Bogdan Bondarenko jumps 2.40m in Tokyo (© Getty Images)
World high jump champion Bogdan Bondarenko and Olympic 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson are just two of the many athletes set to compete in Kawasaki on 10 May at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix, the third meeting in the IAAF World Challenge series.
Bondarenko opened his 2014 season at the same meeting when it was held in Tokyo, setting a Japanese all-comers’ record of 2.40m. He then went on to improve his PB to 2.42m before winning the European title. The Ukrainian will be looking for a similar start to his season in Kawasaki next month.
Chinese duo Wang Yu and Zhang Guowei, the national indoor record-holder, will be among his challengers in Kawasaki.
Pearson’s last competition in Japan was running the 4x100m at the 2012 edition of this meeting when it was also held in Kawasaki. The 2011 world champion from Australia has several competitions under her belt already this season, clocking a season’s best of 12.59 at the Australian Championships last month. The last time she ran faster than that was when taking the silver medal at the 2013 IAAF World Championships.
In Kawasaki Pearson will line up against 2012 US indoor champion Kristi Castlin and Lavonne Idlette of the Dominican Republic.
Wang looks to score valuable challenge points
The Seiko Golden Grand Prix also forms part of the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge and represents the first fixture for women in the 2015 series.
Asian record-holder Wang Zheng finished just outside the top three in last year’s challenge by the agonising margin of 1.2 points. Her appearance in Kawasaki will be the first time she has competed on Japanese soil.
Having already opened her 2015 season with a world-leading 74.92m, Wang will pose a strong challenge in Kawasaki where she will be up against Canadian record-holder Sultana Frizell, European silver medallist Martina Hrasnova and European bronze medallist Joanna Fiodorow.
Elsewhere in the throws, the national record-holders from Latvia, Canada and Colombia will clash in the women’s javelin in the form of Madara Palameika, Liz Gleadle and Flor Ruiz.
World and Olympic finalist Stuart Farquhar will line up against Latvia’s Rolands Strobinders in the men’s javelin, while European indoor champion Anita Marton takes on US silver medallist Felisha Johnson in the women’s shot.
Klishina leads horizontal jumps
Two-time European indoor champion Darya Klishina will feature in the women’s long jump. Like Bondarenko, the Russian opened her 2014 season with a victory at this meeting and will be looking to do so again this year.
In the men’s triple jump, Asian Games champion Cao Shuo of China will take on Cuba’s 2009 world bronze medallist Alexis Copello and European bronze medallist Aleksey Fedorov.
With a PB of 9.86, two-time Olympic 4x100m silver medallist Keston Bledman is the fastest of the confirmed athletes so far in the men’s 100m. He will take on both of China’s 2013 World Championships semi-finalists: Asian champion Su Bingtian and national record-holder Zhang Peimeng.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF