The star-studded line-up of the 43th edition of the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea at the Luigi Ridolfi Stadium in Florence features 7 reigning Olympic champions, 7 reigning world champions, 95 overall champions between the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the 2022 World Indoor Championships in Belgrade and the World Championships in Eugene. Four stars in the starting list of the top Italian meeting won both the Olympic title in Tokyo and the world title in Eugene: Joshua Cheptegei (5000m), Faith Kipyegon (1500m), Malaika Mihambo (long jump) and Katie Moon (pole vault). The other reigning Olympic champions competing in Florence are 10000m gold medallist Selemon Barega (5000m), Peruth Chemutai (3000m steeplechase) and Valarie Allman (discus throw). The list of reigning world champions from Eugene 2022 includes Fred Kerley (100m), Grant Holloway (110m hurdles) and Feng Bin (discus throw).
Men’s 100 metres:
World 100m champion Fred Kerley will headline a eagerly awaited 100 metres showdown against Ferdinand Omanyala and Akani Simbine in a re-match of the Diamond League race in Rabat. Kerley won in the Moroccan city in 9.94 beating Simbine (9.99) and Omanyala (10.05).
Kerley set his lifetime best of 9.76 at the US Championships in Eugene and won the world gold medal in 9.86 on the same Hayward Field. The US sprinter won the 400 metres in 44.33 in 2018 and the 100m in last year’s edition of the Golden Gala in 9.92 in his previous two appearances at the Golden Gala.
Kerley won two Diamond League Trophies in the 400 metres in 2018 in 44.80 and in the 100 metres in 9.87 on the same Letzigrund track in Zurich. He started his Diamond League campaign with a win in the 200 metres in 19.92 in Doha. Last weekend Kerley won the 100m in Rabat in 9.94 beating Akani Simbine (9”99) e Ferdinand Omanyala (10”05). He won a total of ten Diamond League races over all three sprint distances (four in the 100m, two in the 200m and four in the 400m).
The entire podium of the World Championships is completed by Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell.
Bracy won the world indoor bronze medal in Belgrade in 6.44 and the world outdoor silver in 9.88. Bracy dipped under the 10 seconds barrier twice in Montreuil (France) with 9.97 in the heat and 9.93 in the final on Wednesday.
Trayvon Bromell will make his second appearance in the Golden Gala following his seventh place in the 200 metres in 20.80 in 2016. Bromell set his 100m PB with 9.76 in Nairobi in 2021 and shares the sixth place with Kerley in the world all-time list. Bromell won the Diamond League final for the first time in his career in Zurich in 9.94.
African record holder Ferdinand Omanyala will line up for the first time in his career at the Golden Gala. Omanyala set the fastest time in the world this year clocking 9.84 into a headwind of -0.5 m/s at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi on 13 May. The former rugby player set the African record with 9.77 in the 2021 edition of the Nairobi meeting and improved the national record of 6.54 in the 60 metres in Liévin beating Jacobs by 0.01. He also won the 100m in Gaborone in a wind-assisted 9.78.
Akani Simbine, who held the African record with 9.84 until September 2021, won the 100m at two consecutive editions of the Golden Gala in 2020 in Rome in 9,98 in 2020 and in Florence in 10.08 in 2021. Simbine reached two Olympic finals (fifth in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and fourth in Tokyo 2021) and three world finals (fourth in Doha 2019 and fifth in London 2017 and Eugene 2022).
Italian rising star Samuele Ceccarelli will make his Diamond League debut in front of his home fans. Ceccarelli grabbed the headlines last February when he won the Italian Indoor title in the 60 metres in 6.54 beating Jacobs. Ceccarelli repeated his feat one month later when he won the gold medal in the 60 metres at the European Championships in Istanbul in 6.48 ahead of Jacobs.
The line-up also features 2011 world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medallist Yohan Blake from Jamaica, and Rohan Browning, who won his third Australian title in the 100m in 10.02 this year.
Women’s 1500 metres:
Double 1500 metres Olympic gold medallist Faith Kipyegon will return to the stadium where she narrowly lost to Sifan Hassan in a thrilling 1500 metres race two years ago, although she set the then national record clocking 3:53.91. On that occasion Hassan set the Golden Gala meeting record with 3:53.63.
