Rome Diamond League (Golden Gala Pietro Mennea) Event by Event Preview

Posted by: Watch Athletics

Sixteen Tokyo 2021 Olympic champions are set to highlight the 42nd edition of the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on 9 June. The major Italian athletics meeting will celebrate the Italian athletes, who won five gold medals at the Olympic Games last year.

Women’s 200 metres:

Olympic 100m and 200m champion Elaine Thompson Herah will clash against double 400m Olympic champion Shaunae Miller Uibo, 200m world champion Dina Asher Smith, multiple world and Olympic champion Allyson Felix, four-time world medallist Marie Josée Ta Lou, olympic 100m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson and 60m world indoor champion Mujinga Kambundji in a star-studded 200m race.

The meeting record set by Asher Smith with 22.06 in last year’s edition of the Golden Gala meeting could be under threat and the 22 seconds barrier could be broken for the first time in the history of the meeting.

Thompson Herah became the first sprinter in history to score two Olympic double wins in the 100 and 200 metres. She set her PBs of 10.54 in the 100m at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene and 21.53 in the 200m in the Olympic final in Tokyo becoming the second fastest sprinter in history behind Florence Griffith Joyner. “Fastelaine” will be chasing her fourth win in Rome after her previous three 100m wins in 2016 (10.87), 2019 (10.89) and 2020 (10.85). Thompson Herah won her first Diamond League races this season in Eugene in 10.79 and Rabat in 10.83. In the 200m she ran twice this year in 22.75 and 22.55 in Kingston last May.

Miller Uibo will run her first 200 metres race of the season. The Bahamian sprinter won the 400m world indoor gold medal in Belgrade and clocked her 400m outdoor seasonal best of 49.81 in Gainesville last April. In her seasonal debut in the Diamond League Miller Uibo finished third in the 400m in Doha in 51.84 in windy conditions.  Miller Uibo leads 5-1 in her head-to-head clashes against Thompson Herah, but the Jamaican star won her only race against the Bahamian in the 200m Olympic final in Tokyo.

Asher Smith finished second in the 100m in 10.94 in 2019 and won the 200m in a meeting record of 22.06 in Florence in her previous two appearances at the Golden Gala. In this year’s edition of the Diamond League the British sprinter won the 100m in Birmingham in 11.11, finished third in the 200m in Doha in 22.37 and fourth in the 100m in Eugene in 10.98. 

Sprint legend Allyson Felix won 30 medals (including seven Olympic gold medals and 14 world gold medals) during her long career. The US sprinter will receive the cheers from the Italian crowd in her final appearance in Rome before retiring from athletics at the end of the season. Last year the 36-year-old Californian sprinter won the bronze medal in the 400m and the gold medal with the 4x400 relay in Tokyo. In her first appearances in European meetings this year Felix finished second in the 200m in Ostrava in 22.78 and in the 400m in Chorzow in 50.71.

Shericka Jackson won three Olympic medals in the 100m (bronze in 10.76), in the 4x100 relay (gold in 41.02) and in the 4x400 (bronze in 3:21.24). This year the 27-year-old Jamaican sprinter finished second in Doha in the 200m in 22.07 and in Birmingham in the 100m in 11.12 and third in the 100m in Eugene in 10.92.

Ta Lou won the world bronze medal in the 100m in Doha 2019 and equalled the 100m African record clocking 10.78 in the Olympic heats before finishing fourth in the final in 10.91.

Kambundji won the world indoor gold medal in the 60m in a Swiss record of 6.96 and the world 200m bronze medal in Doha. The Berne-native sprinter finished seventh in the 100m and in the 200m at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and fifth in the 100m in a PB of 10.94 and fourth in the 200m in the Diamond League final in Zurich last year. This year she finished seventh in 11.11 in the 100m in Eugene.

The line-up is completed by Beth Dobbin from Great Britain, seventh in the European Championships in the 200m in Berlin 2018, and Italian sprinter Dalia Kaddari, European Under 23 champion in 22.64 in Tallin 2021.

Men’s 100 metres:

Olympic 100m silver medallist Fred Kerley is the stand-out name in the men’s 100 metres. The expected Olympic re-match against Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs will not take place, as the Italian sprinter has pulled out of the Italian meeting due to an injury problem.

