Daniel Stahl at Oslo's Impossible Games (© Eirik Førde / Bislett Alliance)
World discus throw champion Daniel Stahl, sprinter Dafne Schippers and high jumper Gianmarco Tamberi are the latest stars confirmed to compete at the Golden Spike in Ostrava on 8 September, when the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting will host its 59th edition.
The men's discus throw competition will be back in the main stadium for first time since 1996, giving Stahl, the 2019 world champion and current world leader with 70.25m, and the man he succeed, Lithuanian Andrius Gudzius, a main stage spotlight.
Organisers are hoping for first 70-metre throw in the history of the meet. The meeting record is 68.06m, set by Cuba's Luis Delis in 1983. Slovenia's young star Kristjan Ceh, who improved the U23 all-time best to 68.75m on 23 June, will also be in the field. Local eyes will fall on Marek Barta who's improved to 64.40m this year.
Tamberi, who soared to the world indoor title in 2016 and European indoor crown in 2019, is looking forward to another appearance in Ostrava as he continues his season after a 2.30m leap on 28 June.
"After this crazy time I'm super excited to start again with a kind of normal life and sport life," the popular Italian athlete said. "Ostrava is a wonderful place and I always dreamed about winning the Golden Spike. I'm going to do my best to enjoy the competition and to let all the people have fun that day and feel once again the sport vibes."
Marek Bahnik, currently the top Czech high jumper who improved to 2.25m indoor and 2.22m outdoors this year, is also on the slate.
"For me this will be a very special competition as I never competed at Golden Spike, I was always watching it on TV. So I hope I will be able to come close to my dream height of 2.30."
Schippers to tackle 150m
The Golden Spike has long been known for experimentation on its programme. World records in both the men's and women's one hour runs have been set in Ostrava as well as world bests in the 300m for both men and women.
The experimental distance this year will be the women's 150m, with Schippers, the 2015 and 2017 world 200m champion, the key attraction as the Dutchwoman debuts over the rarely-run distance.
"I have never run a 150m before - I think the distance could be the right one for me," she said. "Am I able to break the European all-time best? That depends on a few things, but the track is fast so let's give it a try."
The target mark belongs to sprint legend Merlene Ottey who clocked 16.46 in 1989. Rising Swiss star Ajla del Ponte, who clocked 16.67 this season, will also start.
Given the current circumstances surrounding travel restrictions in certain parts of the world, the programme remains fluid and will be contingent upon the availability of athletes. Organisers hope to finalise the programme early next month.
Organisers for World Athletics