Organisers of the ISTAF meeting have announced that pole vault world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie and Olympic discus champion Christoph Harting will be competing at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on 27 August.
Two weeks after the IAAF World Championships London 2017, some 180 athletes from around the world will be expected in the German capital. “The fans can expect thrilling competition in what should be 16 events in track and field,” said meeting director Martin Seeber.
Lavillenie holds the current world record in the pole vault with 6.16m. The 2012 Olympic champion produced the highlight of the 2015 ISTAF Indoor Meeting when he cleared 6.02m, a world best for the year.
Harting won Olympic gold in the discus in sensational style last year in Rio, following in the footsteps of his brother Robert, who triumphed in London in 2012. Poland’s world champion Piotr Malachowski will be among his rivals in Berlin.
For the first time in seven years, the ISTAF meeting will stage a women’s sprint relay including the high-flying German squad following their triumph at the IAAF World Relays Bahamas 2017 earlier this year.
One year before Berlin hosts the European Championships, the ISTAF meeting will be providing an innovative feature for the fans with a stage constructed above one of the bends as the athletes run underneath the tunnel-like structure
It will be 10 metres wide, 25 metres long and about four metres above the track, all done, as the ISTAF organisers say, “To bring athletes and fans closer together”. Victory ceremonies are also planned to be staged on the tribune.
“We want to bring the stars of track and field right up close to the fans,” said Seeber. “We'd like to create an environment in our stadium where fans whatever their age can meet their idols, have autographs signed and take selfies with the Marathon Gate behind them.”
Organisers for the IAAF