Kerley returns to the Golden Gala four years after his win in the 400 metres in 2018 in 44.33. In the same year the Texas-born sprinter also won his first Diamond League title in Zurich in 44.50. One year later Kerley won the world bronze medal in the 400m in 44.17 in Doha. Last September he won the Diamond League final in the 100m in 9.87 becoming the first sprinter to win Diamond Trophies in the 100m and the 400m. He also finished second in the 200m behind Olympic champion André De Grasse in 19.72.

Kerley is a versatile sprinter and has joined the very exclusive club of sprinters, who have been able to dip under 10 seconds in the 100m (PB 9.84 in Tokyo), under 20 seconds in the 200m (19.76 in Nairobi in 2021) and under 44 seconds in the 400m (43.64 in Des Moines in 2019).

Kerley set his seasonal best of 9.92 in the 100m in Nairobi and finished second to Trayvon Bromell in the star-studded race at the Prefontaine Classic in 9.98. His season has been highlighted by his win in the 200m in Walnut in 19.80 and his second place to Noah Lyles in the Doha Diamond League meeting in a wind-assisted 19.75 (+2.1 m/s).

After Bromell and Su have pulled out the Rome race, Kerley will take on the other US sprinters Marvin Bracy, who improved his PB to 9.85 last year and clocked a wind-assisted 9.80 in Montverde last weekend, Kyree King (9.98 this year), world 4x100 relay champion Mike Rodgers (PB 9.85), Isiah Young (PB 9.89), Cravont Charleston, who won the 100m at the Memorial Odlozil in Prague last Monday in 10.11, Jamaica’s Nigel Ellis, who set a PB of 10.04 last year, and Italian rising star Chituru Ali, who improved his PB in the 100m to 10.18 and in the 200m to 20.64.  

Men’s 400 metres:

Kirani James won three Olympic medals (gold in London, silver in Rio and bronze in Tokyo). The 400m sprinter from Grenada will compete for the first time in Italy 13 years after two gold medals at the World Under 18 Championships in Bressanone 2009 in the 200m and in the 400m. This year he finished second to Michael Norman in the Eugene Prefontaine Classic in 44.02 and won in Ponce in 44.70.

James will face Michael Cherry, who won the Olympic gold medal with the 4x400 relay in 2:55.70 and finished fourth in the 400m in Tokyo in 44.21. In the post-Olympic Diamond League meetings Cherry won in Brussels in 44.03 breaking Michael Johnson’s meeting and the Zurich final in 44.41 beating James by 0.01.

The other names to watch Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, who won the Olympic bronze medal with the 4x400 relay in Tokyo and broke national records of 19.77 in the 200m and 43.72 in the 400m, 4x400 mixed relay Olympic bronze medallist Vernon Norwood, who finished fourth in Eugene in 44.66 and first in Hengelo in 45.28, European Under 23 champion Ricky Petrucciani from Switzerland, and Olympic 4x400 relay finalist Edoardo Scotti, who won in the Rome Golden Gala in 45.21 in 2020, Liemarvin Bonevacia from the Netherlands, who won the Olympic silver medal with the 4x400 relay and clocked a national record of 44.40 last year in Berne, Christopher Taylor, sixth in the Olympic 400m final in 44.79, and Lidio Andres Feliz from Dominican Republic, who set his lifetime best of 44.64 at the Ibero American Championships in La Nucia this year.  

Men’s 200 metres:

The men’s 200 metres is an extra non-DL event, as it is not part of the Wanda Diamond League programme for the Rome meeting and do not award qualifying points for the final in Zurich. However, it will be an important race as it celebrates Italian sprinters Filippo Tortu, Eseosa Desalu and Lorenzo Patta, who won the 4x100 relay Olympic title in Tokyo. The meeting is dedicated to Italian sprint legend Pietro Mennea, who won the 200m in the first edition of the Golden Gala a few weeks after his Olympic gold medal in Moscow.

Kenny Bednarek will chase his back-to-back win in the Diamond League just four days after finishing first in Rabat in 20.21. Bednarek won the Olympic 200m silver medal in his PB of 19.68, the Diamond League final in Zurich in 19.70 and broke the 20 seconds barrier 12 times last year.

The US sprinter will take on Jereem Richards, bronze medallist in the 200m and gold medallist in the 4x400 relay at the World Championships in London 2017. Last March the sprinter from Trinidad and Tobago won the 400m world indoor gold medal in 45.00.

Desalu set the third fastest time in Italian sprint history with 20.13 when he finished sixth in the European final in Berlin 2018. He finished third in Rabat in 20.54 last Sunday and improved his 100m PB to 10.21 in Savona.

