Two of Jamaica’s greatest ever women sprinters are among a glittering array of world and Olympic track and field champions set to shine at the 2015 Shanghai Diamond League meeting on 17 May, the event organisers announced today.
Olympic gold medallist and triple world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will take on her compatriot Veronica Campbell-Brown in a mouth-watering 100m clash at the second meeting on this year’s IAAF Diamond League calendar, with world 200m and long jump medallist, Blessing Okagbare, alongside them on the start line.
Campbell-Brown, the Olympic 200m champion in 2004 and 2008, won the season-long Diamond Race over 100m last year and will be keen to get her 2015 season off to a flying start against Fraser-Pryce, who won three sprint titles at the Moscow 2013 World Championships and took a prized 100m victory at this meeting two years ago.
Fraser-Pryce will want to get back to winning ways after she was forced to withdraw from last season’s 200m race.
Okagbare produced a dazzling double at this meeting 12 months ago when she won the long jump and 200m, and the multi-talented Nigerian will be looking for maximum points again to kick off this summer’s campaign ahead of the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
The women’s 100m will be just one of many highlights in a meeting packed with world and Olympic medallists, including at least six Olympic and six reigning world champions.
The men’s 110m hurdles always attracts huge interest in Shanghai and 2015 will be no different with London 2012 Olympic champion Aries Merritt against all three Moscow world medallists – fellow Americans David Oliver and Ryan Wilson, plus Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov. China’s Xie Wenjun will face strong competition in his home country.
As world record holder, Merritt will be looking to make amends this year after pulling up injured in the Shanghai sprint hurdles two years ago, while Oliver will be seeking an early Diamond Race victory ahead of his world title defence in Beijing.
There’s another clash between current world and Olympic champions in the men’s long jump where London 2012 gold medallist Greg Rutherford faces Aleksandr Menkov, who took the world crown on home soil two years ago.
Rutherford followed his Olympic triumph by clinching Commonwealth Games and European titles in 2014 and is now aiming for world gold in Beijing to complete the set. An early victory against Menkov would be a great boost to the Briton’s confidence.
Sticking with the jumps, US Olympic silver medallist Erik Kynard has been named as one of Mutaz Essa Barshim’s opponents in the men’s high jump, while Kazakhstan’s Olympic champion Olga Rypakova takes on world champion Caterine Ibarguen in the women’s triple jump. Colombia’s Ibarguen claimed the Diamond Race trophy and $40,000 prize in 2014.
Piotr Malachowski won the men’s Diamond Race discus trophy last year and the Pole will start his 2015 campaign in Shanghai against the great Estonian, Gerd Kanter, the 2008 Olympic champion and Moscow world bronze medallist.
Christina Obergföll tops the bill in the women’s javelin as the German sets out to defend her world title in Beijing, while China’s own Olympic and world shot put bronze medallist Gong Lijiao will be just one of many home-grown stars on display.
Fans can also look forward to an eye-catching women’s pole vault featuring Cuba’s world indoor champion, Yarisley Silva.
On the track Kenyan world champion Eunice Sum will be one to watch in the 800m and Agnes Tirop runs the 5000m less than two months after being crowned world cross country champion in Guiyang at the age of 19.
More star names will be announced for the 2015 Shanghai Diamond League meeting in the next few weeks.
The 2015 Shanghai Diamond League meeting on Sunday 17 May includes 16 Diamond League events, eight for men (200m, 400m, 1500m, 3000m steeplechase, 110m hurdles, high jump, long jump, discus) and eight for women (100m, 800m, 5000m, 400m hurdles, pole vault, triple jump, shot, javelin).