11 May, 2018

Dream sprint race at the Rome Golden Gala

US sprint star Christian Coleman, Filippo Tortu and Marcel Jacobs will be grab the headlines in the men’s 100 metres at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on 31st May.


The Golden Gala Pietro Mennea is set to be in the spotlight in the Rome night on Thursday 31st May 2018. World athletics stars will clash again at the Rome Olympic Stadium (19.30- 22.30) for the 38th edition of the Rome International meeting, the fourth leg of the 2018 IAAF Diamond League. Two Italian stars of the 2018 Golden Gala, 19-year-old Italian sprint rising star Filippo Tortu, and 2018 high jump world indoor bronze medallist Alessia Trost were the special guests of the official press conference of the Rome meeting held at the Rome Olympic Stadium. The press conference was also attended by CONI President Giovanni Malagò, the FIDAL President Alfio Giomi and by Stefano Parisi, Managing Director Bridgestone Europe South Region, sponsor of the meeting.

“This year the press conference of the Golden Gala is held in a more positive atmosphere and with new expectations. In these months Coni and Fidal have worked together very well. We have had the courage to come up with new ideas. There is a lot of work to do. We don’t escape from the criticism, athletics is a very difficult sport, but more recently we are doing better. In China Italian walkers reached the podium at the World Walking team Championships. The rivalry between Tortu and Jacobs makes us more optimistic, because it will be an extra motivation not only for them, but also for Italian sprint, with the goal to create a very competitive relay. Trost can be motivated by the clash against Vallortigara, who has just jumped 1.95m”, said Giovanni Malagò.

The FIDAL President Alfio Giomi was particulrly happy and pointed out the consistent level of Italian athletes taking part at the next edition of the Golden Gala.

“It’s the 38th edition of the meeting and the fourth leg of the IAAF Diamond League and once again the cooperation between the Fidal and the Coni works well and we want to make it closer. Today we present the next edition of the Golden Gala, which is going toward the direction we have been hoping for a long time: a Golden Gala meeting with a focus on Italian athletes. The spotlight will be on the 100 metres and the women’s high jump. We will have a total of 23 Italian athletes, an important number and a good chance for our athletes to compete against the best athletes in the world and have a good visibility”.

Giomi also took the opportunity to talk about the three medals won at the World Team Walking Championships in Taicang.

“In China Massimo Stano and the two 20 km teams achieved a historic result, which makes us optimistic ahead of the European Championships in Berlin”.   

83 medallists, 8 olympic champions – The 2018 Golden Gala meeting will offer once again a star-studded line-up with 83 Olympic, World and European medallists. The starting lists put together by Meeting Director Luigi D’Onofrio already features 8 olympic champions, 9 world outdoor champions, 7 world indoor champions, 8 European champions, 4 European Indoor champions and 10 IAAF Diamond Trophy winners in 2017 for a total of 107 medals won in the past editions of these big events.

Coleman and the clash between Tortu and Jacobs in the 100 metres – The spotlight will be on the 100 metres which features the new sprint star Christian Coleman. The young sprinter from Atlanta, who recently broke the 60 metres indoor world record with 6.34, will make his debut in the Italian capital with the goal to thrill the Italian fans. The 100 metres sprint (21.35) will feature two Italian sprinters for the first time in the past 20 years: 19-year-old Filippo Tortu, and 23-year-old Marcel Jacobs. The last time two Italian sprinters started in the same 100m race of the Italian meeting dates back to 1998, when Stefano Tilli and Francesco Scuderi were in the line-up. The Rome star-studded 100 metres will feature Ronnie Baker, Su Bingtian, France’s Jimmy Vicaut, and Ramil Gulyev, the first 200 metres world champion of the post-Bolt era.

Jacobs clocked 10.12 last week in Campi Bisenzio near Florence, missing Pietro Mennea’s Italian record of 10.01 by 11 hundredths of a second. He has focused on sprint since this year after starting his career in the long jump. In 2016 he produced the best ever jump by an Italian specialist with 8.48m, but he was aided by an illegal tail wind. He has already clocked the fifth fastest time in history in Italy. Filippo Tortu ranks seventh in the Italian all-time list. Tortu will make his debut on Sunday 13th May in Rieti with the goal to improve his career best of 10.15, the fastest Italian under 20 time in history. The European Under 20 champion and World Under 20 silver medallist has a great memory of the Golden Gala. In last year’s edition he thrilled the Rome crowd when he clocked the 200 metres in 20.34 in a close neck-to-neck sprint race with the best sprinters in the world. Their clash will be an Italian head-to-head battle in a great 100m sprint race.