Tortu set his PB of 20.11 in Nairobi last year and finished fourth in 20.34 in 2017 and fifth in 2019 in 20.36 in his previous two 200m appearances in the Golden Gala. This year he clocked a wind-assisted 20.41 in Doha.

Patta set his PB of 10.13 in the 100m in Savona in 2021 and clocked 10.19 on the same track this year.  

The line-up also features Nethaneel Mitchell Blake from Great Britain, world 4x100 champion in London 2017, Luxolo Adams from South Africa, who finished second in Rabat in 20”35, and Joshua Hartmann from Germany, fifth in the 4x100 relay at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Women’s 100 metres hurdles:

Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho Quinn is the reigning Olympic champion, the world seasonal leader and meeting record holder in the women’s 100 metres hurdles with her 12.38 in Florence one year ago.

The Puerto Rican hurdler clocked the fourth fastest time in history with her PB of 12.26 set in the Olympic semifinal in Tokyo, missing the world record by 0.06. She set the fastest time in the world this year in Gainesville and is looking to extend her winning streak after finishing first in her most recent races at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene in 12.45, Ostrava in 12.56 and Chorzow in 12.43.

Camacho Quinn will take on reigning Doha 2019 world outdoor champion and 2016 Olympic silver medallist Nia Ali, who made a successful comeback this year clocking 12.59 in Gainesville and clocked 12.69 twice in Ostrava and Hengelo. Ali gave birth to her third child in May 2021.

The line-up also features Tokyo olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper from Jamaica, Dutchwoman Nadine Visser, fifth placer in Tokyo and first in the Rome Golden Gala in 2020, Jamaica’s Britany Anderson, who won in Hengelo in 12.51 last Monday, 21-year-old world indoor champion Cyrena Samba Mayela from France, Beijing 2015 world champion Danielle Williams, who set a lifetime best of 12.32 in the London Diamond League in 2019, and Italian record holder Luminosa Bogliolo, who finished second in Rome in 2020 and broke the Italian record clocking 12.75 in the Olympic semifinal in Tokyo.

Women’s 400 metres hurdles:

Femke Bol broke the world's all-time best in the 300 metres hurdles at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava on 31 May clocking a sensational 36.86 and clocking the fifth-fastest time in the world with 53.94 at the FBK Games in Hengelo last Monday. Last March Bol won the world indoor silver medal in the 400m in Belgrade. The 22-year-old Dutch athlete won the Olympic bronze medal in the 400m hurdles setting the European record with 52.03. She won twice in the past two editions of the Golden Gala in Rome in 2020 in 53.90 and in 2021 in 53.44. Last year she won five Diamond League races in Oslo, Stockholm, Gateshead, Lausanne and Zurich, claiming the Diamond Trophy.

The reigning Diamond League champion will clash against Jamaica’s Janieve Russell, who finished fourth in the 400m hurdles before winning the Olympic bronze medal in the 4x400 relay in Tokyo and won two editions of the Golden Gala in 2016 and 2017, Ukrainian hurdlers Anna Ryzhikova and Viktoriya Tkachuk, who finished fifth and sixth in the Tokyo Olympic final, Rushell Clayton from Jamaica, who won the world bronze medal in Doha 2019, Lina Nielsen from Great Britain, who set her PB with 54.76 in Jacksonville, two-time World University Games champion Ayomide Folorunso from Italy, who set her seasonal best of 55.29 in Savona, and Yasmin Giger from Switzerland, who won the European Under 20 gold medal in Grosseto 2017.

Women’s 800 metres:

Olympic 800m and 4x400 relay champion Athing Mu will  run her first 800 metres race in the Diamond League outside the United States. Last year she set the US record of 1:55.04 on her debut in the circuit at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene a few weeks after winning the Olympic final in Tokyo in 1:55.21. Mu will turn 20 on the eve of the Golden Gala. This year Mu won the 400 metres in Ponce in 50.42.

Mu will take on three middle-distance runners with a sub-1:57 time: Jamaica’s Natoya Goule, who improved her PB to 1:56.15 four years ago in Monaco and clocked 1:56.44 in Stockholm last year, Cuba’s Rose Mary Almanza, who improved her PB to 1:56.28 in Stockholm 2021 and Jemma Reekie from Great Britain, who came very close to the medal with her fourth place with 1:56.90 and set her seasonal best of 1:58.44 in Chorzow last weekend. Four athletes lining up have PBs under 1:57 and eight have dipped under the 2 minutes barrier in 2022.

