Six world champions, freshly crowned from Beijing, will be gracing Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday in the annual ISTAF track-and-field meet.
Germany’s shot-put world champions Christina Schwanitz and javelin queen Katharina Molitor will be crowd favourites in their respective events having both won gold medals at last week’s world athletics championships in Beijing.
Poland’s hammer world champion Anita Wlodarczyk and men’s discus gold medallist Piotr Malachowski are favourites in their events while women’s 800m Beijing winner Marina Arzamasova will also be in action.
France’s world record holder Renauld Lavillenie, who won joint bronze in Beijing, will be battling Canada’s Shawnacy Barber in the men’s pole vault in a very strong field.
Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe, who took silver behind Barber, will also be in the mix along with Polish pair Piotr Lisek and Pawel Wojciechowski, who shared bronze with Lavillenie in Beijing.
“My main goal is to come through the competition in a healthy state. It’s always a bit tricky at the end of a long season,” Holzdeppe told German broadcaster ZDF.
“It’s a big meeting in Germany and it’s missing on my CV, so it would be nice to win it this year.”
A 60,000-strong crowd is expected for the one-day event, which is in its 74th year.
Organisers regret the absence of reigning Olympic champion and 2013 world champion Robert Harting, who has won the event five times in a row, but sits out the discus competition after a knee injury to focus on defending his title in Rio next year.
“I’m very sorry for Robert Harting that he won’t be there,” said meeting director Martin Seeber,” but I’m sure our audience will see some world-class action again.”