Golden Gala: sprint and high jump for a magic athletics night
The Rome Olympic Stadium is set to be in spotlight for the 39th edition of the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea. The world athletics stars will gather in the Italian capital for the fourth leg of the 2019 IAAF Diamond League, the major circuit of one-day international meetings on 6th June 2019 (19.30-22.00). Italian 100m record holder Filippo Tortu, who has just returned from the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama and will run against some of the international stars in the 200m, attended the official press conference in the CONI Hall of Honour together with the CONI President Giovanni Malagò and Fidal President Alfio Giomi.
A STAR_STUDDED LINE-UP WITH 134 OLYMPIC AND WORLD MEDALLISTS
The Golden Gala Pietro Mennea will be a star-studded meeting. The line-up already features a total of 134 olympic and world indoor and outdoor medals won by 55 athletes and will add new stars in the next hours. The cast assembled by Meeting Director Luigi D’Onofrio also features 13 Berlin 2018 European champions.
SPRINT SHOW: TORTU AND DESALU AGAINST LYLES, NORMAN AND GULIYEV IN THE 200m
A deluxe 200m will feature a star-studded field with great world sprint stars. Sprint sensation Noah Lyles is set to race on the Olympic track. The 21-year-old US sprinter, one of the top representatives of the athletics “new generation”, is still unbeaten over this distance in the Diamond League. Last season he improved his PB to 19.65 in Monte-Carlo and dipped under 19.70 four times in the same season, a feat achieved only by Usain Bolt. The meeting record set by Walter Dix, which dates back to 2010 with 19.86, is under threat. The other US sprinter Michael Norman can also dip under the Golden Gala record after stunning the athletics world with his 43.45 PB in the 400m (the fourth fastest time in history at world level) set at the start of the season. Norman set his 200m PB with 19.84 in the Diamond League meeting in Paris in 2018. The world and European 200m champion Ramil Gulyev (Turkey) is looking to be among the top contenders after clocking 19.99 in Doha in the first leg of the Diamond League this season. The Turkish sprinter clocked 19.76 in 2018 narrowly missing the historic European 200m record held by Pietro Mennea.
There is a lot of Italian interest in the Olympic Stadium night: Filippo Tortu and Eseosa “Fausto” Desalu are looking to be competive on the global stage. Twenty-year-old sprinter Tortu (Fiamme Gialle), the fastest Italian sprinter in history in the 100m with his 9.99 clocking in Madrid last June, has a PB of 20.34 set two years ago in Rome. Twenty-five year-old Desalu (Fiamme Gialle) has made a step forward in his career at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin with 20.13 in the final becoming the second Italian 200m sprinter in history behind legend Mennea. The cast also features two sub-20 sprinters: the winner of the 2014 edition Alonso Edward (Panama) and world bronze medallist Jereem Richards (Trinidad & Tobago).
TAMBERI IN A STAR-STUDDED HIGH JUMP FIELD: BONDARENKO, DROUIN, STARC, TOBE, PRZYBYLKO
Gianmarco Tamberi has already announced that he is ready to surprise the crowd. The show on the high jump runway is guaranteed by the European Indoor champion, who returns to the Golden Gala three years after finishing third in 2016 with 2.30m in a competition won by Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko, who will be among the stars on 6th June.
Bondarenko, who won the world title in 2013 and cleared a PB of 2.42m, has been sidelined by serious injury problems and is looking to bounce back in the Doha World Championships season, as well as Canada’s world champion Derek Drouin, who has a PB of 2.40m and has just come back from a long injury lay-off. During the indoor season Japan’s Naoto Tobe showed his best form jumping 2.35m in the year before the Olympic Games in Tokyo and will be a serious contender to take into consideration. The line-up features many other top stars the high jump can offer in this period: reigning European champion Mateusz Przybylko from Germany, 2.36m performer Brandon Starc from Australia, 21-year-old European silver medallist Maksim Nedasekau from Belarus and London world bronze medallist Majd Eddin Ghazal from Siria. The 26-year-old Fiamme Gialle star, who is known to everybody as “Mr Halfshave”, has boosted his confidence with a successful indoor season, which has relaunched his career with his gold medal at the European Indoor in Glasgow with 2.32m after two difficult years and a half due to his injury in Monte-Carlo in July 2016.
WOMEN’S 100 METRES: THE SPRINT QUEENS ASHER SMITH VS THOMPSON
The Rome line-up does not feature only men’s sprint, but it offers a great 100m line-up with British star Dina Asher-Smith, three-time European gold medallist, and Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson, double olympic gold medallist in Rio, without forgetting Marie-Josée Ta Lou (Ivory Coast), silver medallist at the 2017 World Championships in London and 2018 World indoor Championships in Birmingham, who won the 200m last year at the Olympic Stadium. In the 400m the stand-out name is world silver Selwa Eid Naser (Barhein), who clocked a PB of 49.08 in 2018; this race will also feature Raphaela Lukudo (Esercito), who won the European Indoor bronze medal with the 4x400 relay in Glasgow and at the World Relays in Yokohama last Sunday.
