6th June 2013

Rome Preview

The first European fixture of the IAAF Diamond League season kicks off at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome this evening, where the conditions look set to be favourable. Usain Bolt is the jewel in the crown of the regal themed meeting, which hosts a number of mouth-watering head to heads.

Bolt will be looking to make up for a slightly lacklustre performance in the Cayman Island’s back in May, where he took a narrow victory in 10.09. His biggest threat this evening is likely to be American Justin Gatlin, who has already clocked 9.91 this season.

World Champion Dai Greene (coach: Malcolm Arnold) opens his season against a strong 400m hurdles field. He runs in lane 5, with Olympic bronze medallist Javier Culson on his inside, and the fastest man in the world this year, Jonny Dutch on his outside.

World silver medallist Hannah England (Bud Baldaro) lines up alongside former Commonwealth champion Lisa Dobriskey (Ricky Soos) in the women’s 1500, another event which boasts an extremely strong field. Abeba Aregawi of Sweden and Faith Kipyegon of Kenya are the fastest two women in the world this year having both clocked 3:56 in Doha, and they will start as favourites.

Eilish McColgan (Liz McColgan) will be looking to secure the IAAF World Championship A standard of 9:43.00 in the women’s 3000m steeplechase. McColgan ran her first steeplechase of the season in New York two weeks ago, just missing out on the qualifying time as she clocked 9:45 in difficult conditions.

Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) goes into the Rome leg of the IAAF Diamond League lying in third place in the Diamond Race, after sixth and second place finishes respectively in Doha and New York. She takes on the Olympic champion Brittney Reese, who set a world lead and personal best in Doha with a jump of 7.25m. Reese is the stand out name in a field containing no fewer than five athletes with personal bests in excess of seven metres.

Steve Lewis (Dan Pfaff) takes on a world-class pole vault field containing all three London Olympic medallists, whilst Phillips Idowu (Femi Akinsanya) takes on a triple jump line-up which includes Christian Taylor and Teddy Tamgho.

Other highlights include a head-to-head between Blanka Vlasic and Anna Chicherova in the women’s high jump, whilst Amantle Montsho will look to make it three wins out of three in this years’ Diamond Race.

Live coverage can be found on BBC 3 this evening (Thursday 6 June) starting at 7pm.