Sam Kendricks after winning the pole vault at the FBK Games in Hengelo (© Eric Roeske)
Olympic champions Ryan Crouser and Sara Kolak and two-time world pole vault champion Sam Kendricks have joined the cast for the LOTTO Kamila Skolimowska Memorial, a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting, set for Chorzow, Poland on 6 September.
Crouser, the 2016 Olympic champion and 2019 World Championships silver medallist, has been one of the hottest names in athletics this year. The American has improved his personal bests to 22.60m indoors and 22.91m outdoors in 2020, the latter moving him to third on the world all-time list. His appearance in Silesia will be his first outside the United States in this year.
Two Polish stars will be defending home turf against Courser: the reigning European champion Michal Haratyk and European runner-up Konrad Bukowiecki. Haratyk has shown fine form this season, with a best of 21.88m, currently putting him at No2 on the world season's list. Bukowiecki is yet to come close to this mark in 2020, but will be determined to improve on his current season best of 20.63m in front of the home audience.
Also in the field are the two-time world champion David Storl and Nick Ponzio, third on the world list with 21.72m.
Kendricks has accumulated quite a collection of major medals in the last four years, starting with the Olympic bronze in Rio de Janeiro and going on to take World Championships gold in both 2017 and 2019. His personal best of 6.06m makes him the second best outdoor vaulter ever. Kendricks has been consistent this year, with his best of 5.82m coming at the Janusz Kusocinski Memorial in the same Chorzow stadium that will be the venue of the LOTTO Kamila Skolimowska Memorial.
The pole vault competition will also feature French legend Renaud Lavillenie, Olympic 2012 champion, five-time World Championships medallist and former world record holder. As is to be expected, the Polish presence will be strong, too, with the triple World Championships medallist Piotr Lisek, already over 5.90m this season, and former world champion Pawel Wojciechowski.
Kolak was a sensational Olympic champion in Rio four years ago at the age of 21. Since then, the Croat has become a consistent top-level performer, with a personal best of 68.43m, putting her eighth on the world all-time list. A challenge to Kolak might come from Maria Andrejczyk, fourth placer in the 2016 Olympic Games, with 62.10 to her name so far this year.
The list of international stars previously announced includes two-time 200m world champion Dafne Schippers, world javelin throw champion Johannes Vetter, world discus throw champions Daniel Stahl and Andrius Gudzius, British middle-distance standout Laura Muir, high jump World Championships medalists Yuliya Levchenko and Yaroslava Mahuchikh, as well as the European 100m hurdles champion Elvira Herman.
As always, the Memorial will feature many domestic stars including four-time world hammer throw champion Pawel Fajdek, European 400m champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic, European Championships runner-up Sofia Ennaoui, World Championships medallists Kamila Licwinko (high jump) and Marcin Lewandowski (1500m), and the European indoor 60m champion Ewa Swoboda. A special mention should be given to Piotr Małachowski, the 2015 world champion and two-time Olympic silver medallist who holds the distinction of being the only athlete to have competed at every edition of the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial so far.
The former Silesian Stadium in Chorzow, freshly renamed the National Athletics Stadium, will appropriately be the host of the biggest athletics meet in Poland. Although still a relatively new event, with just 10 editions to date, the LOTTO Kamila Skolimowska Memorial has already established itself as a major stop on the European tour.
Organisers for World Athletics