More sprint battles – The women’s 400 metres will be highlighted by world silver medallist Salwa Naser and world indoor champion Courtney Okolo, but also by Italian record holder and double European champion Libania Grenot and Benedicta Chigbolu, who represented Italy at the Olympic Games in Rio. The men’s 400 metres will feature Isaac Makwala, world bronze medallist Abdallelah Haroun and Italian Davide Re, who will try to run in the wake of these two big stars. Marie Josée Ta Lou, who won three world silver medals in London and Birmingham, will grab the headlines in the women’s 200 metres.

Women’s jump: Queen Kuchina and the Italian battle between Trost and Vallortigara:

The women’s high jump will feature an Italian head-to-head battle between Alessia Trost and Elena Vallortigara, who jumped 1.95m this year. They will be the Italian headliners in a star-studded competition thirty-one year after the 1987 World Championships in Rome, where Stefka Kostadinova set the still-standing world record with 2.09m. The field will feature Russia’s Mariya Kuchina Lasitskene, who has remained unbeaten for 38 consecutive competitions before Rome, Ukraine’s Yuliya Levchenko, world silver medallist in London (2.01m) and US model Vashti Cunningham, a former world indoor champion. Trost will make her debut outdoors after winning the world indoor bronze medal in Birmingham. Vallortigara will compete in her first major international competition in a season, when she made her come-back jumping her career best of 1.95m in Caorle near Venice.

Great clashes in the hurdles races – Reigning world champion Brianna Rollins –McNeal will run against all the best specialists in the world like Pamela Duktiewicz and Dawn Harper Nelson in a world-class women’s 100 metres hurdles. In the women’s 400 metres hurdles Rio Olympic champion Dalilah Muhamad will be the top name, but the interest of Italian fans will be focused on Yadisleidy Pedroso, and European Under 23 champion Ayomide Folorunso. In the men’s 400 metres hurdles world seasonal leader Abderrahman Samba, the Qatar hurdler who stunned every fan with his Diamond League record of 47.57, Kyron McMaster, Kerron Clement, Karsten Warholm, Yasmani Copello, who are respectively Olympic, World and European champions. The major Italian interest will be focused on José Bencosme. The men’s 3000 metres steeplechase race will face European Under 23 champion Yohanes Chiappinelli and another Italian top runner Osama Zoghlami.

Middle distance races: Emma Coburn will battle against the best African runners – The blonde US runner Emma Coburn will be the stand-out name in the women’s 3000m steeplechase. In the most recent outdoor global championship she beat the world’s best specialists. She will face Beatrice Chepkoech in Rome. World champion Elijah Manangoi will take on silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot in the men’s 1500 metres. The men’s 800 metres race will be highlighted by Adam Kszczot and Kipyegon Bett. The pace on the track of the Rome Olympic Stadium will be very fast.

Men’s long jump: The entire London world championships podium – While the goal in the men’s pole vault is to jump 6 metres, the men’s long jump will not be less interesting. It will feature reigning Olympic champion Jeff Henderson and the entire world championships podium with South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga (8.65m) and Rushval Samaai (8.49m) and US talented jumper Jarrion Lawson, who set a career best of 8.58m. Nineteen-year-old Juan Miguel Echevarria, who won an exciting world indoor final in Birmingham, will try to break the dominance of the three world outdoor medallists.   

Men’s pole vault: The goal is 6 metres – US Sam Kendricks comes from a perfect 2017 season, in which he remained unbeaten and crowned the season with his first jump over the 6 metres barrier, the world title in London and the Diamond League Trophy. He will fight against Thiago Braz (6.03m), who triumphed at the Olympic Games in Rio in front of his home fans and became the first Brazilian athlete to win a men’s olympic gold medal since 1984, and Poland’s Piotr Lisek, who won the world silver medal in London 2017 and the world bronze medal in Beijing 2015. Former world champion Shawnacy Barber has been added to the list. The fans are set to enjoy the attempts at the 6 metres barrier and support Florence-native vaulter Claudio Stecchi, who will try to break his personal best.

Throw events: Queen Sandra and the other stars – Queen Sandra Perkovic, Olympic, World and European champion will return to Rome, where she is a crowd favourite. The Croatian discus thrower has just started her season with an impressive throw of 71.38m confirming that she is the best thrower in the world. The discus throw will also feature Daisi Osakue, the new Italian name, who will make an attempt to break the 60 metres. The entire London world championships podium led by world champion Andrius Gudzius from Lithuania and German brothers Robert and Cristoph Harting, who are both olympic champions, will fight in the men’s discus throw.