The line-up is rounded out by Uganda’s Halimah Nakaay, who won the world outdoor gold medal in Doha and Ethiopia’s Freweyni Hailu, who won the world indoor silver medal in the 800m in Belgrade and finished second in Rabat in the 1500m in 3:58.18, Renelle Lamote from France, two-time European silver medallist, Mary Moraa from Kenya, who won in Rabat in 1:58.93, Lindsey Butterworth from Canada, sixth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade 2022 and Italian middle-distance runner Elena Bellò, who finished fourth in Rabat last Sunday in her first appearance in a Diamond League meeting outside Italy.  

Women’s 1500 metres:

The stand-out name in the women’s 1500 metres is Laura Muir, reigning Olympic silver medallist with a British record of 3:54.50. Muir won her first Diamond League race of the season on home soil in Birmingham. In her previous appearances at the Golden Gala the Scottish athlete finished second in 2019 in 3:56.73 and third in 2021 in 3:55.59.

Ethiopian runners Axumawit Embaye and Hirut Meshesha, who won the silver and bronze medals respectively at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, will be the strongest rivals for Muir. Meshesha arrives in Rome in great form and won her first Diamond League race in 3:57.30 in Rabat last Sunday.

The other top names are Gabriela Debues Stafford from Canada, who finished fifth in the Olympic final in 3:58.93 and clocked 3:58.62 in Eugene on 28 May, Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo, fourth in the 800m at the World Championships in Eugene, Ethiopia’s Habitam Alemu, US Cory Ann McGee, European Cross Country champion Karoline Bjerkeli Grovdal from Norway, Gaia Sabbatini from Italy, who set her PB of 4:01.93 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, and 2015 European Indoor bronze medallist Federica Del Buono, who set the second fastest time in her career with 4:05.58 in Grosseto.

Men’s 5000 metres:

The men’s 5000 metres race is shaping up as a very fast race. Selemon Barega from Ethiopia, who clocked an amazing PB of 12:43.02 in 2018, will headline a great line-up. In the past years Barega won the world silver medal in the 5000m in Doha 2019 and won the Olympic gold medal in the 10000m in Tokyo 2021. This year the Ethiopian runner won the world indoor title in the 3000m in Belgrade and finished third in the 5000m in the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene in 13:07.30.  

Barega will take on Berihu Aregawi, who set the current world lead of 12:50.05 in Eugene and clocked a world indoor seasonal best of 7:26.20 in Karlsruhe last January.

The other top athletes lining up are two-time world champion Mo Ahmed, who won the Olympic silver medal in the 5000m in Tokyo in 12:58.61 and the world bronze medal in Doha, two-time 5000m world champion Muktar Edris, world 10000m silver medallist Yomif Kejelcha and 2019 Golden Gala winner Telahun Haile Bekele. The Kenyan challenge is led by Nicholas Kipkorir Kimeli, who finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The European hopes are carried by Spain’s Mohamed Katir, who set the national record  in the 5000m with 12:50.79 in last year’s edition of the Golden Gala in Florence and Italy’s Yeman Crippa, who set the 3000m Italian record in the 2020 edition of the Golden Gala with 7:38.27 and holds further national records in the 5000m, 10000m and half-marathon.

Two world records were set in the Olympic Stadium (Moroccan runner Said Aouita became the first runner to break the 13 minutes barrier with 12:58.39 in 1987 and Kenya’s Moses Kiptanui clocked 12:55.30 in 1995). The meeting record has been held by Kenyan legend Eliud Kipchoge for 18 years (12:46.53 in 2004).

Men’s 3000 metres steeplechase:

World and Olympic silver medallist Lemecha Girma from Ethiopia has just broken the 8 metres barrier twice clocking 7:58.68 in Ostrava and 7:59.24 in Rabat, where he finished second to Soufiane El Bakkali.

Girma will take on Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale and Eritrea’s Yemane Haileselassie, who finished fourth and fifth respectively in Tokyo.

The Kenyan challenge is led by Rio Olympic gold medallist and two-time world champion Conseslus Kipruto, who won in the Rome leg of the Diamond League three times in a row (2016, 2017 and 2018). Kipruto made his come-back in Rabat last Sunday when he finished fourth in 8:12.47. Kipruto beat Girma by 0.01 in 8:01.35 in a close race in the World Championships final in Doha.

