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Page last updated at 19:21 GMT, Monday, 14 February 2011

Felix Sanchez set for 400m hurdles race in Birmingham

Aviva UK Indoor Grand Prix
Venue: NIA, Birmingham Date: Saturday 19 February
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One and BBC Sport website (UK only) 1300-1630

Felix Sanchez
Sanchez (centre) became Olympic champion in Athens seven years ago

Former Olympic champion Felix Sanchez will compete in the UK's first ever 400m indoor hurdles competition at the Grand Prix in Birmingham on Saturday.

The Dominican Republic star, 33, will face Britain's Rick Yates, American Reuben McCoy and France's Heni Kechi.

"I'm looking forward to being part of history making. It would be great to win the first UK event," Sanchez said.

Other Brits in action are triple jumper Phillips Idowu, hurdler Andy Turner and fit-again Kelly Sotherton.

Idowu, current world and European champion, will be competing in his first event of the season at the NIA, while former heptathlete Sotherton will run in the 400m.

Winter has gone really well. The world champs is a stepping stone to 2012

Phillips Idowu

Sotherton, 34, was crowned British 400m indoor champion in Sheffield at the weekend after performing for the first time in two years following two major injuries.

One of the biggest attractions on Saturday will be two-time world champion Sanchez running in an event originated in France and staged at various meets in Europe but never before in the UK.

New York-born Sanchez, who won Olympic gold for the Domincan Republic at the 2004 Athens Games, said: "It's a unique event to run indoors and you don't see it that often anywhere in the world.

"It's really exciting to be part of and also watch as it's totally different to how the race is run outdoors.

"It's the first time this race has been run indoors in the UK so I'm looking forward to it. It would be great to be the first person to win the event in the country, although I'm sure Dai Greene would probably want that title too at some point!"

Kelly Sotherton
Sotherton is smiling again after an injury-ravaged two years

Triple jumper Idowu is delighted to be returning to competitive action with his world title defence coming up in Daegu later this year, as well as a home Olympics drawing near.

"Winter has gone really well although we had a change of plans as I didn't go to the Commonwealths," the 32-year-old current European champion said.

''My main goal is to defend my world title. In my mind it's an 18-month plan. That's how the plan is set out. The world champs is a stepping stone to 2012."

Double European champion Mo Farah is eyeing another British record in the 5,000m, two years after setting a new British indoor 3,000m record in the same event.

It will be Farah's second event of the indoor season and he will be favourite to pip the likes of American Galen Rupp and Kenyan duo Sammy Mutahi and Bethwell Birgen having recently come second against stiff opposition at the Indoor Grand Prix in Boston.

Craig Pickering heads a strong GB line-up that includes Harry Aikines Aryeetey and Mark Lewis-Francis in the 60m sprints.

The 24-year-old, fresh from beating European 100 and 200m double champion Christophe Lemaitre at the Sparkassen Cup in Stuttgart, will also be up against Commonwealth champion Lerone Clarke and Portugal's Francis Obikwelu.

see also
Williams' coach defends decision
14 Feb 11 |  Athletics
Ennis starts season with fine win
29 Jan 11 |  Athletics
Ennis withdraws over injury risk
13 Feb 11 |  Athletics
Chambers wins fourth indoor title
12 Feb 11 |  Athletics
Sanchez storms to gold
26 Aug 04 |  Athletics
Sanchez wins in style
29 Aug 03 |  World Athletics 2003
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics

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