Robert Harting in the discus at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Berlin, Germany

Seven individual Olympic champions on parade in Berlin, crowd of 50,000 expected - PREVIEW

More than 50,000 spectators are expected in Berlin's historic Olympic Stadium for Sunday's 71st edition of the ISTAF, an IAAF World Challenge Meeting.

All eight German medal winners of the Olympic Games in London will competing in events that are most likely to produced the major highlights. In all, nine Olympic champions will compete. If there is a standout athlete at the ISTAF then it must be local hero Robert Harting, who took the Discus gold in London a few weeks ago. The men’s Shot Put, the women’s Javelin and the women’s Hammer Throw will each feature all three Olympic medallists.

"We will once more present a high-class field to our spectators," said Meeting Director Gerhard Janetzky, who pointed out that the ISTAF will be broadcasted on TV to 160 nations.

Men’s Events: Majewski vs Storl vs Hoffa in the Shot Put

Spectators will see a rematch of the Olympic medal winners in the Shot Put. In London Poland’s Tomasz Majewski had just edged out David Storl in a thrilling contest for the gold medal. While Majewski defended his Olympic crown the 22-year-old German was not disappointed at all, celebrating his silver medal. Reese Hoffa of the U.S, who was third in London, will be eager to upset the pair in Berlin.

There will be another Germany versus Poland duel in the Discus Throw. Here of course Berlin’s Harting can be sure of getting extraordinary support when he returns to the Olympic Stadium as the gold medallist from London. While there will be a home advantage for Harting he will still face tough opposition. Piotr Malachowski had to be content with fifth place in London, but in the past has often been the one closest to Harting – or even better as in the 2010 European Championships, when the Pole took the gold. With Virgilijus Alekna (Lithuania) a two-time Olympic champion (2000 and 2004) will compete in Berlin. He was fourth in London.

Both hurdling events will also feature the Olympic champions from London: Aries Merritt (USA) will be the big favourite in the 110m Hurdles while the same applies to Felix Sanchez (Dominican Republic) in the 400m Hurdles.

Spectators will hope for an upset in the Long Jump. Here Britain’s Greg Rutherfold, who snatched the gold medal in London, is up against Sebastian Bayer. The German won the European title in Helsinki earlier this summer and is the European indoor record holder with 8.71m. However there is also South Africa’s Godfrey Mokoena to be watched.

The sixth Olympic gold medal winner in the men’s event will compete in the 100m. Here Jamaica’s Michael Frater, who belonged to the 4x100 m relay team in London, may look for a sub-10 seconds time on the fast Berlin track. Among his rivals will be the former 100m World Champion Kim Collins (St. Kitts and Nevis) as well as Darvis Patton (USA).

Spectators in the Olympic Stadium will also look forward to the men’s Pole Vault, where Björn Otto and Raphael Holzdeppe had taken silver and bronze in London. They will be up against Steve Hooker (Australia) and Brad Walker (USA) on Sunday.

Women’s events: Hammer Throw could produce great results

When she returns to Berlin Betty Heidler can always be sure of a great welcome. Born and raised in the German capital she lives and trains in Frankfurt. In the Hammer Throw all three medal winners from London will be present: Olympic Champion Tatyana Lysenko (Russia), Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland) and Betty Heidler, who took the bronze medal. Germany’s second world-class Hammer Thrower, Kathrin Klaas, will also compete. The Hammer Throw could produce some great results on Sunday afternoon.

All three London medal winners will also compete in the Javelin Throw. Germans Christina Obergföll and Linda Stahl, who had taken silver and bronze, will try to challenge Barbora Spotakova (Czech Republic) once again.

Completing the set of Olympic champions in the Olympic Stadium is Bianca Knight (USA), a member of the World record-setting 4x100m Relay team in London. In the 100m she'll have a tough field to beat. Among them are Jamaicans Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson, who both won silver in the 4x100m in London. But probably the one to beat is Kelly-Ann Baptiste (Trinidad and Tobago), who despite a false start disqualification in Zurich, has had a fine season and was sixth in the Olympic 100 m final.

Elsewhere on the track Kenyan Pamela Jelimo will be the big favourite in the 800m.

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF