INDIANAPOLIS – The world’s top ranked 110m hurdler, David Oliver, believes the forthcoming Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham – which sees three of the world’s best hurdlers go head to head - could well be a dress rehearsal of the IAAF World Championships in Daegu this summer.
Oliver, who opened his indoor season with a victory at Glasgow’s Aviva International Match on Saturday, lines up in a mouth-watering 60m hurdles competition at the NIA against newly crowned European and Commonwealth champion Andy Turner and World Indoor and Olympic champion Dayron Robles.
The Aviva Grand Prix on February 19 – the first of three Aviva Series events in Birmingham in 2011 – will be the first time Robles, Oliver and Turner have competed against one another over 60m
since early 2007.
Oliver, whose victory at the Kelvin Hall carried his unbeaten run to 16 after going the whole outdoor season undefeated, believes he is in the form of his life and ready to usurp Robles as the undisputed king of hurdles.
He said: “I genuinely can’t wait for Birmingham to come around. All of the indoor competitions in the UK are great events and the fans are so well versed in athletics, so it’s an absolute pleasure to be a part of it.
“And with the competition being so strong, it kind of looks like a World Championship event, so that’ll make it all the more exciting. For me indoor athletics and outdoor athletics are two very different events, but this certainly has a great feel about it.
“Both Dayron and Andy are great athletes and I feel I'm in good shape, so it’ll be one hell of a race and one that I'm confident I can perform in. It’s all about me bringing my A Game.
“And what with me hopefully being located in Birmingham in 2012 with Team USA, I really want to go out and show the people of the city what I can do and what I'm about. This city will be my home next year so I want the crowd to adopt me!”
Fresh from his excursions in Glasgow, Oliver travelled straight down to Birmingham to participate in a hurdles master class with pupils from Solihull School.
The 28-year-old showed the pupils what it takes to become an Olympic and World Championship medalist and also answered questions on his life in Florida to his friendship with rival Brit Turner.
PE teacher, Miss Vicky Gill, said: “David was a total inspiration to the students today. The way he carries himself as both an athlete and a human being was wonderful for the pupils to see, he is a super ambassador for his sport.
“Having international athletes on their doorstep is a great way to motivate these children to try other sports as opposed to just football. Of course we will all be supporting Andy Turner for the event at the NIA and London 2012, but I have a feeling David may well have endeared himself to a few hundred new fans from Solihull now too.
“I’m not sure if they were more impressed with the fact he said he was too small to be a basketballer or when they saw the height of the hurdles he clears.”
Oliver insists he had a great day in the West Midlands and believes he could be lining up against some of the pupils in international athletics events in the future.
He added: “I had a great time working with the kids; they were very entertaining and they looked like they had a great time. And there were definitely some kids there that had a lot athletics talent and were very coachable, that’s for sure.
“There was a young lady who looked a natural in the hurdles most definitely, so maybe we’ll see her competing for Great Britain at the 2016 Olympics. I hope so, that’d be a great story. I love doing this kind of stuff with kids as it’s great to see them out there having fun and when they’re having fun, I'm having fun.”