28 APR 2014 General News Oslo, Norway

Carl Lewis to be guest of honour in Oslo – IAAF Diamond League

Carl Lewis receiving Athlete of the Century award (Getty Images)Carl Lewis receiving Athlete of the Century award (Getty Images) © Copyright

It was 25 years ago that the legendary Carl Lewis, named as the male athlete of the 20th century by the IAAF in 1999, competed in a tightly contested 100m race at the old Bislett Stadium.

It was an important day for Lewis; it was his 28th birthday. This year, the man himself, the winner of two Olympic and three World Championship 100m titles will return to Oslo to be the guest of honour at at the IAAF Diamond League race in Oslo on 11 June, the famous ExxonMobil Bislett Games.

Olympic 100m champions like Lewis, Linford Christie, Maurice Greene and, of course, Usain Bolt have all displayed their considerable talents in the short sprint in the Norwegian capital.

This year the tradition of fiercely contested, quality 100m races at Bislett will be evident again.

Unfortunately Usain Bolt, the great Jamaican sprinter and a big favourite in Oslo, has had to decline the invitation to compete as a slow recovery from injury has subsequently delayed his training and forced him to defer the commencement of his 2014 competition schedule.

Nevertheless, the 100m race will bring together a field of athletes who have already achieved significant title victories in their careers and the event will be especially relevant to those contesting the prestigious European 100m title which will be decided in Zurich in August.

France’s Christophe Lemaitre is the two-time reigning European champion, a winner of the 2010 IAAF Continental Cup and has regularly run under 10 seconds. He has a wealth of experience at major championships and will be looking to reduce his personal best of 9.92.

Lemaitre will get no peace and plenty of competition from his countryman Jimmy Vicaut. The powerfully built 22-year-old improved his best time to 9.95 last season, and he has the potential to be much faster this year.

In terms of potential, the young British athlete Adam Gemili appears to have all the necessary credentials to also take the sprinting world by storm.

He is a former world junior champion over 100m, but surprised the athletics world with his explosive 19.98 over 200m at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow last season.

The Londoner, who was once a youth player at Chelsea Football Club, has a best 100m time of 10.05 when winning the 2012 world junior title, which is clearly in for some substantial revision this season and possibly in this Diamond League race.

Another British athlete who will be the subject of considerable interest in Bislett is world indoor 60m champion Richard Kilty.

Kilty was a virtual unknown in Sopot, when he showed enormous composure to record one of the biggest upsets in the Polish city.

With a victory in a personal best time at his first major international championship, it seems that Kilty can only continue his rise to prominence and this 100m will provide a further opportunity for him to advance his growing reputation.

At the other end of the age spectrum is the seemingly ageless Kim Collins, a former world and Commonwealth 100m champion who has numerous other medals in his personal collection.

However, last season at the age of 37, he set a personal best of 9.97 in Lausanne.

Organisers for the IAAF

Click here to take part in the Fantasy Diamond Race

2014 IAAF Diamond League calendar 
Doha, QAT – 9 May 
Shanghai, CHN – 18 May 
Eugene, USA – 31 May 
Rome, ITA – 5 Jun 
Oslo, NOR – 11 Jun 
New York, USA – 14 Jun 
Lausanne, SUI – 3 Jul 
Paris, FRA – 5 Jul 
Glasgow, GBR – 11-12 Jul 
Monaco, MON – 18 Jul 
Stockholm, SWE – 21 Aug 
Birmingham, GBR – 24 Aug 
Zurich, SUI – 28 Aug 
Brussels, BEL – 5 Sep