Vili confirms UK Diamond League appearances
NEW Zealand's Valerie Vili, the Olympic and world shot put champion, has confirmed she will compete at the IAAF Diamond League events in London and Gateshead this summer.
STAR NAME: Valerie Vili has signed up for the British legs of the IAAF Diamond League in Gateshead and London (Getty Images)
The New Zealander, who is ranked number one in the world, was linked by some to a switch of nationality over a funding row ahead of London 2012.
But the Kiwi, who has an English father, later angrily denied such suggestions.
"This will be my first time competing in Gateshead and I am really looking forward to it," she said.
"I have always been aware of the results in the Aviva British Grand Prix and they indicate a quality level of competition. I am certainly excited about throwing a series of decent distances.
"With the Commonwealth Games on later this season, I really look forward to competing in Commonwealth countries and there is nothing more traditional than a competition in England's north-east.
"I have never competed in London before and with the Olympics only two years away it will be a great experience for me."
Meanwhile, Hannah England claims she is ready to take on Lisa Dobriskey at next month's European Championships trials in Birmingham.
England missed out on a place at last year's World Championships in Berlin, where Dobriskey went on to claim 1500m silver.
However, she ended her year on a high note, beating Dobriskey at the World Athletics Final and has based herself in the United States last winter, winning the mile at the Millrose Games in New York in a new personal best.
"I've been out in America for the majority of the indoor season and have had results that overall I've been happy with," she said.
"I think this sets me up well for the rest of the year; I have a real ambition this year to improve and reach certain targets which I think is important when there is such a great field of athletes coming through in my discipline.
"Lisa is a fantastic influence on me. I watched her do so well at the World Championships and it's my aim to compete at the same level.
"Obviously it's not long until 2012 and I really want to do well there. I will be doing everything possible in the next two years to make sure that happens."