Christian Olsson (SWE) celebrates winning the men's triple jump final (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Stockholm, Sweden

DN Galan nears 'record' spectator sell-out

 Fans of the DN Galan IAAF Super Grand Prix - are well on their way to setting their own new meet record, as with less than a month remaining, only 1700 tickets are still available to the meet at the Stockholm Olympic Stadium on Tuesday August 5!

"DN Galan has always sold out, but this summer the demand for tickets is unprecedented," says meeting director Rajne Söderberg. The reason?

"The phenomenal success of  Swedish athletes such as Christian Olsson, Kajsa Bergqvist, Stefan Holm, Staffan Strand, Carolina Klüft, Robert Kronberg and others," continued Söderberg. "Phones have been ringing since the indoor season, as fans want to be sure to get seats to see them in action three weeks before the World Championships."

Olsson, who set a new Swedish record with 17.77, will once again take on his good friend and arch-rival Jonathan Edwards in Stockholm this summer. The Briton who won the World Championships in Edmonton two years ago from Olsson enjoys competing against the Swede, particularly on the latter’s home turf.

At last year’s DN Galan Edwards beat Olsson 17.78 to 17.39 and in 2001 the order was the same: Edwards winning with 17.40, Olsson taking second with 17.28. This year’s US champion Kenta Bell and Romania’s fast improving Marian Oprea, (both with personal bests of 17.63), guarantee that the Triple Jump will have the spectators undivided attention.

In the men's High Jump, on paper Stefan Holm’s main competition could be anyone of the nine jumpers who have cleared 2.30 or more! Jacques Freitag, South Africa tops with 2.37, followed by Andrei Sokolovski, Russia, (2.36) and 2.35-jumpers Mark Boswell of Canada and Charles Clinger, USA. Andrei Chubsa, Belarus will try to defend his victory in Stockholm from last year.

Kajsa Bergqvist is immensly popular and was surrounded by fans and media after her stadium record, (2.00) at last year’s DN Galan. She recently withdrew from a couple of meets in order to work on her technique, but loves jumping at the Olympic Stadium in front of her home crowd.

European champion in the Heptathlon, Carolina Klüft will try to better her personal best of 6. 62 in the Long Jump.

Impressive international line-up

In addition to the Swedish crowd favourites, DN Galan will include many foreign stars who most likely will compete for medals at the World Championships in Paris in August.

Bernard Williams, USA who won the 100 metres at last Friday's Meeting Gaz de France will face Nigeria’s Deji Aliu and this year’s fastest man, Patrick Johnson of Australia (9.93).

The men’s 800 metres has three sub 1.43-runners in Kenyan Wilfred Bungei, Kenya, Yurij Borzakovskiy of Russia and South Africa's Hezekiel Sepeng.

The women’s 100 metres includes last year’s top three in Stockholm – winner  World champion Zhanna Block of Ukraine, Debbie Ferguson of Bahamas the double Commonwealth champion, and USA's Chryste Gaines.

Kelli White, who last summer injured herself and didn’t make it to the finish line in Stockholm, is the fastest woman this season with 10.93. In the absence of Marion Jones, White has become the US number one, winning both the 100 and 200 metres at the US nationals in June.

Maria Mutola of Mozambique makes her eighth appearance at DN Galan since 1995. That year she set the stadium record for the 1000 metres with 2.30,72 – a time she is out to better on August 5. Her toughest opponents are Britain’s Kelly Holmes, Russia’s Ekaterina Dyadkova and Morocco’s Mina ait Hammou.

Seven of the runners in the 100 metres Hurdles have personal bests of 12.75 or faster. Bridgette Foster, Jamaica tops with 12.45.

Last year, Svetlana Feofanova of Russia set a new European record with 4.78 in the Pole Vault. She is eager for another 1-carat diamond that is awarded to any athlete who breaks a stadium record. Svetlana will jump against four women with PB's of 4.70 or higher, and a total of eight jumpers have cleared at least 4.60.