An exceptional cast for an unforgettable athletics evening: 15 Olympic champions, 31 world champions, 95 overall medals between the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Belgrade World Indoor Championships and the Eugene World Championships, the latest major global events. These are the numbers of the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea, edition n. 43 which will illuminate the Ridolfi stadium in Florence on Friday 2 June for the third leg of the Wanda Diamond League. The entry lists have been presented this morning at a press conference held in Palazzo Vecchio, in Florence, in the presence of the FIDAL president Stefano Mei, the councillor for sport of the Municipality of Florence Cosimo Guccione, the meeting director Marco Sicari and of the European indoor 60m champion Samuele Ceccarelli, at the start of a phenomenal 100m race which presents the 'clash' between the Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs (Italy) and the world champion Fred Kerley (USA), awaited by athletics fans from the whole planet.
SPRINT: ALSO OMANYALA WITH JACOBS, KERLEY AND BROMELL
Not just Jacobs vs Kerley for the Florence sprint. In addition to the other American Trayvon Bromell, today's news is the presence of the current season world leader Ferdinand Omanyala (Kenya), capable of running in 9.84 last Saturday in Nairobi. In the lists also the fourth of the Tokyo Olympics Akani Simbine (South Africa), winner two years ago at the Golden Gala in Florence. In the 200 metres, the show will not be missing: the challenge will be mostly between the Olympic and world silver medallist Kenny Bednarek (USA) and the 18-year-old world bronze Erriyon Knighton (USA), but the gold of Oregon22 with the Canadian 4x100 Aaron Brown should not be underestimated. Talking about relay runners, Filippo Tortu and Fausto Desalu of Italy, Olympic gold in Tokyo, will also run in front of home crowd. In the women's 100m, the spotlights are on the British Dina Asher-Smith, former world champion in the 200m in Doha 2019 and winner two years ago in Florence, on the Americans Aleia Hobbs, Gabby Thomas and Tamari Davis and on the Ivorian Marie-Josée Ta Lou. Two Tokyo’s gold medallists in the women's 400m with the American Lynna Irby-Jackson (who ran the 4x400 heat at the Games) and the Polish Natalia Kaczmarek, on the track in Japan with the 4x400 mixed relay.
MIDDLE DISTANCE: KIPYEGON 1500, WORLD RECORD HOLDER CHEPTEGEI IN 5000
In the women's 1500m, the presence of Olympic and world gold medallist Faith Kipyegon (Kenya) stands out: she is the second woman in history with her 3:50.37 last year in Monaco, just thirty hundredths from the world record of Genzebe Dibaba. The British Laura Muir, silver medallist in Tokyo and bronze at last year's World Championships, will try to threaten her. In the 5000 metres, the Olympic champion and world record holder Joshua Cheptegei (12:35.36 in 2020) was announced today: the Ugandan triumphed last summer at the World Championships in Oregon in the 10,000m and in Italy he will face many big opponents, such as the Olympic silver medallist in the 5000m Mohammed Ahmed (Canada), the world silver medallist Jacob Krop (Kenya), the bronze Oscar Chelimo (Uganda), but also the Golden Gala record holder Nicholas Kipkorir (12:46.33 last June in Rome), the Ethiopian twice world indoor champion in the 1500m Samuel Tefera and the Spaniard Mohamed Katir. Tokyo's gold and silver medallists in the 3000 steeplechase: Ugandan Peruth Chemutai and American Courtney Frerichs. Without forgetting the world bronze Mekides Abebe (Ethiopia) and the world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech (Kenya).
HURDLES: QUEEN BOL, FULL EUGENE PODIUM IN 110HS WITH HOLLOWAY
Great expectations for Femke Bol in the 400m hurdles. The Dutch Olympic bronze and world silver medallist can achieve the fourth win in a row at the Golden Gala after 53.90 in 2020, 53.44 in 2021 and 53.02 in 2022. The fourth of the World Championships, Shamier Little (Usa), is the most accredited rival. The 110hs promise a rematch of the Oregon final: the American Grant Holloway gold medallist, the other US Trey Cunningham silver, Asier Martinez of Spain who won the bronze, all competing at the Ridolfi stadium.
JUMPS: A WONDERFUL WOMEN LONG JUMP, THE OLYMPIC AND WORLD GOLD MEDALLIST MOON IN POLE VAULT
Amazing quality in the jump disciplines, starting with the women's long jump, already presented in recent weeks, honoured by the entire 2022 world podium (German Malaika Mihambo, Nigerian Ese Brume, Brazilian Leticia Oro Melo), in addition to the world indoor gold Ivana Vuleta (Serbia), the European indoor champion Jazmin Sawyers (Great Britain) and crowd favourite Larissa Iapichino, who trains at the Ridolfi stadium. There will also be a preview of the Budapest 2023 World Championships in the women's pole vault with Olympic gold medallist and world champion Katie Moon (USA), the world indoor champion Sandi Morris, the Australian third in Eugene Nina Kennedy. In the triple jump, the focus is on the contest between the world indoor record holder Fabrice Hugues Zango (Burkina Faso), the neo-Italian Andy Diaz, the world indoor gold medallist Lazaro Martinez (Cuba). Two-time Olympic gold medallist Christian Taylor (USA) will also be competing. In the high jump, the Korean world silver medallist Woo Sang-hyeok, the Ukrainian Andriy Protsenko bronze from Eugene and the American JuVaughn Harrison will challenge each other.
THROWS: KOVACS-WALSH WITH ITALIAN SHOT PUTTERS, ALLMAN IN DISCUS
So much power in shot put. Two medallists from the last World Athletics Championships (the Americans Joe Kovacs and Josh Awotunde, silver and bronze), the multiple medallist from New Zealand Tom Walsh, the Brazilian Darlan Romani, the Italians Zane Weir and Leonardo Fabbri supported by local fans. Excellent cast also in the discus throw with the Olympic gold medallist Valarie Allman (USA), the Chinese world champion Feng Bin, the two-time Olympic gold Sandra Perkovic (Croatia).