Norwegian hurdler Karsten Warholm and Swedish pole-vault sensation Armand Duplantis both threaten to break more records as the Diamond League series heads for Rome today.
Two-time world-champion Warholm, the second fastest 400m hurdler in history with 46.87 seconds, will be hoping to topple a record that has stood for 28 years. Duplantis, 20, broke his own world record in February, first jumping 6.17m in Poland before clearing 6.18 in Scotland the following weekend.
The Golden Gala meet will be held behind closed doors at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico having first been slated for Naples in May before the coronavirus pandemic. Warholm holds the second fastest time in history with the European record of 46.87 clocked in Stockholm last August.
The 24-year-old came within 0.09 seconds of Kevin Young’s long-standing world record of 46.78sec which the American set at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
The Norwegian warmed up with a blistering 47.08 in Berlin last week. “Happy with a win (47.08) and breaking the 40-year old record of the legendary Ed Moses, Rome on Thursday!” Warholm tweeted.
Warholm won consecutive world titles in London 2017 and Doha 2019 and the European gold medal in Berlin 2018, and is unbeaten in the past two years.
He is the only hurdler to boast two times under 47 seconds. In the Italian capital he will be competing against French duo Wilfried Happio and Ludvy Vaillant, Estonian Rasmus Magi and Italian Mario Lambrughi.
Duplantis has maintained his winning streak throughout the outdoor season, with wins in Oslo, Monaco, Stockholm and Lausanne, the latter a season-leading 6.07m, the highest outdoor vault since 1994. The world runner-up and European champion will face French former record holder Renaud Lavillenie and Poland’s Piotr Lisek in the eight-man lineup.
In the men’s 100 metres, South African Akani Simbine is the only competitor to have dipped under the 10-seconds this season.
The 26-year-old clocked 9.91 seconds at the Athletics Gauteng North Championships in Pretoria back in March as he prepared for his Olympic season.
American Michael Rodgers and Italians Filippo Tortu and Marcell Jacobs will also race in Rome. In the women’s 100, Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, who has competed exclusively in Jamaica this season, has registered to compete.
Thompson-Herah, 28, has won twice in Rome in 2016 and 2019, with the field also including Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou, winner two years ago.
European 1,500m champion Laura Muir, 2016 world indoor high jump champion Gianmarco Tamberi and Italian shot putter Leonardo Fabbri will also be in action on Thursday.
Muir will be making her first appearance over 800m where she will duel with fellow Scot Jemma Reekie. There will be a high jump clash between Ukrainian world silver medallists Yaroslava Mahuchikh and Yuliya Levchenko.
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