KIM COLLINS will return to the Arcadis Great CityGames Manchester as the favourite rather than the underdog after his against-all-odds victory on Deansgate a year ago.
The St Kitts and Nevis veteran shocked the crowds in Manchester and on BBC Sport last year as the then-40-year-old outsprinted a top-class 100m lineup featuring CJ Ujah, Trayvon Bromell and Richard Kilty in the blue riband event.
The Arcadis Great CityGames Manchester will take place on the evening of Friday 26 May on the purpose-built sprint track on Deansgate and in a pop-up athletics arena in Albert Square in the heart of the city.
Collins, former world champion and six-time Olympian, will battle it out against a domestic line-up of Andrew Robertson, Joel Fearon and James Dasaolu.
Now 41, Collins is very much an evergreen athlete and is up for the challenge on the Deansgate track.
He said: “I always enjoy competing at the street events, and I love Manchester. I know I surprised a few people last year but it was no surprise for me and I'm looking forward to coming back and putting in a repeat performance.”
Dasaolu took victory in the Gateshead event last September, and said: “I'm looking forward to coming to Manchester. I won this event up in Gateshead last year and there will be some familiar faces especially with the British guys, so the competition will be good as ever.”
Kilty will take on the 150m distance on the track this year, against fellow Brits Reece Prescod and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey.
The Teesside Tornado is a huge fan of CityGames events and is almost an ever-present at the street-level meets in Gateshead and Manchester.
Kilty said: “I love coming to the CityGames events whether it's in Manchester or up in Gateshead. The atmosphere around the city when the athletes are in town is great, it's a city that loves its sport and I'm looking forward to coming back.”
Rio Olympics 4x100m relay bronze medallists Asha Philip and Desiree Henry will go from teammates to opponents in the women's 100m race, with Dutch sprinter Jamile Samuel, part of the gold-medal winning 4x100m relay team in the European Championships in her home city of Amsterdam last year.
Philip said: “I always enjoy the Great CityGames and this year will be no different. With the World Championships later this summer it's going to be a big year so this is a great opportunity of putting a marker down.”
The sprint track, a 250m length of specially constructed running surface, will be moved for 2017, at a new location further down Deansgate, alongside Great Northern Warehouse.
The Arcadis Great CityGames Manchester is completely free to spectate, taking athletics out of the stadium and on to the streets it will give thousands of spectators the opportunity to experience the sport from a unique perspective, while showcasing the best of Manchester on a live 90-minute programme on BBC Two and BBC Two HD from 6pm.