Felix Sanchez to race in Birmingham

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Updated: February 18, 2011

Former Olympic champion Felix Sanchez is set to compete in Britain’s first ever 400m indoor hurdles race at the Grand Prix in Birmingham on Saturday.

Sanchez, 33, from the Dominican Republic, 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.

Also taking part in the indoor competition this weekend are triple jumper Phillips Idowu, hurdler Andy Turner and Kelly Sotherton.

Idowu, the current world and European champion, makes his seasonal return , while former heptathlete Sotherton will run in the 400m.

Sotherton, 34, won the British 400m indoors in Sheffield at the weekend after performing for the first time in two years following two major injuries.

However, Sanchez looks like being one of the star attractions on Saturday, taking part in an event originated in France and held at various meets in Europe but never before in Britain.

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!”

Triple jumper Idowu is 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.

”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.”

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