Kipyegon has improved this record by more than three seconds to 3:50.37 at the Monaco Diamond League last August becoming the second fastest athlete in history. Only Genzebe Dibaba ran faster than Kipyegon with her PB of 3:50.07 set in Monaco in 2015.
Kipyegon won the Diamond League Trophy for the third time in her career in Zurich last year a few weeks after winning her second world title in Eugene in 3:52.96. She has won a total of 18 Diamond League races and will be looking to improve this tally in Florence. She has not won at the Golden Gala yet. She took part at the Golden Gala for the first time in 2013 when she was 19 years old at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.
She also won the gold medal in London 2017 and two world silver medals in Beijing 2015 and Doha 2019.
The 29-year Kenyan athlete gave birth to her daughter Alyn in 2018 between her first Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and her second Olympic title in Tokyo 2021. Only Tatyan Kazankina and Sebastian Coe won back-to-back Olympic titles in the 1500 metres.
Kipyegon is aiming to become the first 1500 metres middle distance runner to win three world titles at next August’s World Championships in Budapest.
Kipyegon started her Diamond League season with a win in Doha in 3:58.57.
Kipyegon will go head-to-head against European outdoor and indoor champion Laura Muir, who finished third in the Golden Gala in Florence in 2021 in 3:55.59 a few weeks before winning the Olympic silver medal in a national record of 3:54.50. Muir also finished second in the 2019 edition of the Golden Gala in Rome in 3:56.73, third in the 800m in 2:00.49 in 2020 and third in 2022 in the 1500 metres behind Ethiopian runners Hirut Meshesha and Axumawit Embaye in 4:04.93. The Scottish middle distance runner won the world outdoor silver medal in Eugene last July in 3:55.28 and won the gold medals at the European Championships in Munich in 2022 in 4:01.08 and at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul 2023 in 4:03.40. She won two Diamond Trophies in 2016 and 2018.
Diribe Welteji aims to continue her good season after finishing second to Kipyegon in Doha in 3:59.34 and winning in the Los Angeles Grand Prix in 3:57.84. The versatile Ethiopian middle distance runner finished fourth in the 800 metres in 1:57.02 at the World Championships in Eugene and won the 3000m at the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Liévin in 8:34.84.
The line-up also features Gabriela Debues Stafford, fifth in the Olympic final in Tokyo in 3:58.93 and Canadian record holder with 3:56.12 at the World Championships in Doha 2019, Jessica Hull, Australian record holder with 3:58.81 and seventh at the World Championships in Eugene 2022, Linden Hall from Australia, sixth in the Olympic final in Tokyo in 3:59.01 and Abbey Caldwell, Ireland’s Clara Mageean, European silver medallist in the 1500m and winner in the Diamond League meeting in Brussels in 3:56.63, US Josette Andrews Norrie, third in the 1500m in 4:00.77 at the Los Angeles Grand Prix, Sage Hurta Klecker, third in the 800m in 2:00.62 in Rabat. The best Italian hopes are carried by Ludovica Cavalli, who improved her PB to 4:04.79 in the 1500m in Rabat, Sintayehu Vissa, NCAA indoor champion in 2022 and national indoor record holder in the mile with 4:24.54 at the Millrose Games in New York, and Federica Del Buono, European gold medallist in the mixed relay at the European Cross Country Championships in Venaria Reale last December and European Indoor bronze medallist in the 1500m in Prague 2015.
Men’s 5000 metres:
Olympic 5000m champion and 5000m and 10000m world record holder Joshua Cheptegei from Uganda will clash against Olympic 10000m champion Selemon Barega from Ethiopia, 2022 world silver medallist Jacob Krop from Kenya and Olympic silver medallist Mohamed Ahmed from Canada.
Cheptegei set world records in the 5000m with 12:35.36 in Monaco and in the 10000m with 26:11.00 in Valencia in 2020, won world titles in the 10000m in Doha 2019 and Eugene 2022 and the world cross country title in Ahrus 2019. The Ugandan athlete returns to Florence where he finished sixth in the 5000m in 2021, when Jakob Ingebrigtsen won in 12:48.45 setting the European record.
Barega won silver medals at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham 2018 in the 3000m and at the World Championships in Doha 2019 in the 5000m. The 23-year-old Ethiopian athlete will make his third appearance at the Golden Gala after finishing second in 2019 and fourth in 2022 in the Olympic Stadium in Rome. He set the fifth fastest time in history with the world under 20 record of 12:43.02 in Brussels in 2018.
