Air Saladino! 8.73m leap in Hengelo (Jiro Mochizuki (Agence shot)) © Copyright
General News Hengelo, The Netherlands – A star

Six Olympic and five World champions set for Hengelo – IAAF World Athletics Tour

studded field which includes six Olympic gold medallists, five reigning World and four European champions will be on display at the 27th edition of the FBK Games when the IAAF World Athletics Tour contines on Monday in Hengelo.

The Fanny Blankers-Koen Games is a Grand Prix status meeting as part of the 2009 IAAF World Athletics Tour.

More over Haile Gebrselassie, nicknamed “Mister Hengelo” because of the four World records he set in this eastern Dutch city over the years, will look to add another with an assault on his own standard in the One Hour run. Gebrselassie, the World record holder in the Marathon, covered 21,285 metres two years ago at the Golden Spike in Ostrava.

The Olympic champions who will start in Hengelo are: Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele (5000 and 10,000m), Kenyans Brimin Kipruto (3000m Steeplechase) and Nancy Lagat (1500m), Pole Tomasz Majewski (Shot Put), Irving Saladino of Panama (Long Jump), and Brazilian Maurren Higa Maggi (Long Jump).

Bekele vs Kipruto in the 1500m

Bekele, the double Olympic champion, will not run one of his favourite distances. The Ethiopian has chosen the 1500m to test and improve his speed in preparation for August’s World Championships in Berlin.  in August. He will face Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the Olympic 1500m silver medallist, who displayed solid early season form with his 1:43.17 800m PB in Doha earlier this month. Other strong contenders in the race will be Suleiman Simotwo (KEN, 3:31:67) and Mohamed Moustaoui (MAR, 3:32:06).

Another very interesting event will be the 5000m with a confrontation with nine athletes who have run the 12.5 laps in under 13 minutes. The fastest of them are the Kenyans Eliud Kipchoge (12:46:53), Augustine Choge (12:53:66), Joseph Ebuya (12:51:00) and Abraham Chebii (12:52:99) and the Ethiopians Sileshi Sihine (12:47:04), Abraham Cherkos (12:54:19) and Abebe Dinkessa (2:55:58).

Dutch finest line up against Kaki in the 800m

The 800m is a very interesting event for the home crowd with three Dutchmen in the field: Bram Som, who returns to action after two years of injury problems; Arnoud Okken; and rising talent Robert Lathouwers, who won the FBK 800m last year. The Dutch trio will face Abubakar Kaki (SUD, 1:42:69) who has already run 1:43.09 this season, the fastest in the world thus far. Amine Laalou (MAR, 1:43:25) and David Rudisha (KEN, 1:43:72) are also in the field.

Beijing Steeplechase podium reunion

Kipruto is the hot favourite in the 3000m Steeplechase. The Olympic champion will face Beijing silver medallist Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France and compatriot Richard Mateeloong, the bronze medallist of Beijing. In a thrilling final, the three finished within just 0.67 seconds of each other in the Bird’s Nest last summer.

The Dutch spectators will also look forward to the 100m and the 110m Hurdles. Churandy Martina of the Dutch Antilles, who won the 100m here in 2007 and the 200m last year, will face Americans Shawn Crawford, Marcus Brunson and Mark Jelks and Kim Collins of St. Kitts, all of whom boast sub-10 second personal bests.

The high hurdles will provide a battle Between the Dutchmen Gregory Sedoc, the European indoor 60m Hurdles silver medallist, and Marcel van der Westen. The fastest man in the start blocks will be American Ryan Wilson (13.02, 2007) who arrives on the heels of three victories in as many outings in Brazil.

Saladino returns to revisit the site of his big 2008 leap

Very interesting fields will gather in the Long Jump and Shot Put.

Panama’s Saladino, the Olympic champion, will be gunning for a third straight Long Jump victory. Last year he produced his stunning 8.73m leap which elevated him into the No. 7 spot all-time. He will face the man he succeeded as World champion, 2003 and 2005 World champion Dwight Phillips of the USA. Phillips has won both of his 2009 outings, topped with an impressive 8.51m leap on 1 May. Also in the field is rising German star Sebastian Bayer who sprung to international prominence after his 8.71m European indoor record to take the continental indoor title in Turin in March.

The Shot Put will be a confrontation between the gold and silver medaillists from the Beijing Olympics, Tomasz Majewski of Poland and American Christian Cantwell. Majewski won the gold with a personal best of 21.51m.

Dutch favourite Rutger Smith is not able to start due to an injury which caused a back log in training. Finn Tero Järvenpää, fourth in Beijing, is the favourite in the Javelin Throw.

Women’s fields no less impressive

The women’s starting field is also very promising. Olympic and World 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu of Great Britain will again contest the 200m, where she’ll face Laverne Jones (ISV) and Carol Rodriguez (PUR). Bahamian Chandra Sturrup and American Mechelle Lewis, both with sub-11 credentials, are the favourites in the 100m.

In the 800m, Olympic silver medallist and reigning World champion Janeth Jepkosgei (1:56:04) is far the fastest entrant. Her strong opponents include Russians Ekaterina Kostetskaya (1:56:67) and Maria Shapaeva (1:57:90).

Lagat vs. Lishchynska in the 1500m

The confrontation on the 1500m should be among the day’s highlights.Olympic champion Nancy Lagat will face Ukraine’s Iryna Lishchynska, who took the silver in Beijing as well as during the World championships. Sub-four runners in the field include Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka (3:59:60) and Lydia Chojecka (3:59:22) of Poland.

Olympic bronze medallist Priscella Lopes-Schliep of Canada is the fastest (12.52) in 100m Hurdles. She will face among others American Danielle Carruthers (12.56) and Lacena Golding-Clarke (12.56) of Jamaica.

The women’s field events on the Hengelo programme are the Pole Vault and Long Jump. Olympic bronze medallist Svetlana Feofanova with a personal best of 4.88m is the favourite in the vault while Olympic champion Maurren Higa Maggi of Brazil, with a personal best of 7.26m, is the class of the field in the Long Jump. In the excellent Long Jump facility in Hengelo she can produce a surprise.  

Wim van Hemert for the IAAF