Opportunity knocks for three Birchfield Harriers at the Diamond League event in Birmingham this weekend as a world class field assembles at the Alexander Stadium.
Unfortunately the Second City can’t look forward to seeing one of the sport’s royal family.
Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin are all absent from a 100 metres line-up that is a race of the understudies even given the fact only three men have run faster than favourite Michael Rodgers this year.
But – as there must be – there is a smattering of local interest as youngster Joel Fearon challenges Rodgers in what will be the race of his life in the blue riband event.
Coventry-born Fearon, who splits his time between athletics and bobsleigh, is on the brink of a major breakthrough this season having set a new personal best of 10.24 seconds, which is less than a tenth of a second outside the World Championship qualifying standard.
If conditions are benign and the assembled field justifies its quality then the 24-year-old could be in with a shout of a new PB and a massive statement ahead of the trials next month.
Indeed the Harrier will be one of several domestic runners who will take to the start-line more in hope of attaining the 10.15 A standard for Moscow, than upsetting world indoor silver medallist Rodgers, Jamaican Nesta Carter or Trinidad’s Keston Bledman.
More realistic for Fearon is a victory over GB rivals Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Dwain Chambers, James Ellington and – the only Briton to have attained the qualifying time – James Dasaolu. If he could achieve that it might lead him to an unusual double of World Bobsleigh and Athletics championships in the same year.
Also on the track Polesworth’s Meghan Beesley will be looking to build on her breakout summer in the 400m hurdles. Beesley, a promising junior, has set two personal bests in 2013 and is playing her part in the elevation of the discipline as one of three competitors to have run the A standard.
Perri Shakes-Drayton and the red-hot Scot Eilidh Child lead the way but as the youngest of the three 23-year-old Beesley will be hoping for yet another PB in a race that also includes Romania’s Angela Morosanu and American veteran Tiffany Williams.
And in the high jump Birchfield team-mate Tom Parsons, who at 29 is looking to breathe fresh life back into his international career, will be praying for a dry and warm afternoon on Sunday in order to find the extra 3cm that could take him to Moscow in August.
Great Barr-based Parsons missed out on the last Olympics having spent 2012 chasing his tail in search of form and fitness and finding neither.
However, a positive winter training block and input from a new coach have left the former World and Olympic finalist optimistic he can manage his on-going back problem all the way back into contention.
His season’s best clearance of 2.28m is the highest he has jumped for nearly two years and his call-up for the European Team Championships last weekend demonstrates he is still very much in the selectors’ minds. Parsons will compete against friend and fellow Birmingham resident Robbie Grabarz who soared to a bronze medal at London 2012 but hasn’t quite nailed a big jump this summer.
And in the women’s 1500m Birmingham’s Hannah England will wage domestic war against Lisa Dobriskey, Laura Muir and Laura Weightman while hot favourite Adeba Aregawi Sweden presumably coasts to victory. The Swedish-naturalised Ethiopian has a world lead time of 3:56.60 this year, set in Doha last month.
England is the fastest Brit over the distance in 2013 and with fellow world silver medallist Dobriskey and Weighman one of three athletes inside the A standard. While the cash for winning would be nice, all of them would probably trade it for a top-two finish at the trials in three weeks.