Czech javelin thrower Barbora Spotakova (© Getty Images)
Barbora Spotakova’s streak of seven podium finishes at Ostrava’s Golden Spike meeting came to an end last year as the javelin world record-holder was on a baby break, but the Czech star will make a popular return to the IAAF World Challenge meeting on 17 June.
The 32-year-old has won twice in Ostrava and set a meeting record of 67.78m with her last victory in 2012. The two-time Olympic champion is yet to open her 2014 season, but a late-season effort of 62.33m in 2013 – just a few months after giving birth – gave an indication that she is on course to recapturing her best form.
Ostrava has in the past played host to world records in the 20,000m and one-hour run. Haile Gebrselassie broke both men’s marks in 2007, then one year later fellow Ethiopian Dire Tune set a world record for the women’s one-hour event with 18,517m.
At this year’s Golden Spike meeting, Kenya’s Florence Kiplagat will compete over the 20,000m distance with a view to bettering Tune’s one-hour mark as well as Tegla Loroupe’s 20,000m world record of 1:05:26.6. Earlier in 2014, Kiplagat broke the half marathon world record in Barcelona, taking down the 20km world record in the process.
“Even though I won the 2013 Berlin Marathon, I wasn’t completely happy with my time (2:21:13),” said Kiplagat. “Therefore I changed my training and started focusing on shorter distances, then in February I managed to set a world record for the half marathon.
“I didn’t win the London Marathon this year, but I want to improve even further and to set another record. My management contacted the organisers of the Golden Spike, who are known for staging record attempts at these distances. Ostrava has a rich tradition, a great audience and a great track. I believe I’ll succeed in breaking both records.”
Another world record-holder confirmed for the Golden Spike is Genzebe Dibaba. The Ethiopian set world records indoors this year in the 1500m and 3000m, and in Ostrava next month she will look to add another record to her CV when she makes her 2000m debut.
Her target will be Sonia O’Sullivan’s mark of 5:25.36, set 20 years ago. When Dibaba set her world indoor 3000m record of 8:16.60 earlier this year, she went through the 2000m mark in 5:34.3 and covered the final 2000m in 5:27.95.
“My sister Tirunesh has won in Ostrava several times,” Dibaba said of her multiple Olympic gold medal-winning sister. “We were thinking of the records I could break in the summer and we agreed on the 2000m.”
Spotakova, Kiplagat and Dibaba are the latest names to be announced for Ostrava, joining the likes of Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt, world indoor and outdoor 800m champion Mohammed Aman, pole vault world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie, Olympic high jump champion Ivan Ukhov, and world and Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
Organisers for the IAAF