Cheptegei and Barega will go head-to-head against Nicholas Kimeli Kipkorir, who won last year’s edition setting the meeting record with 12:46.33 in Rome, Spain’s Mohamed Katir, who set the national record with 12:50.79 in the previous edition in Florence, Berihu Aregawi, Diamond League champion in Zurich in 2021, Yomif Kejelcha, Diamond League champion in 2015, Samuel Tefera, two-time 1500m world indoor champion, Telahun Bekele, who won the 5000m in the Golden Gala in Rome with his PB of 12:52.98 in 2019, Getnet Wale, Diamond League winner in the 3000m steeplechase in 2019, Thierry Ndikwumwenayo, who set his PB of 12:59.39 in the 2022 Golden Gala in Roma and improved the national record in the 3000m in the Monaco Diamond League last year, Grant Fisher, US record holder with 12:46.96 in Brussels, USA’s Joe Klecker, who set a PB of 13:04.42 Luis Grijalva from Guatemala, fourth in the 5000m world final, Swedish record holder Andreas Almgren, Dominic Lobalu from South Sudan, who won the 3000m at the Diamond League meeting in Stockolm and finished second in the Diamond League final in Zurich, Stewart McSweyn, who set the Oceanian record in the 3000m with 7:28.02 in the 2020 edition of the Golden Gala in Rome.
Two world records were set in the 5000m by Said Aouita, who became the first man to run under the 13 minutes barrier with 12:58.39 in 1987, and Moses Kiptanui, who clocked 12:55.30 in 1995.
Women’s 3000 metres steeplechase:
The Golden Gala hosts the women’s 3000 metres steeplechase for the seventh time. Kenya won five consecutive times until the last edition in 2018. The line-up is led by Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech, who set the world record clocking 8:44.32 in Monaco in 2015, won the world title in Doha 2019 and two Diamond League titles. Chepkoech finished fourth in his seasonal debut in Doha in 9:06.90.
Chepkoech will face US Emma Coburn, world champion in London 2017 and world silver medallist in Doha 2019, Mekides Abebe, bronze at the World Championships in Eugene in 8:56.08, Winfred Mutile Yavi from Barhein, who set the sixth fastest time in history with 8:56.55 in Paris and won the first Diamond League race of the season in Doha in 9:06.90, 17-year-old Sembo Alemayehu, who set one of the fastest ever under 20 times in history with 9:05.83 in Doha, 21-year-old Zerfe Wondemagegn, second at the World Under 20 Championships in Nairobi 2021, Jackline Chepkoech, world under 20 champion in Nairobi 2021, Commonwealth Games gold medallist in Birmingham 2022 and winner in the Diamond League in Brussels in 9:02.43 last year, Faith Cherotich, world under 20 champion in Cali 2022, Faith Cherono, sixth at the Commonwealth Games in 2018, and Marusa Mismas Zrimsek, who set the Slovenian record with 9:13.61 in Doha 2023 and finished sixth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Luisa Gega from Albania and Lea Meyer, who won the gold and silver medals at the European Championships in Munich. US Courtney Wayment, Tunisia’s Marwa Bouzayani.
The meeting record has been held by Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi with 9:04.96 since 2018.
Women’s 400 metres hurdles:
Femke Bol is chasing her fourth consecutive win in the women’s 400 metres hurdles at the Golden Gala after clocking 53.90 in Rome in 2020, 53.44 in Florence in 2021 and 53.02 in Rome in 2022.
The “Flying Dutchwoman” broke the world indoor record in the women’s 400 metres with a sensational world record of 49.26. That record had stood since 1982, when Jarmila Kratochilova clocked 49.59 in Milan.
During her young career Bol has won the Olympic bronze medal in the 400 metres hurdles in a European record of 52.03 in Tokyo 2021, the world silver medal in 52.27 in Eugene, two Diamond League Trophies in Zurich in 2021 (52.80) and 2022 (53.03), two world indoor silver medals in the 400m and the 4x400 relay at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade 2022 and an unprecedented hat-trick of titles in the 400 metres (49.44), in the 400 metres hurdles (52.67) and in the 4x400 relay in 3:20.87 at the European Championships in Munich. Bol emulated her illustrious compatriot Fanny Blankers Koen, who won three European gold medal in the 100 and 200 metres and the 80 metres hurdles in Brussels 1950.
