A 200m showdown between US sprint stars Noah Lyles and Michael Norman is one of the many exciting clashes set to take place at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea when the IAAF Diamond League circuit heads to Rome on 6 June.
Lyles is undefeated over 200m in the IAAF Diamond League. In 2017 he won in Shanghai and at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels, then went on to win five more races in 2018, running faster than 19.7 in four of those and setting a PB of 19.65 in Monaco.
Norman ran a world-leading time of 43.61 over 400m last year and recently improved his best to 43.45. He turned professional towards the end of the 2018 outdoor season and contested just two races on the international circuit, including the 200m in Lausanne where he finished second to Lyles, 19.69 to 19.88.
Filippo Tortu will also be in the race, returning to the scene of the 20.34 PB he set at the 2017 edition of this meeting when he was aged just 18. Last year, just one week after turning 20, he broke the Italian 100m record with 9.99.
Three winners of global titles will clash in the men’s high jump with home star Gianmarco Tamberi taking on Olympic champion Derek Drouin and 2013 world champion Bogdan Bondarenko.
Tamberi last competed at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea in 2016, a few months after winning the world indoor title. Later that year he sustained a season-ending ankle injury in Monaco but he returned to action in 2017 and has since re-established himself as one of the world’s best high jumpers, winning the European indoor title earlier this year.
Drouin and Bondarenko are no strangers to injury. Drouin missed the entire 2018 season due to an achilles injury and a bulging disc in his neck, but the Canadian recently returned to competition. Bondarenko was also out of action in 2018, sidelined by a knee injury. Both men will be hoping to recapture the kind of form that helped them become members of the exclusive 2.40m club.
Organisers for the IAAF