Preview Rieti, Italy

Rudisha returns to World record setting stage as six Daegu World Champs head to Rieti - IAAF World Challenge Preview

Rudisha with his World record clock in Rieti (Victah Sailer)Rudisha with his World record clock in Rieti (Victah Sailer) © Copyright

Kenya’s 800m super star David Rudisha, Australia’s 100m hurdler Sally Pearson, Botswana’s 400m sprinter Amantle Montsho, Kenya’s 1500m World champion Asbel Kiprop, US middle distance star Jennifer Barringer Simpson and Russian hammer thrower Tatyana Lysenko are the six recently crowned World champions from Daegu who will be in the spotlight at the Rieti IAAF World Challenge on Saturday 10th September.


"I love Rieti"


Rudisha will return to his favourite Rieti track where he famously broke the African record with 1:42.01 in 2009 and the World record clocking a sensational 1:41.01 last year. After his legendary feat last year, which followed up his first World record set one week earlier in Berlin (1:41.09), he promised to return to Rieti this year as a World champion.


With the World title from Daegu in the bag, Rudisha can focus on setting fast times in the post-Daegu season. “I love Rieti”, said the IAAF World Athlete of the Year to the Italian RAI Television after the World Championships final in Daegu.


Rudisha will attempt the World record on Saturday afternoon. He will be aiming for the first sub-1:41 in the history. Rieti has made the history of the two-lap event. The world season’s best time was set ten times in the 41 editions of the Rieti meeting.


It is expected to be another fast race with other finalists from Daegu in the field like former World champion Alfred Kirwa Yego, the two World Championships finalists from Poland Marcin Lewandowski (European champion in Barcelona) and Adam Kszczot (European Indoor champion in Paris), Ethiopian 17-year-old sensation Mohamed Aman, World Youth silver and World finalist in Daegu.  


Apart from Rudisha the list of stars who clocked World season’s best times features Steve Cram (1:43.19 in 1986), Josè Luiz Barbosa (1:43.08 in 1991), Nixon Kiprotich (1:43.54 in 1993), Benson Koech (1:43.17 in 1994), Wilson Kipketer (1:41.83 in 1996, 1:42.32 in 2002), Wilfred Bungei (1:43.70 in 2005) and Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (1:43.09 in 2006).


The enthusiastic Rieti crowd literally pushed Rudisha to clocking the World record a year ago creating the perfect atmosphere to the historic achievement. Rudisha will again rely on the strong support from the Rieti athletics fans who contribute to create the magic and enjoyable atmosphere which makes the Italian town so special for athletics.


Bekele Vs Lagat at 3000 - Kiprop at 1500


Last year Tariku Bekele won the fast 3000 metres on the Rieti track setting the fastest time in the world with 7:28.70 beating Bernard Lagat, who broke the US record with 7:29.00. This year Lagat, who added another 5000 metres silver medal to his trophy cabinet in Daegu, and Bekele will be gunning for another fast time.


Kenyan Asbel Kiprop comes to Rieti as the 1500 metres World champion from Daegu and will be looking to winning for the second consecutive year. Kiprop, who clocked his 2010 season best of 3:31.78 in Rieti, will take on Olympic silver medallist Nick Willis (NZL) and Amine Laalou of Morocco, who will try to avenge his elimination in the Daegu World Championships semi-final.


Double 100 and 200 metres World silver medallist Walter Dix will run his first post-World Championships 100 metres on the very fast Rieti track where Jamaican Asafa Powell set the then World record of 9.77 in 2007 and five men dipped under 10 seconds last year. In Daegu Dix finished second behind Yohan Blake in the 100 metres and repeated the same placing in the 200 metres taking the silver behind Usain Bolt in 19.70 missing his PB by just 0.01.


Dix will square off against Jamaican 4x100 World champion and record holder Nesta Carter, Daegu 200 metres fourth placer Jaysuma Saidy Ndure from Norway (19.95 in the half-lap race in Korea) and former World champion Justin Gatlin.


Carter has a special memory of the Rieti track where he became the fourth fastest man in history last year with 9.78 in a race where five men dipped under the 10 seconds barrier.


Lashawn Merritt, World silver medallist in the 400 metres just 0.03 sec. off gold medallist Kirani James, will also line up in the 200 metres.  


