Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce clocks a world lead of 10.93 at the Shanghai Diamond League (© Jiro Mochizuki)
Two of Jamaica’s greatest ever women sprinters are among a glittering array of world and Olympic champions who will be at the 2015 Shanghai Diamond League meeting on 17 May, the IAAF Diamond League meeting organisers announced on Wednesday (8).
Olympic gold medallist and triple world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will take on her compatriot Veronica Campbell-Brown in a 100m clash at the second meeting on this year’s IAAF Diamond League calendar, with world 200m and long jump medallist Blessing Okagbare alongside them on the start line.
Campbell-Brown, the Olympic 200m champion in 2004 and 2008, won the season-long Diamond Race over 100m last year and will be keen to get her 2015 season off to a flying start against Fraser-Pryce, who won three gold medals at the 2013 IAAF World Championships and won the 100m at this meeting two years ago.
Okagbare produced a dazzling double at this meeting 12 months ago when she won the long jump and 200m. The multi-talented Nigerian will be looking for maximum points again to kick off this summer’s campaign ahead of the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
The women’s 100m will be just one of many highlights in a meeting packed with world and Olympic medallists, including at least six reigning Olympic gold medallists and six reigning world champions.
The men’s 110m hurdles always attracts huge interest in Shanghai and 2015 will be no different. Olympic champion Aries Merritt takes on all three 2013 World Championships medallists: fellow US hurdlers David Oliver and Ryan Wilson, the Moscow gold and silver medallists respectively, plus Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov.
China’s Xie Wenjun will face strong competition in his home country but will be trying to fill the vacuum left by Tuesday’s reirement of hurdling icon Liu Xiang.
Great jumps duels
There’s another clash between current world and Olympic champions in the men’s long jump where Olympic champion Greg Rutherford faces Russia’s Aleksandr Menkov, who took the world crown on home soil two years ago.
Rutherford followed his Olympic triumph by clinching Commonwealth and European titles in 2014 and is now aiming for a World Championships gold medal in Beijing to complete the set.
Sticking with the jumps, USA’s Erik Kynard has been named as one of Mutaz Essa Barshim’s opponents in the men’s high jump, while Kazakhstan’s Olympic champion Olga Rypakova takes on world champion Caterine Ibarguen in the women’s triple jump.
Colombia’s Ibarguen claimed the Diamond Race trophy and $40,000 prize in 2014.
Piotr Malachowski won the men’s discus Diamond Race last year and the Pole will start his 2015 IAAF Diamond League campaign in Shanghai against the great Estonian thrower Gerd Kanter, the 2008 Olympic champion.
Christina Obergfoll tops the bill in the women’s javelin as the German sets out to defend her world title in Beijing, while China’s own Olympic and world shot put bronze medallist Gong Lijiao will be just one of many domestic stars on display.
Fans can also look forward to an eye-catching women’s pole vault featuring Cuba’s world indoor champion Yarisley Silva.
On the track, Kenya‘s world champion Eunice Sum will be one to watch in the 800m and her compatriot Agnes Tirop runs the 5000m less than two months after being crowned world cross-country champion in Guiyang at the age of 19.
Organisers for the IAAF
2015 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 15 May
Shanghai, CHN – 17 May
Eugene, USA – 30 May
Rome, ITA – 4 June
Birmingham, GBR – 7 June
Oslo, NOR – 11 June
New York, USA – 13 June
Paris, FRA – 4 July
Lausanne, SUI – 9 July
Monaco, MON – 17 July
London, GBR – 24-25 July
Stockholm, SWE – 30 July
Zurich, SUI – 3 September
Brussels, BEL – 11 September