Birmingham Diary: Stuart Weir provides a preview of the Women's 60 meter hurdles, who will win?

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Harrison_KeniQ-WORLDSi18.jpGKeni Harrison, 60 meter hurdle prelims, photo by PhotoRun.net

The women's 60 meter hurdles could be the most competitive event in the women's World Indoor portfolio of competitive events. On Thursday PM, I spoke with BBC 5 Live's Lee James and Ed Harry. I told them that the 60 meter hurdles for woman had three women who could break the WR. I had not even mentioned the World Champion Sally Pearson, who looked fantastic in the prelims as well as a fine run by Cindy Roleder.

Manning_ChristinaQ-WORLDSi18.jpGChristina Manning, photo by PhotoRun.net

Stuart Weir considers this upcoming race, which has the semi-finals on Saturday, March 3 at 6:05 PM!

The 60m hurdles race is always an exciting event and the Birmingham 2017 women's event is positively loaded. The semi-finals and finals will take place on Saturday. We have seen the Prelims (or heats as the locals call them) and know the 24 ladies who will line up in the semi-finals. What clues did the prelims give us?

Keni Harrison (USA) was fastest in 7.77. Isabella Pedersen (Norway) was second fastest in 7.93. Sharika Nelvis (USA) who has the world leading time of 7.70 and Christina Manning (USA) who between them dominated the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Series are comfortably through. Similarly the 2017 World Champion and 2012 Olympic champion in the 100m hurdles, Sally Pearson (Australia), is comfortably though along with the fastest European, Cindy Roleder (Germany).

Do their comments on the prelims give us any clues?

Nelvis "It was a good race. You have to take it one run at a time, so I look forward to tomorrow".

Pedersen "I equaled my PB from Glasgow - that is a good sign especially in the first round. I am in good shape and all I can do to fight against these strong Americans is to go out there and do the best I can do".

Manning "The start is usually the best part of my race but I got left in the blocks. I did not panic and finished well. Coming into these championships, I am excited."

Roleder "It was a good race for me and the time was okay. But tomorrow I must go faster."

Harrison "Me and my coach decided to go out and run each round like it's the final and not to take these races for granted. I'm not worried about what people think of me, I'm just looking to go out there and run."

The nicest comment came from Oluwatobiloba Amusan (Nigeria) who beat Sally Pearson to win her prelim: "Sally Pearson is my role model so I feel sad to be beating her. But sorry, this is a business and you have to do your best".

Realistically you can make a case for any of the above to win and I am not sure that their comments after the prelims take us any further towards picking the winner.

Keni Harrison is seriously fast, the world outdoor record holder. The monkey on her back is that she has yet to perform well in a major championship. In 2015 she false started in the World Championship in Beijing. In 2017 she only just made the World Championship final and then finished fourth.

Sally Pearson has won it all, been there done that - and got the t-shirt - but she is 31.

Christina Manning and Sharika Nelvis have it battled out in the IAAF Indoor Series. Nelvis beat Manning in Karlsruhe 7.80 to 7.81. In Dusseldorf Manning won the duel 7.77 to 7.80. In Boston both ran 7.89 with Nelvis being awarded the victory. Finally in Glasgow, Manning secured the victory with 7.79 (Nelvis 7.84). This all left Christian Manning as the series champion, with $20,000 and a wild card into the World Indoor Championships.

Manning said of her indoor season: "It's been so fun. This is my first indoor tour. This has been so fun especially with me and Sharika being as close as we are". In the US trials she came third behind Harrison and Nelvis. She took it on the chin saying: "I ran a PR, the fourth fastest time ever and I don't make the team! And it's like how can I be mad at that, how can I be upset with that?"

Nelvis concurred: "It's fun. Sharika and I go back and forward with winning. I think it's fun and entertaining for people and we have a great relationship off the track too. We come into this and were not mad at each other if I lose or if she loses. That's the really great part that would enable to turn it on and turn it off. I know when to leave her alone and she knows when to leave me alone".

650 words and I am no nearer to knowing who will win!

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