USA's Jenn Suhr, winner of the Pole Vault (© Jean-Pierre Durand)
Clashes involving dozens of Olympic gold medallists and World champions will abound at the adidas Grand Prix – the first US leg of the 2013 IAAF Diamond League – on Saturday (25) at Icahn Stadium.
While several athletes are strong favourites, including 2012 Olympic gold medallist and World record-holder David Rudisha in the 800m, the deep fields across the board are the best in the meet’s nine-year history and promise a day of thrills.
Three events in particular stand out for remarkable fields: the women’s Pole Vault, women’s 400m and men’s Shot Put.
In the Pole Vault, 2012 Olympic champion and World indoor record-holder Jenn Suhr of the United States will again have to contend with Olympic silver medallist Yarisley Silva of Cuba, who has just been added to the field.
But that’s only the beginning, because the field also includes World champion Fabiana Murer, European champion Jirina Svobodova of the Czech Republic, European indoor champion Holly Bleasdale and two-time European indoor silver medallist Silke Spiegelburg of Germany.
To showcase what is perhaps the best women’s Pole Vault field ever assembled in this country, organisers have made the bold decision to construct a temporary runway to offer fans the best-possible views of the competition.
The runway, borrowed from the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden, will be laid down in the infield along the homestretch, parallel to the main stadium. The permanent runway, at the south end of the infield, is perpendicular to the stadium and not as spectator friendly.
Reigning Olympic gold medallist and American record-holder Sanya Richards-Ross of the United States headlines the field for the women’s 400m as she makes her season debut. She will be challenged by current world-leader (49.88) Amantle Montsho of Botswana and 2008 Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain, giving the women’s 400m field the last three IAAF World champions – Ohuruogu won the World title in 2007, Richards-Ross in 2009, and Montsho in 2011.
Rounding out a field that boasts the depth of an Olympic final are Novlene Williams-Mills of Jamaica, Francena McCorory of the United States, and Shericka Williams of Jamaica.
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Tomasz Majewski of Poland owns the most impressive hardware in the men’s Shot Put, but given the quality of the field he will have to work hard for the win. Also in the circle on Saturday will be the American trio of Christian Cantwell, the 2009 World Champion and 2008 Olympic silver medallist, 2007 World champion Reese Hoffa, and World indoor champion Ryan Whiting, who owns the longest throw in the world so far this year at 22.28m.
Also in the field are Canadian duo Dylan Armstrong and Justin Rodhe and European indoor champion Asmir Kolasinac of Serbia.
In the men’s 100m, 2007 triple World champion and American record-holder Tyson Gay, who leads the world this year with 9.86, will take on Jamaica’s Nesta Carter, USA’s Ryan Bailey and 2008 Olympic silver medallist Richard Thompson.
World and Olympic sprint finalist Marshevet Hooker will make her post-childbirth return in the women’s 100m, where she’ll face Olympic finalist Tianna Madison-Bartoletta and World bronze medallist Kelly-Ann Baptiste. In the longer sprint, two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown takes on Olympic 4x100m champion Bianca Knight.
In the 400m, two-time World champion Jeremy Wariner will line up against World bronze medallist Kevin Borlee and 2011 US champion Tony McQuay.
Current world leader Abeba Aregawi headlines the women’s 1500m field, which also includes 2008 Olympic champion Nancy Langat, 2010 World indoor champion Kalkidan Gezahegn, 2009 World bronze medallist Shannon Rowbury and World and Olympic 1500m finalist Morgan Uceny.
A trio of Ethiopians could threaten the US all-comers’ record of 12:56.98 in the men’s 5000m. Olympic silver medallist Dejen Gebremeskel, World 10,000m Ibrahim Jeilan and World junior record-holder Hagos Gebrhiwet are all in the field, alongside Kenya’s John Kipkoech – one of three men in the field with sub-12:50 PBs.
After running a world-leading 48.02 last weekend in Ponce, Johnny Dutch will once again race against two-time World silver medallist Javier Culson. Olympic silver medallist Michael Tinsley, who was a late withdrawal from Ponce, hopes to make a return for New York.
Having started her Diamond League campaign with an astonishing 7.25m in Doha, World and Olympic champion Brittney Reese will face World silver medallist Olga Kucherenko and Olympic bronze medallist Janay DeLoach-Soukup.
Elsewhere in the jumps, Olympic champion Christian Taylor takes on 2009 World champion Phillips Idowu in the Triple Jump, and two-time World champion Blanka Vlasic competes against Olympic silver medallist Brigetta Barrett in the High Jump.
In the women’s Javelin, Olympic silver medallist Christina Obergfoll will be up against World champion Mariya Abakumova and World bronze medallist Sunette Viljoen.
Organisers for the IAAF
2013 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 10 May
Shanghai, CHN – 18 May
New York, USA – 25 May
Eugene, USA – 1 Jun
Rome, ITA – 6 Jun
Oslo, NOR – 13 Jun
Birmingham, GBR – 30 Jun
Lausanne, SUI – 4 Jul
Paris, FRA – 6 Jul
Monaco, MON – 19 Jul
London, GBR – 26-27 Jul
Stockholm, SWE – 22 Aug
Zürich, SUI – 29 Aug
Brussels, BEL – 6 Sep