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UK Athletics

next stop, rome golden gala

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Tiffany Porter
4 June 2014

The 2014 Diamond League has finally made its way to Europe this morning with the fourth meet of the year, the Rome Golden Gala, taking place at the Stadio Olimpico tomorrow evening.

At the event press conference today, all eyes were on a head to head between Sally Pearson, who took gold at London 2012 and 2013 IAAF World Champion Brianna Rollins. The two were both excited about their early season clash, with the good weather making conditions perfect for some fast times.

However looking to gate-crash the party will be Great Britain & Northern Ireland’s IAAF World Championship bronze medallist Tiffany Porter (coach: Rana Reider) who comes into the meet third fastest on paper this year behind the aforementioned duo.

On her goals for her first Diamond League of 2014, Porter said:

“In my last meet I ran 12.65 so I’m looking to improve on that, as that’s always nice; I just want to continue to get better and better with every meet. I look to every competition to win and to compete against the best ladies, so tomorrow won’t be any different and hopefully I can put on a really good show for everybody.”

Although not part of the Diamond race in Rome, the men’s 100m is always in the spotlight, especially with the presence of Justin Gatlin, the fastest man in the world this year with a 9.87 clocking at the last Diamond League meeting in Eugene last weekend.

Gatlin is unlikely to have it all his own way though, with GB & NI’s IAAF World Indoor 60m Champion Richard Kilty (Reider) and IAAF World Championship 200m fifth placer Adam Gemili (Steve Fudge) in the field. For Gemili, the race comes just five days after running 10.08 at Bedford, so with the good conditions which are expected, that magical ten second barrier may well come under threat.

On whether a sub ten second clocking is now in his sights, Gemili commented:

“I think it’s been in my sights for a while but you don’t want to look specifically at times. If you go out to a meet and try and run a certain time and you don’t run it, then you’ll come away quite disappointed. So I’m just looking to go out there and execute my race; I want to start well and finish strongly.”

Preparations are slightly different for Kilty, who comes into the race not long after returning from the British Athletics warm weather training camp in Florida. Whilst out in the USA Kilty ran 10.12, which is just two hundredths outside his personal best. The ‘Teeside Tornado’ as he is known by his fans will be looking to revise that in the first Diamond League 100m race of his career.

From a British point of view there will also be a London 2012 rematch, with both Jo Pavey (Gavin Pavey) and Julia Bleasdale both returning to the track after a year off. Pavey has shown excellent domestic form, convincingly winning the British 10,000m Championships last month, before backing it up with a 15.11 5000m clocking just a week later. Now 40 years old, it will be interesting to see how close she can get to her 14.39 personal best when she takes on a world class field tomorrow evening.

Bleasdale, who was one place behind Pavey over both 5,000m & 10,000m at London 2012 with a pair of eighth place finishes, will be looking to recapture that form. Her 15.02 personal best, set at the Olympics two years ago, could well come under threat after a good start to the season.

Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold) lines up in the women’s 400mH ranked fourth fastest on paper, with Jamaican Kaliese Spencer the stand out favourite. Child was third at the opening Diamond League in Doha, picking up one point, which she’ll be looking to add to in the Olympic stadium tomorrow.

Elsewhere both Nigel Levine (Linford Christie) and Conrad Williams (Christie) go over 400m, with Brett Morse (Andy Brittan) competing in a men’s discus, which contains the top eight from the IAAF World Championship final in Moscow last year.

Live coverage of the Rome Diamond League can be seen on BBC3 from 19:00 - 21:00 on Thursday 5 June, as well as online at http://www.bbc.com/sport/.

You can also follow British Athletics on twitter (@BritAthletics) for a blow by blow account, with interviews with the leading athletes available at British Athletics TV.