The line-up also features Abraham Kibiwott, Commonwealth Games silver medallist in 2018, Leonard Kipkemboi Bett, world under 20 silver medallist in Tampere 2018,Amos Serem, world under 20 champion in Nairobi 2021. Home fans will cheer for the Italian trio formed by twins Ala and Osama Zoghlami and Ahmed Abdelwahed, who set his PB of 8:12.04 at last year’s edition of the Golden Gala in Florence.

Men’s high jump:

Olympic champion Gianmarco Tamberi will be looking to win for the first time in his career at the Golden Gala after finishing third in 2016 with 2.30m, fourth in 2019 with 2.28m and third in 2021 with 2.33m. Tamberi shared the Olympic gold medal with his friend Mutaz Barshim with 2.37m and became the first Italian athlete to win the Diamond Trophy winning the Zurich final with 2.34m. Unfortunately the reunion of the Olympic final between Tamberi and Barshim will not take place on Thursday, as the jumper from Qatar pulled out of the Rome meeting due to a physical problem.

Tamberi described the Golden Gala as “the event of the year” apart from the World Championships in Eugene.

Tamberi will take on Andiy Protsenko from Ukraine, who won the Diamond League title in 2019 and beat the Italian athlete in Rome in 2020, Loic Gasch from Switzerland, who won the World Indoor silver medal with 2.31m in Belgrade, Brandon Starc from Australia, Diamond League champion in Brussels in 2018, US rising star Ju’Vaughn Harrison, who finished fifth in the long jump with 8.15m and seventh in the high jump with 2.33m, Django Lovett from Canada, who won the Diamond League meeting with 2.28m in Birmingham and finished third in Doha with 2.27m, reigning world under 20 champion Yonathan Kapitolnik from Israel, who cleared 2.30m this year, European Under 23 bronze medallist Norbert Kobielski from Poland, third in Birmingham and Italian high jumper Marco Fassinotti, who held the previous Italian indoor record with 2.35m and made a come-back from injury by jumping 2.25m in Lucca this year.

The recent 2.30m jumps produced by Tamberi and Kapitolinik are the best heights set during the outdoor season among the entrants. It’s just one cm off the 2.31m height achieved by Tamberi, when he won the world indoor bronze medal in Belgrade last March.

Women’s pole vault:

World Indoor gold medallist Sandi Morris will chase her third consecutive win at this year’s edition of the Diamond League after clearing 4.73m in Birmingham and 4.65m in Rabat. Morris is now training with Olympic champion Katie Nageotte under the guidance of former US pole vaulter Brad Walker. Morris, who joined the exclusive 5.00m club in Brussels in 2016, won her second consecutive world indoor title in Belgrade last March with 4.80m beating Nageotte and Slovenia’s Tina Sutej. The entire Belgrade podium will be reunited in Rome.

Nageotte, who set her PB of 4.95m last season at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, won the Olympic gold medal with 4.90m and three Diamond League meetings in Doha, Eugene and Monaco in 2021. The US pole vaulter will be looking to bounce back from the disappointment at the Rabat Diamond League meeting,  where she fouled three attempts at the opening height of 4.30m.

The other stars in the field are 2016 Olympic gold medallist Katerina Stefanidi, who finished second in Birmingham with 4.65m and Rabat with 4.55m, Olympic bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw, who set the British record of 4.90m last year, Tina Sutej from Slovenia, who set the national record with 4.80m in Rouen and won the world indoor bronze medal in Belgrade, Robeilys Peinado from Venezuela, world bronze medallist in London 2017, Angelica Moser from Switzerland, European Indoor champion in Torun 2021 with 4.75m and fourth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, and Italian vaulters Roberta Bruni (national outdoor record holder with 4.70m and Elisa Molinarolo (national indoor champion in 2022).

Five pole vault records were set in the history of the Golden Gala by Thierry Vigneron (5.83m in 1983 and 5.91m in 1984), Sergey Bubka (5.94 in 1984), Yelena Isinbayeva (5.03m in 2008) and Armand Duplantis (6.15m in 2020).

Women’s long jump:

Olympic and world champion Malaika Mihambo set one of the best performances of her career with 7.07m in Rome in the 2019 edition of the Golden Gala and went on to win the world outdoor gold medal with her PB of 7.30m in Doha in 2019. The German star won her first Diamond League of the season in Birmingham setting the world-leading mark of 7.09m and has remained unbeaten in her four outdoor competitions this year. She arrives in Rome after her win in Hengelo with 6.65m in difficult weather conditions.

