Birmingham Diary: News from Birmingham, Day 1, from EME News

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DXMRpKHW0AECJKw.jpgArena Birmingham , courtesy of British Athletics
Here's the news from Birmingham, to provide you an insider's view of the World Indoor Championships from Birmingham.

OTHER BIRMINGHAM NEWS

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): Sally Pearson has said her preparations for the 2018 season have been geared to the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast rather than the World Indoor Championships. "We have already had the national championships and on 4 April, we have the Commonwealth Games - we are all preparing for that. I feel physically and mentally ready for this but my main focus is the Commonwealth Games now, partly because it will take place just ten minutes from where I live. All my preparation leads towards the Commonwealths," she said.

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): Ekaterini Stefanidi has described the pressure ahead of the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham as a "privilege" as she attempts to win her fifth successive major title in the pole vault. "Coming to all the championships, I was telling myself: 'Oh, it is going to be very tough to win.' I was thinking like this before every major competition - in Rio, in Amsterdam, in London... I just love pole vault and love competing and I truly love competing at these championships. To win the only [gold] medal I am missing, this pressure on me, it is a privilege," she said.

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): Sam Kendricks described his 5.93m indoor lifetime best in Clermont-Ferrand on Sunday as an "accident in a perfect storm" and he "doesn't know how" he will perform in Sunday's final. "In my last competition where I jumped 5.93m in France, I was a guest of the world record holder Renaud Lavillenie and he put on a meet that was dazzling. My personal best was an accident in a perfect storm but I don't know how it will turn out on Sunday, all I can hope to do is the same on Sunday," he said.

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): Decathlon World champion Kevin Mayer is prioritising winning over points in the heptathlon at the World Indoor Championships. "Points are not important for me here. I would be happy to improve in some events but the title is not that important this time. Of course, it would be nice to listen to the national anthem. But let's just have fun," he said.

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): Brittney Reese is "really confident" of making history by winning her fourth world indoor long jump title in Birmingham. "Right now I'm really confident in what I am capable of, I know that the competition will be tough but I know what I need to go in and do to make history which makes me really excited to be here. The event is going to be strong, I'm not worried about anybody else, I know what I need to do and I know the mark I want to hit, and that mark will win. I need to focus on myself but I like how the event is getting stronger. It's a strong event and I think we'll have some surprises," she said.

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): Iran's Asian 100m champion Hassan Taftian missed his flight to Birmingham because of problems obtaining a visa, reports L'Equipe. The man who would have started fifth quickest overall due to his 6.51 PB this year was denied entry to the United States two years ago for the last World Indoors in Portland.

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): European 60m hurdles champion Andrew Pozzi, male team captain for the host nation, believes he can win a medal this weekend. Reported by iaaf.org, he said: "I'm coming into these championships obviously wanting a medal and I am more than capable of doing that. Obviously, it will be a disappointment if I don't do that. I am looking to win a medal. I have shown I have the quality to do that and I am in good form."

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): GB women's team captain Shelayna Oskan-Clarke is also looking to lead by example in Birmingham and is looking forward to competing on home soil: "You have the crowd behind you. We have geared up to this for years. The track is amazing; it is probably one of the best in the world. People come to this track knowing they can give a good performance and compete well."

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): Former European indoor pentathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson is not being complacent despite being favourite for her combined-events gold on Friday. The Brit, who missed the world record by 13 points with 5000 when winning continental gold in 2015, was quoted by guardian.com saying: "Just because other athletes aren't here does not make it my best chance. All I can do is compete against who is here. I've had better chances in the past but they have just not come off. It's combined events, you never know what is going to happen. I can't think about external pressures. I'm going to go event by event."

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): World No.2 Donavan Brazier is positive ahead of his appearances in the 800m heats tomorrow. He said: "I'm feeling confident. I came off a string of three PRs so coming into this meet I'm just trying to adjust to the time zone difference. I think it's gonna take something special to win."

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): Seventeen individual reigning European indoor champions are competing in Birmingham, notes european-athletics.org. The first of those appearing, Laura Muir, was third in the 3000m. Four European athletes head the world rankings and are competing in Birmingham: Renaud Lavillenie, Tomas Stanek, Mariya Lasitskene and Viktoriya Prokopenko.

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): 60m hurdles gold medal contender Sharika Nelvis looked back on her national record of 7.70 earlier last month, saying at the US press conference: "It was very very exciting. We've been racing each other over and over. I took it like it was another race. I didn't panic and I came out with the win and a bonus, the American record. I'm confident going into these rounds and I'm extremely excited to go against these girls once again."

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): IAAF president Seb Coe is optimistic about progress made in the fight against doping but admitted he could make no guarantees the event would be totally clean. Speaking to Sky Sports online, he said: "We have more science than we had even a few years ago. But there are no certainties here. What you want is a change of culture as well. I think there has been a growing confidence among the clean athletes that they see a change in the system. Slowly my objective has been to regain the trust of the athletes and allow those clean athletes to feel training sessions are not going to be jeopardised by athletes who are not in the right systems."

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): South Africa's Luvo Manyonga says he is targeting Carl Lewis's world indoor record of 8.79m in Birmingham. The world outdoor champion, who leads the world rankings with 8.40m, told iol.co.za: "It will depend on how the body feels and the travelling but I am quite excited about going there to break the world indoor record. It is my first world indoors and it will be great to break the world record at my first world championships."

BIRMINGHAM (GBR): The height of 2.20m is the weakest ever for sixth place in the men's high jump at the World Indoors. A notably high 13 athletes out of the 24 in both men's and women's competitions cleared only one height.

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