Rio 2016 Olympic champions Thomas Rohler of Germany and Caterine Ibargüen of Colombia and 2012 Olympic pole vault champion Renaud Lavillenie of France head the entry lists for the 55th Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku on 13 June, part of the IAAF World Challenge series for the first time. The meeting will be held on Paavo Nurmi’s 120th birthday in the city of his birth.
Rohler returns to the stadium where he reached 90 metres for the first time (twice) last season. His 91.28m throw remained the world-leading mark through the end of the season. Meanwhile, the 25-year-old German has already set a 93.90m national record and world lead at the IAAF Diamond League opener in Doha in May.
World pole vault record holder Lavillenie has competed in Finland only once, at the 2012 European Championships in Helsinki where he won his second of three continental outdoor titles. Last year he finished with a silver medal in Rio.
The 33-year-old Ibarguen won successive world triple jump titles in 2013 and 2015 before claiming the Olympic title in Rio last year, with a 15.17m winning effort, the best jump in the world since 2014.
In the men’s hammer throw Pawel Fajdek of Poland returns. Fajdek, last year's winner with an 81.12m stadium record, will again take on 2016 Olympic champion Dilshod Nazarov of Tajikistan, who was second in this competition last season with a 78.87m season’s best.
The men’s javelin competition will be of an exceptionally high standard. Along with Rohler, fellow Germans Johannes Vetter (89.68m PB 2017) and Andreas Hoffmann (88.79m 2017) will also compete against the reigning world champion Julius Yego of Kenya and top Finn Tero Pitkämäki, who won in Turku in 2015 with an 89.09m result.
Lavillenie meanwhile will have to fight fierce competition with fellow Frenchman Kévin Menaldo (5.83m PB 2017) and 2011 world champion Pawel Wojciechowski also entered.
Others confirmed include 2015 world 400m hurdles champion Nicholas Bett of Kenya, 2013 world 110m hurdles champion David Oliver of the US and Caleb Ndiku of Kenya, the 2014 world indoor 3000m champion.
In the women’s events Mariya Lasitskiene, competing as a neutral athlete, tops the high jump entries. The 24-year-old jumped a world-leading 2.03m personal best in Eugene on 27 May.
The women’s javelin is top class too, with 2016 European champion Tatsiana Khaladovich of Belarus, winner with a 66.30m season’s best in Eugene, leading the field. The entry list also includes 2015 world champion Katharina Molitor of Germany and Sunette Viljoen of South Africa, the 2016 Olympic silver medallist.
A total of six Olympic and 14 indoor and outdoor world champions in individual events are on the slate.
Organisers for the IAAF