World pole vault record holder Armand “Mondo” Duplantis and double world 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm are in the spotlight at the 40th edition of the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea on Thursday 17th September.
Duplantis will make his debut in the Rome Olympic Stadium. During the summer season the Swedish star has cleared the 6m barrier four times in Monte-Carlo (6.00m), Stockolm (6.01m), Lausanne (6.07m) and Brussels (6.00m) and made 13 attempts at breaking Sergey Bubka’s world outdoor record of 6.15m. Bubka also holds the Golden Gala meeting record with 5.94m. In last Sunday’s competition in Berlin Duplantis cleared 5.91m winning his 14th outdoor or indoor competition this year. Duplantis will clash with former world record holder Renaud Lavillenie, who won his 10th French title last weekend in Albi, British record holder Harry Coppell, who cleared 5.85m at the National Championships in Manchester, world finalist Claudio Stecchi from Italy, who cleared 5.82m in Chiari earlier this month, Ernest Obiena from the Philippines, who won in Ostrava last week and Belgian record holder Ben Broeders.
Karsten Warholm missed Kevin Young’s 400m hurdles world record by just 0.09 with a highly-impressive 46.87 in the Wanda Diamond League in Stockolm. This summer Warholm set two meeting records in Montecarlo (47.10) and Berlin (47.08). The Norwegian star will make an attempt to break the Golden Gala record of 47.48 set by Abderrahmane Samba in 2018. In that race Warholm finished second setting the European Under 23 record with 47.82.
Yaroslava Mahuchik and Yuliya Levchenko will clash in an all Ukrainian battle in the women’s high jump. The meeting record held by Yelena Slesarenko, Hestrie Cloete, Blanka Vlasic and Chauntie Howard Lowe with 2.03m could be under threat. Levchenko leads 11-7 in her head-to-head clashes against Mahuchik. Levchenko and Mahuchik share the world lead with 2.00m. Nicole McDermott from Australia is in contention for a top-three spot after clearing a lifetime best of 1.98m earlier this summer.
European Indoor champion Gianmarco Tamberi from Italy will try to win the Golden Gala for the first time in his career after finishing third with 2.30m in 2016 and fourth with 2.28m in 2019. The line-up also features world seasonal leader Maksim Nedasekau (2.33m), Ukraine’s Andiy Protsenko (2.30m this year), former world under 18 champion Stefano Sottile from Italy and Slovenian rising star Sandro Jersin Tomassini.
Reigning 100m and 200m olympic champion Elaine Thompson Herah from Jamaica will make her European debut this year after clocking 10.88 in Kingston last June and a wind-assisted 10.73 in July. Thompson will clash against Switzerland’s Ajla Del Ponte, who won two Wanda Diamond League 100m races in Monte-Carlo and Stockolm last month.
World and Olympic finalist Akani Simbine will be the favourite in the men’s 100 metres against Italian record holder Filippo Tortu and three-time Italian champion Marcell Jacobs, US Michael Rodgers and Julian Forte from Jamaica.
Hedda Hynne from Norway set the fastest time in the world this year in the women’s 800 metres setting her national record with 1:58.10 in Bellinzona on Tuesday and is looking to add another win against British training partners Jemma Reekie and Laura Muir. Reekie clocked 1:58.63 this summer, while Muir recently won the 800m in Ostrava in 1:58.84. Muir finished second in the 1500m in Rome last year with 3:57.63.
European 1500m record holder Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who clocked 3:28.68 in Monte-Carlo, and Ostrava 5000m winner Jakob Kiplimo will be going for a fast time in the men’s 3000m. Yeman Crippa will make an attempt at breaking Italian 3000m record of 7:39.54 held by Gennaro Di Napoli since 1996. Australia’s Stewart McSweyn is also in very good form after winning in the 1500m in Zagreb in 3:32.17.
Italy’s Leonardo Fabbri leads the line-up in the men’s shot put with his impressive 21.99 PB at the Italian Championships in Padua and will be looking to win his first Diamond League competition against reigning European Indoor and outdoor champion Michal Haratyk and European under 23 champion Konrad Bukowiecki from Poland, Bob Bertemens from Luxemburg and US Nick Ponzio (21.07 PB this year).
Dutch rising star Femke Bol is the favourite in the women’s 400m hurdles after setting the world seasonal lead with 53.79. Bol won the 400m hurdles race in Bellinzona in 54.33 beating European champion Lea Sprunger.
Another Dutch win could come from Nadine Visser, who set the world seasonal best in the women’s 100m hurdles in 12.68 in Turku beating Italy’s Luminosa Bogliolo, who set her 2020 best with 12.79. Visser held off Bogliolo in Bellinzona in 12.79 to 12.82 and will square off against each other in Rome.
US Freddie Crittenden edged Andy Pozzi in a very close 110m hurdles race in Rovereto and will renew their battle in Rome on Thursday. Wilhlelm Belocian, who won the French title last weekend, Brazil’s Gabriel Constantino and Kuwait’s Yakoub Mohamed Al Youha could be in contention for the top three.
The favourite on paper is European gold medallist Justyna Swiety Ersetic, who holds the fastest time among the entrants in the women’s 400 metres. Another Polish win could come from Karol Zalewski in the men’s 400 metres, which also features Rabah Yousif from Great Britain, Italian rising stars Vladimir Aceti and Edoardo Scotti (European Under 20 champions in 2017 and 2019 respectively) and Great Britain’s Rabah Yousif.
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