World Indoor Record-holder Teddy Tamgho, the exciting young triple jumper who lit up Icahn Stadium last year with one of the best jumps in history, is returning to the adidas Grand Prix on Saturday, organizers announced today. His late-breaking addition to the field means the crowd will be treated to a rematch of the top three jumpers here last year: Tamgho, Phillips Idowu and Christian Olsson. Among them, they have won six World Championship titles.
Fans will also be treated to what is shaping up as the top 100 meters in the world so far this season, with new Jamaican sprint star Steve Mullings challenging American Tyson Gay. Mullings’ victory at Prefontaine last weekend in 9.80 seconds was a sizzling personal best for the 2009 World Championships 4×100-meter relay gold medalist, and sets up a duel for supremacy with Gay, who recorded a world-leading 9.79 on the same day. They hold the two fastest times in the world for 2011.
In its seventh year as one of the premier track-and-field events in the world, the adidas Grand Prix on Saturday is set to feature 17 athletes who rank #1 in the world this season. At Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island, the event is the sixth stop on the international Samsung Diamond League circuit. More than two dozen Olympic and World Champions are among the superstars expected, along with “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius, the 400-meter Paralympic gold medalist hoping to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games. Tickets are available at the event website, www.adidasgrandprix.com, or by calling 1-877-849-8722.
Among those looking to upset the duo of Gay and Mullings are Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeade, who owns the fastest 200-meter time in the world so far this year; American Mike Rodgers, the 2010 World Indoor silver medalist at 60 meters; and 2008 Olympic relay gold medalists Michael Frater and Nesta Carter of Jamaica. Carter and Gay both ran 9.78 in 2010, sharing the top spot on the world list.
But the sprint matchups don’t end with the men. In the women’s 200 meters, three-time World Champion Allyson Felix of the U.S. will face 100-meter Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica. They have plenty of strong competition in American Carmelita Jeter, whose blazing time of 10.70 seconds last weekend is among the top 10 fastest in history. Altogether, five the six top-ranked women in the world for 2010 are in the field. In the women’s 100-meter hurdles it’s another USA-Jamaica rivalry, with reigning World Champion Brigitte Foster-Hylton of Jamaica meeting two-time World Indoor 60-meter Champion Lolo Jones and 2011 world leader Kellie Wells.
With a victory last weekend, Jamaica’s Kenia Sinclair solidified her spot as the world’s top 800-meter runner so far this year. Here, she will step up to the 1500 meters, meeting
Americans Anna Pierce, Morgan Uceny and Shannon Rowbury. Also coming off a big win in Eugene is Abubaker Kaki of Sudan, who brings a world-leading time of 1:43.48 to the men’s 800 meters against reigning World Champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and Khadevis Robinson, the American veteran who staged an upset victory over a top field in Rome late last month.
Posting her own world-leading mark on Sunday was IAAF Female Athlete of the Year Blanka Vlašić of Croatia, with her high jump of 1.97m/6 feet, 5.50 inches. Vlašić, the second-highest jumper in history, will be making her U.S. debut at the adidas Grand Prix.
Not least are Bernard Lagat and Lukas Verzbicas, both coming off 2-mile triumphs at Prefontaine. Lagat ran a smart strategic race to defeat a world-class field in 8:13.62, while Verzbicas broke the national high school record with his 8:29.46 performance. Verzbicas, considered one of the best high school athletes in history, will be headlining the adidas Boys’ High School Dream Mile in New York, going head-to-head with New Jersey’s Edward Cheserek, a local favorite and one of the few athletes to challenge Verzbicas in the past year.
All of the latest news, photos and additional information on the adidas Grand Prix can be found at www.adidasgrandprix.com and the event’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. Use the hashtag #agpnyc when referencing or searching for the event.
The adidas Grand Prix, part of the Visa Championship Series, will begin at 1 p.m. this Saturday, June 11. For the latest Diamond Race standings and other news on the Samsung Diamond League, visit www.diamondleague.com.