Glasgow Grand Prix: Yohan Blake and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce hope for Hampden roar

Jamaican sprinters need fast times at Glasgow event after injury lay-offs

glasgow

In the corridors of Glasgow International Airport, a makeshift running track takes passengers from their flight to collect their baggage. But the passage for athletics’ big stars to get there on their way to competing in the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix on Friday and Saturday has been far from smooth, with an element of the walking wounded for much of the season.

Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who admitted to trying out the temporary airport surface on her arrival in the host city for the Commonwealth Games, is only just returning from a leg injury, while fellow countryman Yohan Blake is slowly getting back to his formidable best after missing last season with a hamstring injury.

Kenyan 800m star David Rudisha has also been missing in action this year with a knee problem while American decathlete Ashton Eaton, mentally and physically exhausted at the end of last season, opted this season to take a break from the 10-discipline event and instead focus on the 400m hurdles.

They are the big international quartet at the Grand Prix, but there is a patched-up feel to Britain’s athletes too: Dai Greene goes up against Eaton in only his  second race of the season after a litany of problems over the winter, while sprinter James Dasaolu has barely featured since his hamstring went  during the indoor season.

Blake is in the unfamiliar position of having just one 100m race to his name this year, a time of 10.21 seconds to come second in New York last month ranking him the 99th fastest man in the world this year, his best 200m run of the year only sufficient to place him 63rd.

David Rudisha in action at the London Olympics David Rudisha in action at the London Olympics (Getty Images)
Nicknamed “The Beast” by training partner Usain Bolt, he does not usually lack for confidence ahead of races, but the 24-year-old has no idea quite how he will fare at Hampden Park.

“My expectation is just to try to get back to the position I was before the injury,” he said. “I’m just working my way back. I’ve been training a lot and I’ve not run much. Right now, it’s about rebuilding for next year when it’s going to be title after title after title.”

For Blake, it will be his sole visit to Glasgow this  summer having opted to miss the Commonwealth Games, but for Fraser-Pryce it is a warm-up to the Games in two weeks’ time in what will also be only her second 100m race during an injury-hit year.

“For two months, it’s ruled me out of stuff on and off and it’s been difficult,” she said. “I had the chance to run a 200m race in Paris last week and that was good. I’ve not had much  running so I don’t know how I’ll go in the 100m. I still need time to execute my start.

“I did that at the airport on the track there. I thought why not. It’s a unique thing there and it went pretty well. Let’s hope that can translate to a historic stadium like  Hampden Park.”

Had he been fitter, the  likelihood is Bolt would have joined his fellow Jamaicans in Glasgow for the Grand Prix but instead he will make it to Scotland to run solely in the relay. Like Fraser-Pryce, Bolt effectively gave up an individual spot by not taking part in their national trials.

Dai Greene will face Ashton Eaton in the 400m hurdles Dai Greene will face Ashton Eaton in the 400m hurdles (Getty Images)
The two days of action in Glasgow are a temporary replacement for the London Grand Prix while rebuilding work continues on the Olympic Stadium. The plan was for the highlight of the weekend in Scotland to be Mo Farah’s return to running on British soil for the first time since the London Marathon.

But he pulled out of the two-mile event after being hospitalised with abdominal pains, hardly ideal preparations for the London Anniversary Games street event at Horse Guards Parade next weekend as well as the Commonwealth Games, where he hopes to double up in the 5,000m and 10,000m.

One of Farah’s neighbours at his base in Oregon is Eaton, billed by Bolt as the greatest athlete on the planet.

Eaton’s versatility appears to know no bounds. His switch to the 400m hurdles for one season resulted in a Diamond League victory in Oslo, a venture he describes as “fun” and an “off-season”.

Any sense he might be a superstar of athletics like Bolt is brushed off. “Superstar?” he questions. “The most I get is people stopping me and saying hello in the grocery store.” Similarly any thoughts of victory are shrugged off. “I don’t know, these guys kicked my butt in Paris,” he adds. “I was just trying to keep up.”

In the running: Three to watch

Yohan Blake

The second-fastest man on the planet has said 2014 is a mere holding year ahead of the World Championships next season, but still expect him to run well below 10 seconds.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

The pocket rocket of global sprinting appears to be  getting back to her best form despite a leg injury, and  renews her on-track rivalry with American Carmelita Jeter in the 100m.

David Rudisha

The Kenyan is short of the form that saw him win 800m Olympic gold in magnificent fashion in 2012, and is still feeling an element of pain in the knee which caused him to miss the whole of last season.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future