Pearson lines up in 100m flat


Sally Pearson enyoyed a perfect season winning four Diamond League meetings (Lausanne, Birmingham, Monaco, London) before cruising to a sensational 12.28 in the women’s 100m Hurdles final in Daegu, the fourth fastest time in history. She backed her amazing performance with yet another Diamond League win in Zurich last night.


Pearson will run the 100 metres flat race where she is the reigning Australian champion. Pearson, who ran a PB of 11.14 at the World Championships in Osaka, will try to break the 100 metres national record held by Melinda Gainsford Taylor with 11.12. Pearson won the 100 metres in 11.30 in 2007 in Rieti.


The women’s 100 metres will also feature Bulgarian Ivet Lalova who finished seventh in the World Championships final in Daegu and narrowly missed the 200 metres final after clocking a good 22.62 in the heats. Lalova has a special relation to Rieti as she is the girlfriend of Italian 4x100 relay World Championships finalist and European silver medallist Simone Collio and trains on the Raul Guidobaldi’s track everyday under the guidance of local coach Roberto Bonomi.  


Penultimate leg of IAAF World Hammer Throw Challenge


The same formula of staging three rounds to qualify the four best hammer throwers in both men’s and women’s categories will be repeated this year. It will be the penultimate leg of the IAAF World Hammer Throw Challenge. The hammer throw qualifying round to Saturday’s final will take place on Friday afternoon.


Tatyana Lysenko, who clinched the World title with 77.13, will return to the Central Italian town where she set the meeting record last year at 74.80. Lysenko will clash against former double World champion and Daegu fourth placer Yipsi Moreno, World junior champion Bianca Perie of Romania and the two Moldavian sisters Zalina and Marina Marghieva.


In the men’s Hammer Throw both silver and bronze medallists from Daegu Kristian Pars, whose impressive 81.18 was not enough to win the World title, and Primos Kozmus will start as favourites. The Italian interest will be focused on European silver medallist Nicola Vizzoni, who finished eighth in Daegu and threw 81.29 this season.    


Montsho and Simpson ready to back up World title


Amantle Montsho will run her first 400 metres since her historic World title in Daegu where she beat Allyson Felix by 0.03 in 49.53, a new national record, which she may attack on the very fast Rieti track. In her previous race in Rieti Montsho finished seventh in 53.27.


The women’s 400 metres Hurdles is expected to be a re-match between double Diamond League winner Kaliese Spencer and Olympic gold and World silver medallist Melaine Walker. In Daegu Walker won the silver and Spencer finished fourth, while Spencer bounced back by winning in Zurich in 53.36 taking the Diamond Trophy for the second consecutive year.    


Cuban Lazaro Borges, one of the major sensations of the World Championships in Daegu with his silver medal with his PB of 5.90, will highlight the men’s Pole Vault which also features Pole Mateusz Didenkow, seventh in Daegu, and Italian former World champion Giuseppe Gibilisco.


US Jennifer Simpson produced one of the biggest upsets of the World Championships where she won the 1500 metres title in 4:05.40. Simpson, previously known as a steeplechaser with a fifth place in Berlin 2009 as her best result, will return to the track in Rieti where many fast times were set during the history of this meeting. Brilliant result have always been set on this track known as the temple of middle distance running and this year should not be an exception. The field also features World bronze medallist Natalia Rodriguez of Spain, Btissam Lakhouad and Siham Hilali of Morocco.  


Celebration for home favourite Di Martino


Rieti will also celebrate European Indoor champion Antonietta Di Martino who won the World bronze medal in Daegu with 2.00 metres after a difficult outdoor season in which she could not compete for two months due to a toe injury. In Daegu Di Martino showed once again that she can overcome adversity by clearing 2 metres for the twelfth time in her career. Di Martino capped a great indoor season in which she cleared a 2.04 Italian Indoor record in Banska Bystrika and won the European Indoor season in Paris Bercy with 2.01 before the injury curtailed most of her outdoor season.


European champion and World bronze medallist Ineta Radevica of Latvia and Nastassia Myronchik Ivanova of Belarus, fourth in Daegu, will start as favourites in the women’s Long Jump.  


Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF