Adam Nelson hands aloft after 2002 US champs win (© Allsport) © Copyright
Preview Zagreb, Croatia

Adam Nelson to compete in Zagreb

The starting line ups for the hurdles and jumping events are particularly strong for tomorrow night's IAAF GPII meet in Zagreb, the highlight of the evening could well be the men's shot.

USA's Adam Nelson the world and Olympic silver medallist who has thrown a world leading 22.51m this season, established - along with compatriots John Godina and Kevin Toth - the shot as the premier event in the USA this year. Now Nelson has brought his show across 'the pond' to Zagreb.

As well as another American Andy Bloom, the shot put will also include European indoor champion Manuel Martinez, Italian Paolo Dal Soglio, Finland's Ville Tiisanoja and Slovakia's Milan Haborak.

The 110m hurdles Boris Hanžeković Memorial Race will be provide another showdown for many of the world's best hurdlers. The entry list includes world record holder Colin Jackson, world champion Allen Johnson, Larry Wade, Terence Trammell, Shaun Bownes, Stanislav Olijars and Duane Ross.

However, it will be no surprise if none of these athletes stand on the top rung of the podium in Zagreb because also included is China's Liu Xiang, who won the B final in Lausanne, setting the new world junior record in 13.12. Liu did not run in Paris and has been preparing particularly for Zagreb which is blessed with a fast track on which Mark Crear set the meeting record of 12.98 in 1999.

The main favourite for the women's 100m hurdles race will be the current world champion Anjannete Kirkland, and judging by what we saw in Paris - second to Devers in 12.63 - she will challenge the meeting record (12.60), set by Sydney Olympic champion Olga Shishigina two years ago. Two other Americans, Daniella Carruthers and Melissa Morrison will join Kirkland in the race.

The men's sprints will also be interesting - we shall see USA's Bernard Williams who was second with 10.03 in Paris on Friday, two-time winner of the Lausanne Meeting Francis Obikwelu, Britain's Sydney Olympic 200m silver medallist Darren Campbell, the world's fastest man over 200m in 2001 J.J.Johnson, Japan's Nobuharu Asahara and Aziz Zakhari from Ghana.

Trying to create the strongest possible competition for the Croatian long jump record holder Sinisa Ergotic (8.23), the meeting organizers have assembled an impressive array of jumpers to Zagreb.

The start list will be headed the world silver medallist and currently the world season's best jumper (8.52) USA's Savante Stringfellow. We shall also see Jamaica's James Beckford - whose meeting record (8.34) will probably be challenged on Monday - as well as the world silver and bronze medalists from Seville in 1999, Yago Lamela and Gregor Cankar.

Young Croatian stars Ivana Brkljacic and Blanka Vlasic, world junior hammer throw and high jump champions, have aroused the greatest local interest in Zagreb.

Brkljacic will have to compete against Poland's Olympic champion Kamila Skolimowska and a number of other 70 m throwers, such as Australia's Bronwyn Eagles and Manuela Montebrun from France. Ivana's hammer will have to fly towards the Croatian record (68.18) to stand a chance of victory. 

By taking fourth place at the Golden League in Paris with 193 cm, Blanka Vlasic definitely jumped into the world's high jumping elite. Joining this local talent will be Sweden's inform Kajsa Bergqvist, who cleared 204 cm in Lausanne and presently seems invincible. Zagreb has also attracted world champion Hestrie Cloete, and so Inga Babakova's meeting record (2.00) will be seriously challenged on Monday.

Jolanda Ceplak, world indoor 800m record holder, will also participate at the meeting, and will run in the 1500m and has predicted a time of around 4:00.00.

Marin Sarec for the IAAF