Thiago Braz in the pole vault at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne (© Getty Images)
The Athletissima meeting will have a strong Olympic theme as several medallists from Rio will be at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne on 25 August.
“We have already confirmed more than 20 medallists from the Rio Olympic Games, six of whom are Olympic champions,” said meeting director Jacky Delapierre at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday (17). “By the end of the Olympic athletics events, I expect there to be more than 30.
Entries of the short sprint races will only be known after the Olympic relay events. “This will make it easier for us to finalise the line-up,” said Delapierre. “But there will be a men’s 100m and a 200m and a 100m women with the new sprint queen, Olympic champion Elaine Thompson.”
In the 400m, Kirani James and LaShawn Merritt, the silver and bronze medallists in Brazil, will once again face each other after their memorable head-to-head race in 2014, which James won in 43.74, the fastest time in the world that year.
The 110m hurdles will be a repeat of the Rio final and likely to be a tight race between the three medallists: Omar McLeod, Orlando Ortega and Dimitri Bascou.
The best 800m and 1500m runners will compete in the 1000m. It is only the second time in the meeting’s history that such an event takes place. Asbel Kiprop, world champion in the 1500m, will face 2013 world 800m champion Mohammed Aman and Olympic 800m bronze medallist Clayton Murphy of the USA.
Following their enthralling duel in Rio, Thiago Braz will renew his rivalry with his predecessor as Olympic champion, Renaud Lavillenie.
The men’s discus will feature many of the world’s best throwers, led by Olympic champion Christoph Harting, while Olympic silver and bronze medallists Mutaz Essa Barshim and Bogdan Bondarenko will clash in the high jump.
Two of the women’s field events boast the full complement of Olympic medallists. Caterine Ibarguen, Yulimar Rojas and Olga Rypakova will line up for the triple jump, while Michelle Carter, Valerie Adams and Anita Marton will compete in the shot put.
In the 3000m, all eyes will be on world 1500m record-holder Genzebe Dibaba, who will be eager to run a fast time. Her main opponent will be Mercy Cherono, who will try to achieve a hat-trick in Lausanne, having won in 2012 and 2014.
Caster Semenya will start as favourite in the 800m. She will face world silver medallist Melissa Bishop, 2013 world champion Eunice Sum, and European indoor champion Selina Buchel.
But the Athletissima meeting isn’t just a Rio reunion; it will also feature athletes who did not make it to the Games.
Having not made the US team in the 100m hurdles, world record-holder Kendra Harrison will be eager to run another quick time on a track that is renowned for producing fast times in the sprint hurdles.
Organisers for the IAAF
2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar
6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL