The Olympic Stadium in Tokyo hosts the Seiko Golden Grand Prix, the fourth leg of the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold, nine months after the Olympic Games. Raj Benjamin, Michael Norman, Christian Coleman, Kendra Harrison and Kelsey Lee Barber are the top names expected to compete in the Japanese capital.
Men’s 400m hurdles: Raj Benjamin returns to Tokyo
Raj Benjamin will return to the venue of his silver medal in the 400m hurdles and his Olympic title in the 4x400 relay at the Olympic Games in 2021.
Benjamin finished second in the 400m hurdles in 46.17 setting the second fastest time in history in the greatest race of all-time, where Karsten Warholm won the Olympic gold medal in a world record time of 45.94. Benjamin’s time is faster than the world record before the Olympic Games.
Benjamin anchored the US 4x400 team to Olympic gold with a 43.4 split en route to recording the fourth fastest time in history of 2:55.70.
Hiromi Yamauchi is the top Japanese hurdler in the field. Yamauchi finished second at the Ready Steady meeting in 48.84 and reached the semifinal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. He will be joined by his compatriot Kazuki Kurokawa, who won the Tokyo Continental Tour meeting in 48.68 last year at the age of 19, and Takatoshi Abe, who won the world under 20 silver medal in Moncton 2010.
Men’s 400 metres:
Michael Norman, who trains with Benjamin under the guidance of former 400m Olympic champion Quincy Watts and Caryl Smith Gilbert, will compete in his first 400m race this season. Norman finished fifth in the 400m in 44.31 and won the Olympic gold medal in the 4x400 at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Norman clocked a seasonal best of 19.83 in the Walnut Continental Tour meeting.
It’s very special for Norman to compete in Japan, the country of origin of his mother Nobue Sato, who set a Japanese middle-school record in the 100 metres. Norman won the 200 metres in his first ever race on Japanese soil in 2019 at the Golden Grand Prix in Osaka in 19.84.
The line-up also features Alex Beck from Australia (45.54), Vladimir Aceti from Italy, olympic seventh placer with the 4x400 in Tokyo with the national record of 2:58.81, and Kentaro Saro from Japan (45.58).
Women’s 100 metres hurdles:
US Kendra Harrison and Jamaica’s Megan Tapper, who won the Olympic silver and bronze medals in the 100m hurdles in Tokyo, will go head-to-head in the women’s 100m hurdles. Harrison has already shown good form in the early stages of this outdoor season clocking wind-assisted times of 12.34 in the 100m hurdles and 22.19 in the 200 metres at the Texas Relays on 26 March and finished second in 12.56 in her favourite event at the USATF Golden Games in Walnut on 16 April.
Tapper clocked her PB of 12.53 in the 100m hurdles heats before finishing third in the final in 12.55, just 0.03 behind Harrison. Tapper started the 2022 outdoor season with 12.80 in Kingston last April.
The other top name to watch is Gabby Cunningham, who finished seventh in the 100m hurdles Olympic final and won the world indoor bronze medal in the 60m hurdles in Belgrade last March.
The line-up is rounded out by Masumi Aoki, who clocked 12.86 earlier this year in Niigata, and her predecessor as national record holder Asuka Terada, who took the win against her compatriot in the previous edition of the Ready Steady meeting in Tokyo in the previous national record of 12.87.
Men’s 100 metres:
Christian Coleman, who won two world titles in the 100 metres in 9.76 and in the 4x100 relay in 37.10, will run his first 100 metres race of the season. Coleman won the world indoor silver medal in the 60 metres in 6.41 in Belgrade last March and ran two 200 metres races clocking 20.25 in Baton Rouge on 9 April and 19.92 in Lexington on 22 April.
Coleman will face Japanese sprinter Yuki Koike, who set his PB of 9.98 and won the world bronze medal in the 4x100 relay at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Shuhei Tada and Taishi Endo from Japan and Rohan Browining from Australia, who share the same PB of 10.01. Yoshihide Kiryu has pulled out of the meeting due to an injury problem.
Women’s javelin throw:
World champion and Olympic silver medallist Kelsey Lee Barber from Australia will take on Latvia’s Lina Muze (European Under 23 champion in Tampere 2013), Tori Peeters from New Zealand (national record holder with 62.40) and Haruka Kitaguchi (Japanese record holder with 62.06m) in the women’s javelin.
Men’s high jump:
Reigning Commonwealth Games champion Brandon Starc will take on 2022 world indoor champion Hamish Kerr from New Zealand and top Japanese high jumpers Naoto Tobe, who holds the national indoor record with 2.35m, and Tomoshiro Shinno (PB 2.31m) and Edgar Rivera from Mexico, who finished fourth at the World Championships in London 2017 and holds a PB of 2.31m.
Women’s 200 metres:
US sprinter Lynna Irby starts as the favourite in the 200 metres. Irby won the gold medal in the 4x400 relay and the silver in the 400m at the World Under 20 Championships in Bydgoszcz 2016, the NCAA outdoor title in 2018 in her PB of 49.80 and the National Indoor Championships title in 2022. Irby will face Angie Annelus, who finished fourth at the World Championships in Doha and won the NCAA title in 22.16 in 2019, and Australia’s Jacinta Beecher, who recently improved her PB to 22.70.
Men’s 800 metres:
Isiah Jewett leads the line-up with his PB 1:43.85 set last year when he finished second at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene. The only other athlete entered with a sub-1:45 time is Guy Learmonth, who clocked 1:44.73 in London in 2018. The line-up is rounded out by Brad Mathas from New Zealand, who won in Fukuroi earlier this week, and Japan’s Kentaro Usuda.
Men’s 110 metres hurdles:
Shunya Takayama (PB 13.25) will take on Rashid Muratake (PB 13.28), Shuhei Ishikawa, Shunya Takayama and Shusei Nomoto.
Men’s javelin throw:
Japan’s Genki Dean leads the line-up with his PB of 84.28m set in Hiroshima in 2012. Dean will face his compatriot Takuto Kominami, who won the Japanese title and won last year’s edition of the Tokyo meeting.
Men’s 3000 steeplechase:
Ryuji Miura returns to the venue, where he broke the Japanese 3000m steeplechase record clocking 8.17.46 at the age of 19 at last year’s edition of the Continental Tour Gold meeting in Tokyo. Miura went to finish seventh at the Olympic Games in the same stadium with his new national record of 8:09.92. The line-up also features Kenya’s Philemon Rono, and Japanese specialists Ryoma Aoki and Kosei Yamaguchi.
Women’s 1500 metres:
Nozomi Tanaka from Japan leads the 1500 metres field. Tanaka won the world under 20 gold medal in Tampere 2018 and finished eighth in the 1500m final at the Olympic Games in Tokyo with the national record of 3:59.19.