21 JAN 2009 General News Stockholm, Sweden

Beijing champions Hooker, Bungei, Robles set for 20th edition of Stockholm Indoor meet

Dayron Robles of Cuba dips under 13 seconds to win Olympic sprint hurdles gold (Getty Images)Dayron Robles of Cuba dips under 13 seconds to win Olympic sprint hurdles gold (Getty Images) © Copyright

The 20th edition of GE Galan which takes place on Wednesday 18 February in the Swedish capital will feature Olympic champions Steve Hooker of Australia (Pole Vault), Kenyan Wilfred Bungei (800m) and Dayron Robles of Cuba (110m Hurdles).

The GE Galan is one of ten IAAF Indoor Permit Meetings in the 2009 season.

Steve Hooker will be engaged in a new duel with World Indoor Pole Vault champion Yevgeniy Lukyanenko, who he beat to Olympic gold in Beijing. They are the two latest additions to the "Six-Metres-Club" which is headed by Sergey Bubka,  and now boasts 16 members indoors and out.

They will be joined in Stockholm’s Globe Arena by Olympic fourth placer Derek Miles and the best Swede, Alhaji Jeng who was second at the 2006 World Indoor Championships.

Wilfred Bungei, who as well as his Beijing triumph was 2006 World Indoor 800m champion, meets Russia’s Yuriy Borzakovskiy, who was the unsuccessful defending champion in Beijing and like the Kenyan a previous winner of the World Indoor title (2001). Borzakovskiy didn’t even make it to the Olympic final last summer but Sudan’s Ahmed Ismail did that and more taking the silver medal, his country’s first ever Olympic medallist.

Ismail’s Sudanese compatriot Abubaker Kaki who was undefeated up to the Beijing Olympics in a year in which, still as a junior, he took the World Indoor 800m title, will attack the 1000m World Indoor record on 18 February. That world mark is 2:14.96 and is owned by the now retired Wilson Kipketer of Denmark. In a youthful miss-timed shot at the mark Kaki ran 2:15.77 when winning in Stockholm last year. The World junior champion and record holder for 800m, faces rising Kenyan star Boaz Lalang  this year.

Dayron Robles' spectacular 2008 had everything an athlete could wish for an Olympic gold and a World record at the 110m Hurdles. However, prior to these outdoor triumphs the Cuban hurdler ended an otherwise a brilliant indoor season over 60m Hurdles with a DNF at the World Indoor Championships, when everyone was expecting a World record and so will have much to prove this indoor season.
 
Swedish quarter miler Johan Wissman, one of two Europeans to reach both the World and Olympic finals in 2007-08, will be the brightest local star. The 400m in Stockholm forecasts a replay of last year’s World Indoor Championships final in Valencia. Wissman, Chris Brown (BAH) and Nery Brenes (CRC) will again chase Canada’s Tyler Christopher who out-run them to gold on that occasion last winter.
 
Lorenzo Nesi for the IAAF