Bol started her outdoor season with a win in the 400 metres hurdles in 53.12 in Oordegem.
Anna Hall will make her debut on the Diamond League circuit one week after winning the heptathlon at the Hypo Meeting in Goetzis with 6988 points, setting PBs in the 100m hurdles (12.75), in the high jump (1.92m), in the 200 metres (22.88), in the long jump (6.54m) and in the 800m (2:02.97). Hall has become the fifth best performer in the heptathlon world all-time list behind Jackie Joyner Kersee, Carolina Kluft, Nafissatou Thiam and Larisa Nikitina.
The 22-year-old US star won the world bronze medal with 6755 points. She also won both the NCAA indoor and outdoor tiles and the national outdoor heptathlon title in Fayetteville with 6458 points. She set a PB of 54.48 in the 400 metres hurdles in the semifinal of the NCAA Championships Eugene last year before finishing second in the final in 54.76. This year Hall broke Brianne Theisen Eaton’s North American record with 5004 points in the pentathlon at the US Indoor Championships in Albuquerque. At the same championships she later won the US Indoor title in the 400 metres clocking a PB of 51.03.
Shamier Little will compete in her second 400m hurdles race in the Diamond League this season after winning in Rabat in 53.95 last Sunday. Little set her PB of 52.39 when she finished second to Bol in the Diamond League meeting in Stockolm in 2021.
The line-up also features Rushell Clayton, world bronze medallist in Doha 2019, Ukrainian hurdlers Anna Ryzhykova and Viktroriya Tkachuk, who finished fifth and sixth in the Olympic final In Tokyo, Gianna Woodruff, seventh at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and at the World Championships in Eugene, and Ayomide Folorunso, who set the Italian record with 54.34 in the World Championships in Eugene.
Women’s 100 metres:
Dina Asher Smith will return to Florence where she won the 200 metres in the 2021 edition of the Golden Gala in 22.06. The former 200 metres world and European champion broke the British indoor record in the 60 metres twice last winter clocking 7.04 in Karlsruhe and 7.03 in Birmingham and started the Diamond League season with a third place in the 100 metres in 10.98 in Doha. She won her first 200 metres race of the season with a wind-assisted 22.61 at the Memorial Giulio Ottolia in Savona.
The British sprinter will go head-to-head against Marie Josée Ta Lou from Ivory Coast, US sprinters Aleia Hobbs, Gabby Thomas, Abby Steiner and Tamari Davis, and European champion Gina Luckenkemper from Germany.
Hobbs set the second fastest time in the 60 metres in US history clocking 6.94 at the National Indoor Championships in Albuquerque. The US sprinter ran a seasonal best of 10.86 in Baton Rouge and clocked 10.95 in Los Angeles last Saturday.
Ta Lou set the African record with 10.72 in Monaco and dipped under the 11 seconds barrier nine times last year. The three-time world medallist came close to her PB when she clocked 10.78 in Clermont and confirmed her top shape with 10.88 at the Los Angeles Grand Prix last Saturday.
Steiner won the NCAA titles in the 200m indoors in 22.16 and outdoors in 21.80 for the University of Kentucky and the National outdoor title in 21.77 in 2022. The former soccer player from Ohio won two gold medals in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays and finished fifth in the 200m at the World Championships in Eugene last year. She recently won the 200 metres in a wind-assisted 22.06 at the Bermuda Games in Devonshire.
Davis improved her PB to 10.83 in Memphis last August. This year the US sprinter ran 10.89 in Baton Rouge and 10.91 at the Bermuda Grand Prix.
Luckenkemper won two gold medals in the 100m in 10.99 and in the 4x100 relay at the European Championships in Munich and the bronze medal in the 4x100 relay at the World Championships in Eugene.
Men’s 110 metres hurdles:
Grant Holloway will compete for the first time in his career in Italy. The US 110 metres hurdles star set the world indoor record in the 60 metres hurdles with 7.29 in the semifinal of the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade 2022 before winning the final in 7.39. Holloway narrowly missed Aries Merritt’s world outdoor record by 0.01 in the men’s 110 metres hurdles clocking 12.81 in the semifinal of the US Olympic Trials. After winning the NCAA title in 2019 for the Team Gators at the University of Florida the former former wide receiver American Football player won two world outdoor titles in Doha 2019 and Eugene 2022 and the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo behind Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment.
