FLORENCE (ITA): Because the track at Olympic Stadium in Rome is being renovated for next year’s European Championships, the Pietro Mennea Golden Gala will be held at the Ridolfi Stadium in Florence. The third DL meet of 2023 is promising spectacular sprints, but also Faith Kipyegon and Femke Bol with deep and high-quality women’s long jump. It is expected to be sold out.
100m – Three of the line-up have already broken the 11 second-barrier this year, including Marie-Jose Ta Lou, who has the fastest season’s best at 10.78
400m – Wide open race with many of the top names not competing. Guyana’s Aliyah Abrams has the fastest season’s best at 50.20.
1500m – Potential world record attempt for Faith Kipyegon? The pacemakers have been asked to reach 800m in 2:04 and 1km in 2:34.5. Laura Muir is likely to be her closest competitor. Comeback race for Gabriela DeBues-Stafford as well.
400m hurdles – First big race for Femke Bol with her new 14-stride pattern. Anna Hall makes her Diamond League debut after her tremendous 6988 points in Gotzis.
3000m steeplechase – First sub-9:00 of the season? The line-up features world leader Winfred Yavi and the 18-year-old Ethiopian talent Sembo Alamayew who clocked 9:05.83. Leading Europeans Luiza Gega and Marusa Mismas-Zrimsek also compete along with former world champions Beatrice Chepkoech and Emma Coburn.
Long jump – Field event of the night? The line-up includes Olympic and world champion Malaika Mihambo, European champion Ivana Vuleta, European indoor champion Jazmin Sawyers, world leader Tara Davis, and world and Olympic medallist Ese Brume.
The selfie caught on camera: Ivana Vuleta, Malaika Mihambo and Jazmin Sawyers, photo by European Athletics
Pole vault – Americans Katie Moon and Sandi Morris headline the line-up. Also, watch out for in-form Tina Sutej, who has already cleared 4.76m this year.
Discus – First clash of the season between Olympic champion Valarie Allman and surprise world champion Bin Feng
100m – Will world champion Fred Kerley back up his victory in Rabat with his second big win in less than a week? Ferdinand Omanyala has the fastest season’s best at 9.84. Also, watch for European indoor 60m champion Samuele Ceccarelli to improve on his PB of 10.45.
200m – Erriyon Knighton leads the line-up for Cuba’s Reynier Mena and has the fastest season best of 19.95. Expect Joseph Fanbulleh to finish quickly
5000m – No fewer than 13 athletes have sub-13:00 lifetime bests. Pick of the field includes world record-holder Joshua Cheptegei and Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon Barega. How will Mo Katir fare in his first race of the outdoor season?
Joshua Cheptegai ran 1:54 and 53.42 to win the 10,000m gold! World Athletics Championships
Eugene, Oregon, USA
July 15-26 2022, photo by Kevin Morris
110m hurdles – Grant Holloway should have a clearer path to victory with the leading Jamaicans not competing
Grant Holloway, adidas Atlanta City Games, photo by Kevin Morris
High jump – World indoor champion Woo Sang-Hyoek faces American talent JuVaughn Harrison and veteran Ukrainian Andrii Protsenko. No Barshim or Tamberi.
Triple jump – With Pedro Pichardo absent, expect another clash between Hugues Fabrice Zango and Andy Diaz, who jumped 17.81m and 17.80m, respectively, in Doha.
Shot put – Joe Kovacs and Tom Walsh should threaten the 22-meter line. Zane Weir and Leonardo Fabbri lead the Italian hopes. Tomas Stanek attacking from behind.
Joe Kovacs, Men’s Shot Put, USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at Hayward Field, University of Oregon, June 23-26, 2022, photo by Kevin Morris