Mihambo will renew her rivalry against Ukraine’s Maryna Beck Romanchuk from Ukraine, who won the European Indoor gold medal in Torun 2021 beating her German rival. The Ukrainian jumper won the world indoor silver medal in the triple jump in Belgrade 2022 and finished second in this discipline in the Doha Diamond League meeting with 14.73m.

Sweden’s Khaddi Sagnia is getting closer to the 7.00 metres barrier and jumped 6.95m in the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene.

The line-up also features Great Britain’s Jazmyn Sawyers, eighth in the Olympic final in Tokyo, US Quanesha Burks, who leapt to a  PB of 6.96m, Chantel Malone from British Virgin Islands, Canada’s Christabel Nettey, who finished fourth at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, and world indoor under 20 record holder Larissa Iapichino from Italy, who set the world indoor under 20 record with 6.91m last year.

Men’s shot put:

The 22 metres barrier could be broken for the first time in the history of the Golden Gala. The meeting record has been held by Polish shot putter Konrad Bukowiecki with 21.97m since 2019. Bukowiecki will compete in this year’s edition in a line-up that features two-time Olympic silver medallist and world champion Joe Kovacs and Belgrade 2022 world indoor champion Darlan Romani from Brazil.

In the past few seasons, Kovacs has won two Olympic silver medals in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2021, two world gold medals in Beijing 2015 and Doha 2019 with his PB of 22.91m, but he has not won a Diamond League competition since July 2016. Kovacs finished second with a seasonal best of 22.49m in Eugene and won in the Continental Tour Gold meeting in Ostrava with 22.25m.

Romani won world indoor title in Belgrade with a super throw of 22.53m. With this result he bounced back from his fourth places in Tokyo and Doha, where he finished off the podium despite an impressive throw of 22.53m. The line-up also features a good quality of European throwers that includes Poland’s European outdoor champion Michal Haratyik Italian specialists Nick Ponzio (national indoor and outdoor champion) and Leonardo Fabbri (third in last year’s edition of the Golden Gala with 21.71m), Croatia’s Filip Mihaljevic, European indoor bronze medallist with 21.71m, Serbia’s Armin Sinancevic and two-time world champion David Storl from Germany. Zane Weir has pulled out the meeting due to a hand injury.

Men’s discus throw:

Six of the top eight ranked athletes in Tokyo will fight in the Olympic Stadium in a re-match of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The stand-out name is reigning Olympic and world champion Daniel Stahl, the fourth best discus thrower in history with his PB of 71.86m set in 2019. Stahl won the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo with 68.90m and the Diamond League final in Zurich.

Stahl will take on twenty-three year-old Slovenian thrower Krjstian Ceh, who broke into the top ten in the all-time list with his PB of 71.27m in Birmingham and claimed a second consecutive Diamond League win in Rabat with 69.68m. He finished fifth in Tokyo, where he was beaten by Simon Petterson from Sweden and Lukas Weisshaidinger from Austria, who won the Olympic silver and bronze medals respectively. Petterson and Weisshaidinger will also line-up in Rome in a reunion of the Tokyo Olympic podium.

The other Olympic finalists lining up are Lithuania’s Andrius Gudzius, who won the world title in London 2017, US thrower Sam Mattis, who set his PB of 68.69m in Tucson, world silver medallist Fedrick Dacres from Jamaica, who won the world silver medal in Doha and set his PB of 70.78m in Rabat in 2019. The meeting record of 68.78m held by Piotr Malachowki since 2010 is under threat.

Men’s 3000m walking rac

This extra competition has been included in the programme to celebrate the 20 km Olympic champion Massimo Stano, who won the 20 km race on the roads of Sapporo. The Italian walker is the most eagerly awaited athlete in the 3000m walking race on the track, which returns to the Golden Gala programme 32 years after the last time in the edition held in Bologna in 1990.

Stano will face 50 km Olympic silver medallist Jonathan Hilbert from Germany, Diego Garcia Carrera, who finished sixth in the 20 km Olympic race, Italian 20 km specialist Francesco Fortunato, Diego Giampaolo, silver medallist in the under 20 race at the World Race Walking Cup in Muscat 2022, and Riccardo Orsoni, European Under 20 silver medallist in Boras 2019.

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