Holloway will run on the track of the Luigi Ridolfi Stadium where Jamaica’s Omar McLeod equalled Allen Johnson’s Golden Gala record with 13.01. The 13 seconds barrier could be broken for the first time in the history of the Golden Gala.
This year Holloway won 13.03 in Gainesville and 13.01 in Atlanta and placed second to Rasheed Broadbell in the Diamond League meeting in Rabat in 13.12 into a headwind of -1.3 m/s last Sunday.
Devon Allen has made his return to the track this spring after resigning his contract with the Philadelphia Eagles NFL team at the end of the 2022 season. Allen set the third fastest time in history with 12.84 in New York last year. The three-time US champion and two-time Olympic finalist clocked 13.46 at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia and 13.25 in Rabat.
The line-up also features Freddie Crittenden, NACAC gold medallist in 13.00 in 2022 and US indoor champion in the 60m hurdles in 7.49, Jamal Britt, fourth at the US Championships in Eugene in 13.09 last year, Poland’s Damian Czykier, fourth at the World Championships and Polish indoor and outdoor record holder, and Italy’s Lorenzo Simonelli, fourth at the European Indoor Championships in the 60m hurdles in 7.59 and third at the Memorial Ottolia in Savona in a wind-assisted 13.45.
Men’s 200 metres:
Erriyon Knighton will also make his first appearance on Italian soil.
The 19-year-old US sprint star will run in the 200 metres in the race named after Italian sprint legend Pietro Mennea. He clocked a sensational 19.49 in the 200 metres moving to fifth place in the world all-time list. This time was not ratified as a world under 20 record, but Knighton confirmed his form by finishing second in 19.69 in the final of the US Championships behind Noah Lyles. No teenager had run so fast in sprint history.
Knighton won the 200m bronze medal at the World Championships in Eugene becoming the youngest ever world medallist in history. He broke Usain Bolt’s world under 20 record clocking 19.84 at the US Olympic Trials and finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo at the age of 17. He was the youngest man in the US team to take part at the Olympic Games since middle distance runner Jim Ryun in Tokyo 1964.
Knighton was born in Tampa (Florida) and played American Football as a wide receiver for Hillsborough team. He was rated a four-star recruit by 247 Sports.com. He received offers from schools including Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Florida.
Knighton will go head-to-head against Aaron Brown, Joseph Fahnbulleh, Alexander Ogando, Jereem Richards, Reyner Mena, Filippo Tortu and Eseosa Desalu.
Brown won the world gold medal in the 4x100 in Eugene 2022 in 37.48 and reached the 200m finals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 (sixth in 20.20) and at the World Championships in Eugene 2022 (seventh in 2018). The Canadian sprinter won the 200m at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi in 20.12.
Fahnbulleh finished fifth in the Olympic final in Tokyo in 19.98 and fourth in the world final in Eugene in 19.84 and won two NCAA titles in the 100m in 10.00 and in the 200m in 19.83 in 2022. The Liberian sprinter improved his 100m PB to 9.98 in Gainesville and finished third in the 200m in Gaborone in 20.14 and in Nairobi in 20.19 this year.
Reigning world indoor 400 metres champion Jereem Richards from Trinidad and Tobago will run his third race of the season after winning the 400 metres in Gainesville in 44.68 and the 200 metres in 20.40 in Clermont.
Ogando finished fifth in the 200 metres final in 19.93 and won the gold medal with the 4x400 mixed relay at the World Championships in Eugene.
Mena set a PB of 19.63 in La Chaux de Fonds last year and won the 200 metres in 19.95 at the Memorial Giulio Ottolia in Savona on 24 May.
The Italian hopes are carried by Olympic 4x100 relay champions Filippo Tortu and Eseosa Desalu. Tortu won the European bronze medal in the 200 metres in Munich last year in 20.27 and finished fourth in his first 200 metres race of the season in 20.30 at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi. Desalu, who finished sixth in the European Championships final in the 200m in Berlin 2018 in his PB of 20.13, started this season with two PBs in the 400m of 46.17 at the Sprint Festival in Florence and 46.15 in Savona.
