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What the athletes are saying about The Match

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  • What the athletes are saying about The Match

The second of the Diamond League finals drew to a close in Brussels on Friday (6) evening which means there is only one major fixture on the calendar between now and the IAAF World Championships in Doha.

This is The Match Europe v USA which takes place for the first time in the Dinamo National Olympic Stadium in Minsk, Belarus from 9-10 September and some of Europe’s finest athletes are looking forward to take part in the first instalment of this dual match against Team USA.

Mariya Lasitskene is the reigning world and European high jump champion and the Russian is a watertight favourite for Team Europe in Minsk. Not only that, Lasitskene has been one of Team Europe's ambassadors for the event and has featured heavily in the event's promotion.

On being an event ambassador for The Match...

'It's great for me and I'm happy that I am an ambassador and part of the The Match. Minsk is fantastic - a beautiful city and I am really happy that so many athletes will see this city and get pleasure from being here.'

On her expectations for her own performance in Minsk...

'I can't say any numbers - I just want to do my best and bring maximum points for the European team.'

Ramil Guliyev is another Team Europe ambassador and also another reigning world and European champion in the 200m. Guliyev ran a season's best of 19.86 in the 200m in Brussels and the Turk is hoping the conditions will allow him to run even faster for Team Europe on Tuesday.

On looking forward to The Match...

'Minsk is a good competition for the World Championships. After Minsk I have one more competition at home - I hope for better weather [than Brussels] because it's cold and windy and the track is old. I know I can run faster and we will see how it will go at the next competition in Minsk.'

On being an event ambassador for The Match...

'It's a nice feeling. I want to represent my country and Europe; it's a different feeling, it's a different competition. It's a new competition and I hope it will be fun.'

On his expectations for his own individual performance in Minsk...

'I hope to run faster than today [19.86 to finish second in the 200m in Brussels]. My form is coming and I hope I can run faster.'

Orlando Ortega is part of a strong Team Europe contingent in the 110m hurdles which also features former world champion Sergey Shubenkov and reigning world indoor champion Andrew Pozzi. Ortega arrives in Minsk fresh from winning the Brussels Diamond League.

On winning in Brussels and looking ahead to The Match...

'The competition in Brussels was amazing - I'm really happy and it's good for me; now I can focus on The Match and I will go to Minsk - it's a new competition and I want to try and enjoy the competition and I think a really strong European team. We will do our best there.'

On his expectations for his own performance in Minsk...

'I will try to win and do the best for myself and for my team.'

Elvira Herman forms part of a sizeable Belarus contingent on Team Europe and the 22-year-old is one of the most high profile Belarusian names on Team Europe having won the 100m hurdles title at the European Championships last summer.

On such a major event taking place in Belarus...

'I am looking forward to the match with great excitement. I think it will be a very historic match and a very interesting match for everybody and I'm really pleased so many great athletes will be coming to Belarus and will be part of the competition.'

On her expectations for her own individual performance in Minsk...

'I want to run a season's best - maybe a personal best if it's possible. I will do everything for my team.'

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