World record lean - 12.87 for Dayron Robles in Ostrava ( © Copyright
General News Ostrava, Czech Republic

Robles, Jelimo and Vlasic sign up for Ostrava - IAAF World Athletics Tour

Olympic champions Dayron Robles and Pamela Jelimo along with reigning World champion Blanka Vlasic will be among the headliners at the 48th Ostrava Golden Spike on 17 June, organisers announced today.

The Ostrava Golden Spike meeting, which this year celebrates its 48th edition, is the 11th stop on the 2009 IAAF World Athletics Tour.

Robles, the 22-year-old Cuban, returns to the site of the scintillating 12.87 sec World record he set last year in the 110m Hurdles, but this time will also start as Olympic champion.

"It's with extreme pleasure that I confirm my participation at the Ostrava Golden Spike, the site of my world record race and I hope that all my fans turn out and support me in my attempt to better my last year performance," said Robles, who has resumed full training after an injury cut his indoor season short last winter.

A newcomer in Ostrava will be another Olympic winner from Beijing, last year's 800m revelation and World junior record (1:54.01) holder Jelimo. The Kenyan, still only 19, met World record holder Jarmila Kratochvilova for the first time at the World Athletics Gala in Monaco in November, and promised here that she could compete in the Czech Republic's premiere international meeting.

"I want to come to Ostrava to run as fast as possible, hopefully a personal best and who knows about Jarmila's World record," said Jelimo, sole winner of the 2008 ÅF Golden League Jackpot. "I must admit there is still a gap of 0.73 between my best and this fabulous record, and that is a lot at this level."

The Kenyan super talent is also in full preparation for the summer season after missing her planned short indoor season and will likely have one or two races prior to Ostrava.

Vlasic, who jumped to Olympic silver in Beijing, is no stranger to the eastern Czech city. Returning for the sixth time, the Croatian will be looking for a fourth victory.

"I really enjoy jumping in Ostrava," said Vlasic, who last year cleared 2.05m, the highest ever in the Czech Republic. "The surface is great and I always get great support from the crowd. For me it feels like I'm jumping at home, that's how relaxed I feel in Ostrava."

For Vlasic, who plans to open her season in Doha on 8 May, Ostrava will be her fifth start of the season.

Zelezny new meeting director

Organisers also announced that legendary Czech javelin thrower Jan Zelezny is now the meeting's new director.

"I always loved competing here, the fans are great and the experience of the organisers is also excellent," said Zelezny, who debuted in the role of meet director at the Prague indoor meeting in February. "My aim would be to support the meet in the current situation when the meetings scene is undergoing major changes."

The meet also received good news from Ostrava’s Vice-Mayor Zdenek Trejbal who announced a major stadium renovation. The standing tribune will be modernised to include full-seating with a capacity of 15,000 after the 2010 meet, and is scheduled to be completed in time for both the 2011 edition and the European U-23 Championships later that summer.

Athletes previously announced were Olympic Javelin Throw champion Barbora Spotakova and Kenyan Paul Kipsiele Koech in the 3000m Steeplechase.

Last year's edition witnessed two World records - besides Robles' mark, Dire Tune extended the women's One Hour Run record to 18,517m - while 11 participants, including Usain Bolt, Tirunesh Dibaba and Jeremy Wariner, went on to win medals at the Olympic Games.

Organisers and Bob Ramsak for the IAAF