Women’s long jump:
Malaika Mihambo will face Ivana Vuleta, Jazmin Sawyers, local star Larissa Iapichino and Eze Brume in the women’s long jump, which is shaping up as one of the most exciting competitions of this year’s edition of the Golden Gala.
Mihambo won three gold medals at the European outdoor Championships in Berlin 2018, at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 with 7.00m, at the 2022 World outdoor Championships in Eugene with 7.12m. Vuleta claimed her second consecutive world indoor gold medal on home soil in Belgrade with a world leading mark of 7.06m and the European outdoor title in Munich with 7.06m beating Mihambo by just 1 cm. Vuleta placed third at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul with 6.91m.
At the previous edition of the Golden Gala held in Florence two years ago Mihambo achieved the best mark of 6.82m, but Vuleta clinched the win with a jump of 6.56m in the final 3 showdown according to the winner-takes-all sixth round format in force in the Diamond League two years ago, which rewarded the athlete with the best result in the final-round jump-off.
Sawyers won the European Indoor gold medal in Istanbul with her lifetime best of 7.00m beating Larissa Iapichino, who claimed silver with 6.97m improving the Italian Indoor record held by her mother Fiona May. Iapichino grabbed the headlines in February 2021, when she broke Heike Drechsler’s world indoor under 20 record with 6.91m at the Italian Indoor Championships in Ancona. She also finished fifth at the European Championships in Munich last August. Larissa, who is coached by her father Gianni Iapichino, started the outdoor season with a leap of 6.83m into a headwind of -1.8 m/s in Kalithea (Greece) on 24 May.
The Golden Gala will be very special for Iapichino, who grew up in Florence. She finished sixth with 6.45m in her first appearance at this meeting at the Ridolfi Stadium two years ago.
Larissa Iapichino: “It is a great emotion. It does not happen every day to have the chance to compete on your home track. I am looking forward to competing in front of my home fans. In these two years I have had to fight against myself and I have come out of it very well. It was a difficult journey at times but it was exciting. It made me grow a lot. It is a big boost and an honour to compete against the best long jumpers in the world. I can’t wait to compete against them. I have the pleasure of being able to call them my friends”.
Another major contender is Ese Brume from Nigeria, who won the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo with 6.97m, the silver medal at the World Championships silver in Eugene with 7.02m, the world indoor silver medal in Belgrade 2022 with 6.85 and the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022.
Maryna Beck Romanchuk won the world silver medal in Doha 2019 and the European Indoor gold medal in Torun 2021 in the long jump, the world indoor silver medal in Belgrade and the European outdoor gold medal in the triple jump in Munich 2022 with her PB of 15.02m. The Ukrainian jumper won the last year’s edition of the Golden Gala in the long jump with 6.85m.
Tara Davis Woodhall has already jumped beyond the 7 metres barrier several times this season. She leapt to a legal 7.07m in Fayetteville on 5 May and a wind-assisted 7.11m at the Bermuda Grand Prix in Devonshire. During a successful 2021 season Davis Woodhall set her PB of 7.14m in Austin, won two NCAA Indoor and outdoor titles and finished sixth in the Olympic final with 6.84m. Davis Woodhall is married to Paralympic athlete Hunter Woodhall.
The line-up also features US Quanesha Burks, who finished fourth at the World Championships in Eugene with 6.88m and NACAC Championships in Freeport 2022 with 6.88m, and Khaddi Sagnia from Sweden, European Indoor bronze medallist in Torun 2021 and winner at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene with her lifetime best of 6.95m.
Women’s pole vault:
The star-studded line-up features the three medallists of both the World Championships in Eugene (Katie Moon Nageotte, Sandi Morris and Nina Kennedy) and the European Championships in Munich (Wilma Murto, Katerina Stefanidi and Tina Sutej).
Olympic and world champion Katie Moon Nageotte won the first Diamond League competition of the year in Doha with 4.81m.
Moon will renew her rivalry against her training partner Sandi Morris, who won last year’s edition of the Golden Gala in Rome with 4.81m and claimed two world indoor titles in Birmingham 2018 and Belgrade 2022, the Olympic silver medal in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and three world silver medals in London 2017, Doha 2019 and Eugene 2021. Morris placed third in Doha with 4.71m and won at the Los Angeles Grand Prix with 4.81m.
