injury since September 2009.

But with two Samsung Diamond League events in the diary – Birmingham and London – and another Aviva Series appearance on the cards at the Aviva UK Trials and Championships on 29-31 July, Williamson is confident he can reclaim his form and give athletics fans around the nation something to cheer about.

“Having been side lined for most of 2010 I’m excited to be back this year, racing in front of the home fans and hopefully laying down some good times,” he said. “I’ve always loved running at the Aviva London Grand Prix, but this year is going to be even more special because it’s going to be exactly a year until the Games and I expect there to be an even bigger buzz.”

Collins and Williamson join an all-star cast of British and international athletes set to head to the UK this summer, adding their names to a growing list of stars already signed to the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix and Aviva London Grand Prix meets. Asafa Powell (100m), Tyson Gay (100m), Mark Lewis-Francis (100m), Christine Ohuruogu (400m), Sanya Richards-Ross (400m), Jenny Meadows (800m), David Oliver (110m hurdles), Phillips Idowu (triple jump), Mo Farah (5000m), Andreas Thorkildsen (javelin throw) and Carmelita Jeter (100m, 200m) will all be in action in the UK this summer, fast building as the marquee destination of the global league series.

The Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix will be at Birmingham Alexander Stadium on 10 July and the Aviva London Grand Prix will be at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre 5-6 August.