General News Ostrava, Czech Republic

Dibaba sisters and Harting sign up for Ostrava

Tirunesh Dibaba in Ostrava (graf.cz)Tirunesh Dibaba in Ostrava (graf.cz) © Copyright

World and Olympic Discus champion Robert Harting and Ethiopia’s leading distance-running sisters Tirunesh and Genzebe Dibaba are among the latest athletes to sign up for the 52nd Ostrava Golden Spike, an IAAF World Challenge meeting, on June 27.

The men’s Discus will return to the meeting’s programme for first time since 1996, so it goes without saying that this will be Harting’s first appearance in the Czech city. The German has not lost a competition since August 2010 and he will be keen to extend his winning streak to a third full season.

The meeting record of 68.06m – set in 1983 by Cuba’s Luis M Delis – could be under threat. The Discus will be held on June 26, the day before the main meeting, along with both Hammer competitions which will feature 2012 Olympic champions Krisztian Pars and Tatyana Lysenko.

The Dibaba sisters will run different events. Three-time Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba will contest the 10,000m, an event in which she has never been beaten. Dibaba holds the Ostrava meeting record with her 31:03.37 clocking from 2008, but her main aim at this year’s meeting will be to clock a time that will confirm her selection for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.

Younger sister Genzebe Dibaba, the 2012 World indoor champion, will run the 1500m. “I am looking forward to coming to Ostrava,” she said. “I know I am in good shape at the moment as I ran a PB in Doha (3:57.54). But unfortunately I did not win there, so I will be extra focused to win in Ostrava. It will be a good competition in my preparation for the World Championships this year where I hope to win a gold medal.”

Several top names have also been added to the men’s High Jump – Asian record-holder and Olympic bronze medallist Mutaz Essa Barshim, European indoor champion Sergey Mudrov, and 2011 World silver medallist Aleksey Dmitrik.

Former World record-holder and 1968 Olympic Long Jump champion Bob Beamon has been confirmed as a special guest. “I’m thrilled to be invited to such a prestigious event,” said the US athlete, who will be making his first trip to the Czech Republic.

“1968 was a tremendously important year for the Olympic Games in Mexico City and an even more important time for what is now the Czech Republic. The social and political climate around the world was as unpredictable as the World and Olympic records I was able to set during those Olympic Games. I am excited to visit the Czech Republic for the first time with my Olympic record of nearly 45 years still intact.”

Organisers for the IAAF