Kennedy won the world bronze medal in Eugene with 4.80m and the Diamond League Trophy in Zurich with 4.81m.
Murto won the European outdoor title with 4.85m in Munich 2022 and the European indoor title in Istanbul 2023 with 4.80m.
Sutej won two bronze medals at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade and at the European Championships in Munich in 2022 and the silver medal at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul in 2023.
Stefanidi collected all major titles at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016, at the World Championships in London 2017 and at the European Championships in Munich 2018. The Greek athlete won twice in her career in 2016 with 4.75m and 2017 with 4.75m and three Diamond Trophies in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Roberta Bruni made a successful debut to her 2023 season with her fourth place in Doha with 4.55m ahead of Stefanidi and won at the Grifone meeting in Grosseto with 4.50m. Bruni placed second in last year’s edition of the Golden Gala with 4.60m behind Morris. Last September she improved the Italian record to 4.72m at the Palio della Quercia in Rovereto last year and placed fourth in the Diamond League Final in Zurich.
The line-up is completed by Alysha Newman, Canadian record holder with 4.82m and three-time world finalist, and Elisa Molinarolo, who improved her PB to 4.56m in Caorle last weekend.
Men’s triple jump:
The men’s triple competition features the highest number of global medals in the entire programme of this year’s edition of the Golden Gala. The line-up is led by Fabrice Zango from Burkina Faso, Olympic bronze medallist in Tokyo 2021 and two-time world medallist (bronze in Doha 2019 and silver in Eugene 2022). Zango set the world leading mark with 17.81m in the first Diamond League meeting in Doha.
Former Cuban Andy Diaz Hernandez won the Diamond League final in Zurich with 17.70m in his first competition as Italian citizen. Diaz leapt to a wind-assisted 17.80m to finish third in Doha.
The other Italian jumpers in the field are Emmanuel Ihemeje and Tobia Bocchi. Ihemeje won three NCAA titles and finished fifth at the World Championships. He improved his PB to 17.29 and jumped a wind-assisted 17.48m in Walnut last April. Bocchi placed fourth at the European Championships in Munich and sixth at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul 2023.
US stars Christian Taylor and Will Claye are the only jumpers in the line-up, who have won in the past editions of the Golden Gala. Taylor won in 2013 with 17.18m. Claye claimed the win one year later with 17.14m. Taylor won two Olympic gold medal and four world outdoor titles. Claye won two world indoor gold medals, two world silver medals and two Olympic silver medals).
Claye leapt to a wind-assisted 17.45m at the Bermuda Grand Prix in Devonshire. Taylor set a seasonal best of 16.89m in Gainesville of 16.89m.
Reigning world indoor champion Lazaro Martinez will compete in his second Diamond League competition of the season after finishing fourth in Doha with a wind-assisted 17.71m.
The line-up also features Donald Scott, sixth at the World Championships in Eugene and seventh at the Ollympic Games in Tokyo, and India’s Abdulla Aboobacker, silver medallist at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022.
Men’s high jump:
The line-up features Andiy Protsenko and Ju’Vaughn Harrison, two winners of past editions of the Golden Gala. Protsenko, world and European bronze medallist, took the 2020 edition with 2.30m.
Harrison won at last year’s edition with 2.27m in Rome and finished runner-up to Gianmarco Tamberi on countback with 2.34m in the final of the Diamond League in Sechenlautenplatz in Zurich. Harrison, NCAA indoor and outdoor champion in the long jump and high jump in Eugene and Olympic finalist in Tokyo, started the Diamond League with a win in Doha with 2.32m.
Harrison will renew his rivalry against reigning world indoor champion Sangyeok Woo, who finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and world silver medallist with the same mark of 2.35m.
Woo is aiming to become the second Asian jumper to win at the Golden Gala after Mutaz Barshim, who set the meeting record with 2.41m in 2014.
The line-up also features Hamish Kerr from New Zealand, world indoor bronze medallist with 2.31m in Belgrade 2022, Douwe Amels from the Netherlands, European Indoor champion in Istanbul 2023 with 2.31m, Django Lovett from Canada, eighth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 with 2.30m and sixth at the World Championships in Eugene 2022 with 2.27m, Tobias Potye from Germany, European outdoor silver medallist in Munich 2022, and Edgar Rivera, fourth at the World Championships in London 2017 with 2.29m.
