General News Ostrava, Czech Republic

Heidler v Wlodarczyk and Lavillenie's outdoor debut confirmed for Ostrava

Betty Heidler spins to a 77.40m meet record in Berlin (Gladys Chai van der Laage)Betty Heidler spins to a 77.40m meet record in Berlin (Gladys Chai van der Laage) © Copyright

Ostrava, Czech Republic - The first high-powered clash between the last two World record holders in the women's Hammer Throw is set for the 51st Golden Spike - IAAF World Challenge Meeting - in Ostrava, Czech Republic, next month.


Current world record holder (79.42m) and European Champion Betty Heidler will face Poland's 2009 World champion and former record holder (78.30m) Anita Wlodarczyk at the event which will be staged on 24 May, the day before the meeting's main programme, and part of the 2012 IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge.


Heidler is the meet record holder at 77.22m set last year and lso won in Ostrava back in 2007, the year she won the World title in Osaka. Wlodarczyk meanwhile took back-to-back victories in Ostrava in 2009 and 2010. The women's Hammer Throw is staged also as the Kamila Skolimowska Trophy to remember the Polish Olympic champion from 2000 who died unexpectedly in February 2009.


Storl returning to familiar stomping grounds


Also confirmed is David Storl, Germany's 2011 World champion in the Shot Put. The event, contested for the first time at the meeting since 2007, will be somewhat familiar to the 21-year-old German, who won the World Youth championship here in 2007 as well as the European U23 title last year.


"I m happy to be back again in Ostrava, where I won the European (U23) title. In such a high quality field with (Dylan) Armstrong and (Christian) Cantwell I consider this competition as an important preparation for Helsinki and London," said Storl. More recently Storl took silver at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.


Outdoor debut for Lavillenie


Also returning the programme, for the first time since 2008, is the men's Pole Vault where World Indoor champion Renaud Lavillenie of France will open his summer season. Organisers are hoping he can attack the 5.77m meet record set in 2008 by Russian Yevgeniy Lukyanenko.


"I heard about the Ostrava meeting from my colleagues and I'm glad the meet will have after some years men's pole vault," said Lavillenie, who also took the European title in 2010.


"My plans are clear for the summer with Helsinki and London, and Ostrava will be the starting point. The first meet is always very important and I want to give the crowd a good show. In case all we be well with my shape and conditions I think I would be able to attack the meet record 5.77."


Koech in the 3000m


The traditional Zatopek Memorial race will be staged at 3000m distance with young Kenyan star Isiah Koech attracting the attention. Organisers are hoping he will not only attack the meet record (7:31.68 by Yusuf Biwott in 2010) but also Augustine Choge's World junior record of 7:28.78 set in 2005. Indoors this year Koech improved the 3000m World indoor junior record to 7:32.89*.


In the men's 100m, current world leader Darvis Patton (10.04) from the U.S. has joined the field.


Previously announced stars included Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell-Brown, LaShawn Merritt, Oscar Pistorius, Barbora Spotakova and Dayron Robles.


Another new initiative is the expansion of the children's Chocolate spike competition which was organised only in Ostrava so far. It will be spread into another five cities with races to be held in April and May for kids from 3 to 11 years of age. The best from each city will qualify for the finals during the pre-programme of the meeting on 25.


Organisers for the IAAF


* pending the usual ratification procedures