ROME, Italy (Sporting Alert) — World leader and in-form sprinter Justin Gatlin is back in action on Thursday at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome – Golden Gala – Pietro Mennea – racing in the men’s 100m dash.
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Gatlin, who leads the world with a flashing 9.87 seconds, is coming off a fast wind-aided 9.76(2.7m/s) clocking at Saturday’s Prefontaine IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene and he will start as the hot favourite to add to his streak so far this season.
Set to battle with Gatlin are Jamaicans Nesta Carter and Kemar Bailey-Cole, Great Britain’s Adam Gemili, Kim Collins and South Africa’s Simon Magakwe, who recently flashed to a quick 9.98seconds personal best.
The women’s race will see World and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce leading the way.
The Jamaican star sprinter bounced back from a leg problem on Saturday, where she finished last in the 200m in Eugene, with a 100m win in Bellinzona on Tuesday and she said she’s ready for a better performance in Rome.
Countrywomen Kerron Stewart and Simone Facey, Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast and American Tori Bowie, who surprised everyone to win the 200m at Prefontaine are also down to race against Fraser-Pryce.
World champion Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia and Botswana’s Nijel Amos, the 2012 London Olympic silver medalist, who defeated him in Eugene at the weekend, are set for another men’s 800m battle, while American Brenda Martinez is amongst the starters in the women’s event.
Elsewhere, Sally Pearson of Australia, Americans Brianna Rollins and Dawn Harper-Nelson and Britain’s Tiffany Porter highlight a very strong and talented women’s 100m hurdles field.
“I’m excited for the competition because this is my first Diamond League ever, so I’m looking forward to that,” Rollins, the reigning world champion from last year said. “I’m also looking forward to running against Sally, in fact all the other hurdlers. We should have a really good competition.”
Also down to compete at the Rome Diamond League meeting are New Zeland star thrower Valerie Adams (Shot Put), Jamaican Kaliese Spencer (400m hurdles), in addition to a star-studded men’s high jump field that included Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko, Russia’s Ivan Ukhov and Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim.
The Rome meeting is fourth meeting of the 2014 season of the IAAF Diamond League.