Barbora Spotakova in action in the javelin at the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne (© Gladys Chai von der Laage)
A total of 19 global champions will compete in Lausanne’s Pontaise Stadium on 3 July at the 39th edition of Athletissima, one of two IAAF Diamond League meetings in Switzerland.
Olympic long jump champion and world leader Greg Rutherford will need to bring his A-game in order to win against the top three finishers from last year’s IAAF World Championships, Aleksandr Menkov, Ignisious Gaisah and Luis Rivera.
The women’s javelin will feature the three best performers of the year: two-time Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova, world leader Linda Stahl and world silver medallist Kim Mickle.
Elsewhere in the field events, world-leading discus thrower Piotr Malachowski and world triple jump champion Caterine Ibarguen will be the favourites in their respective disciplines.
They will all join the star athletes who have been previously announced, including high jumpers Bohdan Bondarenko, Mutaz Essa Barshim, Ivan Ukhov and Derek Drouin, pole vault world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie, and shot put legend Valerie Adams.
There are several fantastic head-to-head clashes on the track, too. A fast time is expected in the 400m as Kirani James and LaShawn Merritt will face each other for the third time this year. In their most recent race, both clocked sub-44-second times as James finished just a few thousandths of a second ahead of Merritt.
In the 200m, Yohan Blake will be up against fellow Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade and Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre, while in the 100m Justin Gatlin, undefeated this year so far, will try to retain his invincibility against Tyson Gay and Jimmy Vicaut.
Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi faces Rome IAAF Diamond League winner Silas Kiplagat in the 1500m, and in the 3000m steeplechase 2008 Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto will fight for the victory against long-time rival Paul Kipsiele Koech.
The men’s hurdles races will be just as exciting and they both feature the two fastest performers in the world this year. World leader Pascal Martinot-Lagarde will take on Olympic bronze medallist Hansle Parchment in the 110m hurdles, and two-time world silver medallist Javier Culson will be up against world and Olympic silver medallist Michael Tinsley in the 400m hurdles.
World indoor champion and world indoor record-holder Genzebe Dibaba will be in action over 3000m. Kenya’s world 800m champion Eunice Sum will aim to extend her winning streak in her specialist event, while Veronica Campbell-Brown will be out to win the 100m for the first time in Lausanne.
With European Championships selection on the line, the main Athletissima programme has never featured as many Swiss athletes as this year. They will be led by 400m hurdler Kariem Hussein, world indoor 800m finalist Selina Buchel and 100m national record-holder Mujinga Kambundji.
Organisers for the IAAF
2014 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 9 May
Shanghai, CHN – 18 May
Eugene, USA – 31 May
Rome, ITA – 5 Jun
Oslo, NOR – 11 Jun
New York, USA – 14 Jun
Lausanne, SUI – 3 Jul
Paris, FRA – 5 Jul
Glasgow, GBR – 11-12 Jul
Monaco, MON – 18 Jul
Stockholm, SWE – 21 Aug
Birmingham, GBR – 24 Aug
Zurich, SUI – 28 Aug
Brussels, BEL – 5 Sep