HURDLES, THE NEW PHENOMENON BENJAMIN
Rome will host a great 400m hurdles race featuring 21-year-old US Raj Benjamin, who clocked a super fast 47.02 last year in Eugene. This time enabled him to become the third fastest hurdler ever over this distance. The men’s 110 metres hurdles race features the Berlin European Championshis podium: European champion Pascal Martinot Lagarde (France), silver Sergey Shubenkov (ANA) and Spain’s Orlando Ortega (bronze). Italian hurdler Lorenzo Perini (Aeronautica) can get excited from this competitive field. In the women’s 400 metres hurdles Dalilah Muhammad (United States) will face world champion and compatriot Kori Carter and Switzerland’s Lea Sprunger, who won the European gold medal in Berlin, and Italian hurdler Ayomide Folorunso (Fiamme Oro), who has just won the bronze medal at the World Relays in Yokohama in the 4x400.
MIDDLE DISTANCE RACES: SPOTLIGHT ON BAREGA AND AMOS, MUIR CLASHES AGAINST AFRICA
Middle distance races have many highlights: the 800m with Nijel Amos (Botswana) and a very exciting 5000m race with world champion Muktar Edris (Ethiopia) and his compatriot Selemon Barega, who has become one of the phenomenal distance runners since he ran the 5000m in Brussels last year moving up to fourth in the world all-time list. This race has a lot of Italian and European interest, as it features 10000m European bronze medallist Yeman Crippa (Fiamme Oro). Italian athletics is also in the spotlight in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, which features Yohanes Chiappinelli (Carabinieri), who finished third at the European Championships in Berlin. In the women’s middle distance races the stand-out name of the Glasgow European Indoor Championships Laura Muir will face a strong African contingent led by Gudaf Tsegay (Ethiopia).
SHOT PUT: CROUSER SET TO PUT A BIG SHOT
The men’s shot put world record is at risk in 2019, especially after the recent 22.74m release achieved by Olympic champion Ryan Crouser (United States) in California, which moves him into sixth in the world all-time list. At the Rome Olympic Stadium Crouser will face Darrell Hill (United States) and European champion Michal Haratyk from Poland in the competition which can offer a good international experience to Italian Indoor champion Leonardo Fabbri (Aeronautica), who set his PB of 20.69m in the indoor season. World champion Barbora Spotakova (Czech Republic) will highlight the women’s javelin throw.
WOMEN’S JUMP: STEFANIDI –MORRIS, PICHARDO IN THE TRIPLE JUMP
Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi, the Olympic, world and European champion, and US 5.00m performer Sandi Morris will renew their battle in the women’s pole vault, which also features European Indoor champion Anzhelika Sidorova (ANA) and Cuba’s Yarisley Silva, training partner of Italian pole vaulter Sonia Malavisi (Fiamme Gialle), who will return to competions in her city at the Rome Olympic Stadium. Pedro Pablo Pichardo (Portugal), one of the five 18 metres performers in history, will put on a triple jump against Hughes Fabrice Zango (Burkina Faso), who emerged as the rising star last winter, when he leapt to 17.58m. The women’s long jump features the entire podium of the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow (Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic, Belarus’ Nastassia Mironcyk Ivanova, Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh Romanchuk) and Berlin European outdoor gold medallist Malaika Mihambo (Germany).
The timetable - The Rome Golden Gala Pietro Mennea features 14 Diamond League disciplines. Men’s events: 200m, 800m, 5000m, 110hs, high jump, triple jump and shot put. Women’s events: 100m, 400m, 1500m, 400hs, pole vault, long jump and javelin throw. The Rome Golden Gala also features two additional men’s non Diamond League events: the 400m hurdles and the 3000m steeplechase.
The tickets - The tickets for the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea 2019, scheduled on Thursday 6 June 2019 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, are on sale. Tickets for the fourth leg of the IAAF Diamond League can be purchased at Lis Ticket online stores at sport.ticketone.it.
These are the prices of the 2019 edition (+ presale fee):
Monte Mario Arrivals: 30,00 Euro - Reduced price for under 14: 15,00
- Monte Mario Start Line: 20,00
- Tribuna Tevere Finish Line: 15,00
- Distinti Finish Line: 15,00
- Curva Nord and Distinti: 5,00
- Curva Sud: 5,00
The ticket office of the Foro Italico is also open at the Foro Italico in Rome (Viale delle Olimpiadi 61, former Youth Hostel). Opening hours: from Monday to Friday: 10:00-13:00: 14:00 -17:00).