Sixteen Tokyo Olympic champions for a star-studded edition of the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea. The countdown to the Rome meeting, the fifth leg of the Wanda Diamond League, scheduled on Thursday 9 June in the Rome Olympic Stadium, has started. Today the first big world athletics stars, who will take part in the 42nd edition of the Golden Gala, have arrived in Rome. Among them, there are three-time Olympic champion Elaine Thompson Herah (Jamaica), sprint legend Allyson Felix (Usa), Kirani James (Grenada), the 400m sprinter who reached the podium in the past three editions of the Olympic Games. Three days before the meeting two Tokyo Olympic medallists join the line-up of the Golden Gala. Olympic silver medallist Kenny Bednarek, who holds a PB of 19.68 obtained in the Olympic final last year, will line-up in the men’s 200 metres. After his win in the Diamond League leg in Rabat, the US sprinter will take on the three 4x100 relay Olympic champions Filippo Tortu, Fausto Desalu, and Lorenzo Patta and 400m world indoor champion Jereem Richards (Trinidad and Tobago).
The other new entry is in middle-distance. Canada’s Mo Ahmed, Olympic silver medallist in the 5000 metres in Japan and world 5000m bronze medallist in Doha, is expected to clash against 10000m Olympic gold medallist Selemon Barega (Ethiopia) and the other Ethiopian runner Berihu Aregawi. In the usual turnover, which marks the entry-lists before every meeting, it must be reported that Mutaz Barshim (Qatar) in the high jump, sprinter Trayvon Bromell (USA) and Su Bingtian (China) have pulled out.
The star-studded evening in the Olympic Stadium offers many highlights just one month away from the World Championships in Eugene, which will start on 15 July. The women’s 200 metres sprint race promises to be a show with the fastest woman in the world (Thompson-Herah), 400 metres Olympic gold medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo (Bahamas), world champion Dina Asher Smith, the most decorated athlete in history (Felix) and 4x100 relay champion Shericka Jackson (Jamaica). Olympic silver medallist Fred Kerley will compete again in the 100 metres. James and 4x400 relay Olympic gold medallist Michael Cherry will be the names to watch in the men’s 400 metres. Middle distance races will offer world-class competitions, with Tokyo Olympic 800m champion Athing Mu from the United States, the women’s 1500 metres with Olympic silver medallist Laura Muir from Great Britain, the men’s 3000 metres steeplechase with olympic silver medallist Lamecha Girma and the men’s 5000 metres race with Barega and many other stars. The hurdles races will feature Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (women’s 100m hurdles) and Femke Bol (women’s 400m hurdles). The field events will feature red-hot competitions: high jump Olympic gold medallist Gianmarco Tamberi is set to get excited in front of the home crowd, jumpers Malaika Mihambo from Germany and Katie Nageotte from the United States can fly in the long jump and in the pole vault. The throwing events are no less interesting: Slovenia’s Kristjan Ceh faces the three Olympic medallists (including Daniel Stahl). The shot put will be highlighted by US Joe Kovacs, Olympic silver medallist in Japan. Italy’s Olympic champion Massimo Stano will be in the spotlight in the 3000 metres walking race.