Previews06 Jul 2024

Field event battles and sprint showdowns in Szekesfehervar


Shericka Jackson races in Szekesfehervar (© Gyulai Istvan Memorial)

Big clashes on the field and in the sprints form the expected highlights at the Istvan Gyulai Memorial – the final World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting before the Olympic Games – in the Hungarian city of Szekesfehervar on Tuesday (9).

As the discipline that provided Hungary with its sole medal of the World Championships on home soil last year, the men’s hammer will once again be in the spotlight. Home hope Bence Halasz, the world bronze medallist and runner-up at the recent European Championships, takes on a field that’s worthy of a global championships final.

World champion and world leader Ethan Katzberg will look to continue his winning streak against the likes of five-time world champion Pawel Fajdek, who in recent weeks has found his rhythm, Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki, and Ukraine’s European bronze medallist Mykhaylo Kokhan.

CTG live stream - Inside Track


The men’s discus brings together the three men at the top of the world rankings: world record-holder Mykolas Alekna, world and Olympic champion Daniel Stahl, and 2022 world champion Kristjan Ceh.

The trio has clashed four times so far this year, with Alekna coming out on top in three of those encounters. But Ceh triumphed on the big stage at the European Championships last month with Alekna placing third and Stahl fourth. This will be their first three-way match since then, and possibly their final one before the Olympics.

Another European Championships rematch will take place in the men’s long jump, as Miltiadis Tentoglou and Mattia Furlani – the gold and silver medallists on that occasion – renew their rivalry. Jamaica’s 2019 world champion Tajay Gayle and Cuba’s Lester Lescay are also in the line-up.

In-form Italian shot putter Leonardo Fabbri will be looking to maintain his unbeaten streak this outdoor season. The world silver medallist and European champion has this year produced five throws beyond 22.80m, two of which came in a competition in Pergine Valsugana on Saturday.

Two-time world indoor champion Tom Walsh, Jamaican record-holder Rajindra Campbell and USA’s Jordan Geist are month Fabbri’s opponents.

Elsewhere in the field events, world and Olympic champion Gianmarco Tamberi headlines the men’s high jump field.

Jackson takes on Alfred

World 200m champion Shericka Jackson and world indoor 60m champion Julien Alfred both have fond memories of Szekesfehervar.

Jackson has won the 200m at this meeting for the past three years, setting a meeting record of 21.96 in 2021. For Alfred, meanwhile, Szesfehervar is where she made her debut – and achieved her first victory – as a professional athlete, winning the 100m last year in 10.89.

The two Caribbean sprint stars will clash over the longer sprint distance on Tuesday. Alfred goes into the race with the fastest time this year, having clocked 22.16 indoors back in February, but Jackson is fresh from a recent season’s best of 22.29 to win the Jamaican title and claims she is rounding into her best form.

Britain’s European silver medallist Daryll Neita and Jamaica’s Lanae-Tava Thomas are also in the field.

Akani Simbine is another sprinter who enjoys racing in Szekesfehervar. The multiple world and Olympic finalist has won the 100m in the Hungarian city on two previous occasions, both times setting a South African record (9.89 in 2016 and 9.84 in 2021).

The 30-year-old will be keen to notch up another victory, but Kishane Thompson – recent winner of the Jamaican title in a world-leading 9.77 – could have something to say about that, so too could world silver medallist Letsile Tebogo.

Olympic champions look to recapture pre-Games magic

Three athletes who won in Szekesfehervar back in 2021 just a few weeks before striking gold at the Tokyo Olympics will return to the Istvan Gyulai Memorial.

Canada’s Andre de Grasse, the 200m winner in Tokyo three years ago, will contest his specialist distance. He’ll take on Jamaica’s Andrew Hudson and South Africa’s Luxolo Adams, both sub-20-second performers at their best.

Bahamian sprinter Steven Gardiner has won the men’s 400m in Szekesfehervar every odd year between 2015-2023. The Olympic champion will line up for the one-lap sprint alongside Jamaica’s Sean Bailey and South Africa’s Lythe Pillay.

Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, another Olympic gold medallist in Tokyo and two-time past winner in Szekesfehervar, will start as one of the favourites in the women’s 100m hurdles, but USA’s Nia Ali and Ecuador’s Maribel Caicedo will provide stiff opposition.

Trey Cunningham, Cordell Tinch and Jamal Britt are all among the fastest men in the world this year in the 110m hurdles, but all missed out on making the US team for Paris at the highly competitive Olympic Trials. They’ll be running in Szekesfehervar with a point to prove.

Elsewhere, sub-11-second sprinters Tia Clayton, Tamari Davis and Tamara Clark will clash in the women’s 100m.

Pages related to this article