Bogdan Bondarenko jumps 2.40m in Tokyo (© Getty Images)
World high jump champion Bogdan Bondarenko will take on Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov at the Mohammed VI d'Athletisme IAAF World Challenge meeting on 8 June in what will be their third clash of 2014.
They are two of six reigning global champions who will compete next month at the Grand Stade de Marrakech, venue for the IAAF Continental Cup later in the year.
World and Olympic hammer champion Tatyana Lysenko is another star set to compete at the meeting, which is also part of the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge.
Other current world champions set to compete at the only IAAF World Challenge meeting of 2014 to be held in Africa are shot putter Valerie Adams, 800m runner Mohammed Aman and steeplechaser Ezekiel Kemboi.
Bondarenko and Ukhov renewed their rivalry earlier this month at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Tokyo. Bondarenko got the upper hand there with a 2.40m leap, but Ukhov was jumping on tired legs, having competed just two days earlier at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha where he set a world-leading 2.41m.
They will face each other again at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome on 5 June before heading to Marrakech.
Lysenko and Adams are the leading names in the women’s throwing events, while the men’s javelin field includes world leader Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed, world bronze medallist Dmitri Tarabin and Latvian record-holder Vadims Vasilevskis.
With Morocco’s fine tradition in middle-distance events, it’s no surprise that strong fields have been assembled in the 800m, 1500m and 5000m.
Moahammed Aman, world champion indoors and outdoors, will take on USA’s Duane Solomon in the 800m. Mediterranean Games champion Malika Akkaoui will lead home hopes in the women’s two-lap race where she’ll face Ethiopian record-holder Fantu Magiso and European indoor champion Nataliia Lupu.
Fresh from his sub-3:30 clocking in Doha, 2011 world silver medallist Silas Kiplagat leads the entries in the men’s 1500m where he’ll face Ethiopian record-holder Aman Wote and 2012 world indoor champion Abdalaati Iguider.
In the women’s metric mile, world finalist Siham Hilali will be up against African champion Rabab Arrafi, who earlier this week set a PB of 4:02.71 when winning in Beijing. The two Morrocans will take on European bronze medallist Anna Mishchenko and Russia’s Anna Shchagina.
Three-time world champion Ezekiel Kemboi will face his leading European rival, Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, in the 3000m steeplechase.
Hopes are high that this year’s edition of the meeting will play host to Morocco’s first ever sub-10-second performance in the men’s 100m. South Africa’s Simon Magakwe, who recently broke the national record with 9.98, will be up against fellow sub-10 sprinters Kemar Bailey-Cole and Walter Dix.
Elsewhere, 2011 world cross-country champion Imane Merga will face Asian record-holder Albert Rop and world junior champion Muktar Edris in the 5000m, while Olympic finalist Georganne Moline takes on Jamaica’s Nickiesha Wilson and Ukraine’s Hanna Titimets in the 400m hurdles.
Organisers for the IAAF