Previews26 May 2024

Global sprint champions set to clash in Ostrava


Andre De Grasse and Marcell Jacobs (© Getty Images)

The three individual men’s Olympic sprint champions are set to compete at the Golden Spike – a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting – in Ostrava on Tuesday (28).

Italy’s Marcell Jacobs and Canada’s Andre De Grasse, the Olympic gold medallists over 100m and 200m respectively, will clash over the shorter distance, then De Grasse will double up by contesting his specialist event. Olympic 400m champion Steven Gardiner, meanwhile, will take on world indoor champion Alexander Doom over one lap of the track.

The field event action will be similarly gripping with world and Olympic pole vault champion Mondo Duplantis headlining the pole vault, just five weeks after increasing his own world record to 6.24m in Xiamen. World champion Haruka Kitaguchi and multiple global medallist Jakub Vadlejch will feature in the javelin contests.

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Jacobs has had just two individual outings this year, the latest being a 10.07 season’s best to win in Rome last weekend. That makes the Italian the fastest of the Ostrava field this year on season’s bests, though he’s also one of four men in the line-up with a sub-10-second PB.

De Grasse, meanwhile, has a best this year of 10.11 and recently finished second at the Diamond League meeting in Marrakesh. Britain’s Reece Prescod, who set his PB of 9.93 in Ostrava when winning in the Czech city two years ago, will be one to watch, as will Jamaica’s Ryiem Forde.

Later in the evening, De Grasse will take on Jamaica’s Andrew Hudson and Britain's Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake in the 200m.

Not including the few races where he has pulled up injured, Gardiner has been undefeated over 400m since the 2017 World Championships. But the Bahamian, who has a season’s best of 44.45, could be pushed by Belgium’s Doom, who won in Marrakesh last week with a lifetime best of 44.51.

The women’s sprints should be similarly competitive. Poland’s Ewa Swoboda and Italy’s Zainab Dosso, who took silver and bronze respectively over 60m at the World Indoor Championships, will clash outdoors for the first time this year. Swoboda will be contesting her first individual race of the outdoor season, while Dosso is fresh from reducing the Italian 100m record to 11.02 in Savona.

Switzerland’s European 200m champion Mujinga Kambundji and double African Games sprint champion Gina Bass are also in the line-up.

In the women’s 100m hurdles, European champion Pia Skrzyszowska takes on European leader Ditaji Kambundji, while world silver medallist Natalia Kaczmarek is the strong favourite in the women's 400m.

Duplantis returns

One year after setting a meeting record of 6.12m, pole vault superstar Mondo Duplantis returns to Ostrava’s Golden Spike to try to improve on that mark.

The Swede is undefeated so far this year, winning all four of his indoor competitions – including taking gold at the World Indoor Championships – and then setting a world record of 6.24m on his outdoor season opened in Xiamen in April. One week later, he won in Suzhou with 6.00m.

Ernest John Obiena, who finished second to Duplantis at last year’s World Championships, will also be in Ostrava.

The javelin is always one of the most popular and competitive events at the Golden Spike, and this year’s edition is set to continue that tradition.

In the men’s contest, home favourite Jakub Vadlejch will take on European champion Julian Weber and two-time world champion Anderson Peters. Four-time global medallist Vadlejch recently won in Doha with 88.38m, which puts him just one centimetre ahead of Weber on this year’s world list. Peters is close behind with a best of 86.62m.

In the women’s event, world champion Haruka Kitaguchi of Japan faces two-time world U20 champion Adriana Vilagos. Both women are undefeated this year and head to Ostrava with similar season’s bests. Kitaguchi threw 63.45m last weekend to win in Tokyo, while Vilagos set a PB of 63.58m earlier this month in Offenburg.

Italy’s Leonardo Fabbri will look to continue his sensational form in the shot put. The world silver medallist has this month racked up throws of 22.95m in Savona, 22.91m in Asti and 22.88m in Modena. His toughest opponent in Ostrava could be New Zealand’s two-time world indoor champion Tom Walsh.

In other field event action, world indoor champion Molly Caudery takes on Slovenia’s Tina Sutej and Katerina Stefanidi of Greece in the women’s pole vault.

Elsewhere on the track, meanwhile, Djamel Sedjati and Ben Pattison, the world silver and bronze medallists, will clash over 800m. And in the women’s 1500m, Ethiopian trio Tigist Girma, Netsanet Desta, Axumawit Embaye take on Ireland’s Ciara Mageean.

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