Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce after winning at the 2013 IAAF Diamond League in Eugene (© Kirby Lee)
Many of the fastest sprinters in the world are lining up to race in Eugene at the next 2014 IAAF Diamond League meeting, with the landmark 40th Prefontaine Classic at the historic Hayward Field being held this coming Saturday (31).
There are two amazing fields in the sprints, which include a man with the most Pre Classic 100m titles and two women with at least four major gold medals in the women’s 200m.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 27, won the 200m gold medal last year at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, along with her 100m and 4x100m relay golds.
For her accomplishments, she was named the female IAAF World Athlete of the Year.
Her pair of Olympic gold medals in the 100m, won in 2008 and 2012, puts her in an exclusive club with Wyomia Tyus and Gail Devers as the only women to win back-to-back Olympic titles in this event.
Allyson Felix, 28, the Olympic champion over 200m, is the only three-time gold medallist at the IAAF World Championships in the 200m, but is still seeking her first Pre Classic title.
Up against these two is Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare who won long jump silver and 200m bronze at last year’s World Championships.
A truly loaded field includes double world silver medallist Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast, as well as US sprinters Kimberlyn Duncan and English Gardner, the latter very much a local favourite as she attended the University of Oregon.
Justin Gatlin is the fastest man in the world this year at 9.87, which he ran in Beijing last week. He has won the Pre Classic four times, more than any other man in this event, a list of winners that can boast such legends as fellow US sprinters Carl Lewis and Maurice Greene.
Jamaica’s Nesta Carter is the man with the fastest personal best in the field at 9.78 and is one of few to have beaten Gatlin, but the latter still has an 8-3 career record.
Mike Rodgers, the 2009 Pre Classic winner, is coming off the best year of his career in 2013 while Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeade won last year’s Pre Classic 200m and was a finalist in last year’s 100m at the IAAF World Championships.
France’s Jimmy Vicaut is the youngest in the field at 22 and equalled his personal best when running 9.95 on home soil earlier this month. Also in the race are South Africa’s Simon Magakwe, a 9.98 performer this season, and Chinese record-holder Zhang Peimeng, who has run 10.00.
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