ÅF Golden League Preview: Rome Golden Gala

Rome Golden Gala

Rome Golden Gala

$1 million ÅF Golden League jackpot hunt continues for five athletes.

The ÅF Golden League continues its European tour Friday, arriving at the Golden Gala in Rome, Italy.  Headlining the competition will be head-to-head meetings for sprinting superstars from the United States and Jamaica.  Special attention will be given to the five contenders remaining in the quest of the $1 Million ÅF Golden League Jackpot.

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The Golden Gala will be the 2009 Golden League debut of defending world 100m champion Tyson Gay of the United States.  Gay is wasting no time in getting his hands dirty in Europe as he faces off against former world record holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica.  Gay ran a windy 9.75 at the US championships earlier this year and Powell is looking to improve upon his 9.97 season best from the Jamaican championships.  The women’s race is just as exciting as Jamaicans Kerron Stewart, a Jackpot candidate, and world leader Shelly-Ann Fraser square off against Americans Carmelita Jeter and Muna Lee.  Jeter and Lee finished 1-2 at the US championships last month.

In the men’s 5000m, world record holder Kenenisa Bekele is looking to continue his quest for the Jackpot.  The Ethiopian should feel confident, as this looks to be the weakest of the first three Golden League meetings in Bekele’s disciplines.  A bettor’s choice for the upset may be fellow Ethiopian Ali Abdosh, who is one of only two men to break 13:00 this year.  Also look for a strong charge to the finish from Kenyan Abraham Chebii and Ethiopian Bekana Daba, both of whom finished within two seconds of Bekele at the Berlin meeting in June.

A rematch is on tap for the women’s 1500m, as Ethiopian Gelte Burka and Maryam Jamal of Bahrain will face off for the second time this week.  Burka outsprinted Jamal in Lousanne on Tuesday, 4:00.67 to 4:01.99.  The men’s race will also prove to be a tight affair as world leader Augustine Choge of Kenya (3:29.47) will take on Kenyan Asbel Kiprop and Bahrani star Belal Mansoor Ali.

There are still three other events that feature contenders for the $1 million Jackpot.  Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia looks to continue her winning form in the women’s pole vault, Norwegian star Tero Pitkämäki will be challenged by his Scandinavian rival Andreas Thorkildsen of Finland in the men’s javelin and Sanya Richards could be dethroned by fellow American Allyson Felix in the women’s 400m.

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