Haruka Kitaguchi in Ostrava (© Anna Spundova)
Global gold medallists Haruka Kitaguchi and Steven Gardiner have been announced for the Ostrava Golden Spike, the sixth World Athletics Continental Tour Gold event of 2024, on 28 May.
Japan’s Kitaguchi won the world javelin title in Budapest and went on to throw a national record of 67.38m in Brussels and then claim the Wanda Diamond League crown in Eugene.
Guided by Czech coach David Sekerak, Kitaguchi returns to defend her title in Ostrava and could have the meeting record of 67.78m set by Barbora Spotakova in 2012 in her sights. At an event that boasts Jan Zelezny as meeting director, Olympic and world medallist Jakub Vadlejch will also be in action.
Bahamian Olympic 400m champion Gardiner is another star returning to the event as he continues his comeback following the injury he sustained at the World Championships in Budapest. In the lead up to that global event the 28-year-old clocked 43.74 – the second-fastest performance of his career – while his PB is the 43.48 national record he set to win world gold in Doha in 2019. He could become the first athlete in Ostrava Golden Spike history to dip under 44 seconds and beat the 10-year-old meeting record of 44.16.
Poland’s Ewa Swoboda will use the return of the women’s 100m to the event programme as an opportunity to make her Golden Spike debut. The last time the women’s 100m was run at the meeting was in 2011, when Veronica Campbell Brown won in 10.76. In May, world sixth-place finisher Swoboda will line up alongside local sprinter Karolina Manasova, who is a member of SSK Vitkovice, the organiser of the meeting.
Organisers have also announced that the event will feature an attack on the world 10,000m record, with leading athletes yet to be named. There will also be a mixed 4x400m, where teams will be on the hunt for fast times.
More than 190 meetings are included in next year’s World Athletics Continental Tour, including 12 Gold events spread across five of the six continental areas.