Men’s shot put:
Joe Kovacs will return to the Golden Gala one year after his win at the Olympic Stadium in Rome with 21.85m. The US shot put star won two world gold medals in Beijing 2015 with 21.93 and in Doha 2019 with 22.91m, two world silver medals in London 2017 with 21.66m and in Eugene with 22.89m. He also won two consecutive Olympic silver medals in Rio de Janeiro 2016 with 21.85m and in Tokyo 2021 with 22.65m behind his friend and rival Ryan Crouser.
The 33-year-old shot putter from Nazareth (Pennsylvania) won the Diamond League final on Sechselautenplatz in Zurich City Centre with a PB of 23.23m, missing Crouser’s world record by 14 cm. Kovacs won the US Indoor title in Albuquerque with 21.55m last March and opened his 2023 season with a win in Nashville with 22.69m last April.
He has become the second best shot- putter on the world all-time list and the fourth specialist in history to throw over the 23 metres barrier. Kovacs attended the Penn State University and studied Earth Science and Finance. He got the degree in 2011. He is married to his coach Ashley Kovacs, who gave birth to two children last October.
Kovacs will renew his rivalry against New Zealand’s Tom Walsh, who won at the Golden Gala in Florence in 2021 with 21.47m and clinched three Diamond League titles. Kovacs won his second world title with 22.91m in Doha 2019 beating Walsh by one cm. Last week Walsh placed second with 22.12m in the Los Angeles Grand Prix where Ryan Crouser broke the world record with 23.56m.
The other US shot putters are Josh Awotunde, world outdoor champion in Eugene with his PB of 22.29m, and Adrian Piperi, world under 18 in Cali 2015 and eighth placer at the World Championships in Eugene with 21.93.
The line-up features the three medallists of the 2022 European Championships in Munich: Filip Mihaljevic from Croatia (gold with 21.88m), Armin Sinancevic from Serbia (silver with 21.39m) and Tomas Stanek (bronze with 21.26m).
The Italian fans will support European indoor champion Zane Weir and his training partner Leonardo Fabbri. Weir won the European Indoor gold medal in Istanbul last March with a national Indoor record of 22.06m becoming the second Italian in history to throw over the 22 metres barrier. Weir has already achieved four of the best ten results of his career.
Fabbri, who was born in Florence and lives in the Tuscan city, produced the best throw with 21.71m at the previous edition of the Golden Gala in Florence in 2021 but he did not win the competition because of the previous Final 3 rule, which did not consider marks achieved in the previous five attempts in the throwing events. Only the top three athletes competed in a “winner-takes-all last round” to pick the winner.
Women’s discus throw:
The women’s discus throw will be held for the eleventh time at the Golden Gala. World champion Feng Bin from China will take on Olympic gold medallist Valarie Allman.
Allman set the world leading mark with 70.25m in San Diego and won at the USATF Los Angeles Grand Prix with 68.39m last weekend. The US thrower won the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo with 68.98m, the world bronze medal in Eugene with 68.30m and two consecutive editions of the Diamond League Final in Zurich in 2021 with 69.20m and 2022 with 67.77m. She has not thrown below the 67 metres barrier since June.
Feng Bin won the world title in Eugene with 69.12m and is in good shape this year. The Chinese thrower won the discus throw competition at the Hallesche Werfertage meeting in Halle with 66.90m on 20 May.
The line-up also features Jorinde Van Klinken from the Netherlands, who finished fourth at both the World Championships in Eugene and at the European Championships in Munich and set a national record of 70.22m in Tucson in 2021, Shanice Craft from Germany, European bronze medallist in Amsterdam 2016 and Berlin 2018, Liliana Ca from Portugal, fifth at at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and sixth at the World Championships in Eugene, reigning NACAC champion Laulauga Tausaga Collins from the USA and Izabela Da Silva from Brazil, who set a PB of 63.04m in Montreuil last year. The Italian hopes are carried by 2019 World University Games gold medallist Daisy Osakue, who equalled the national record with 63.63m at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and set a seasonal best of 63.34m in Donnas last weekend.