It will be 12 seconds during which no fan will will be able to remain in their seat. It will be impossible with two medalists of the last World Championships in the starting blocks of the Polish Diamond League meeting in the 100 metres hurdles race. The field will include Tobi Amusan, arguably the greatest current star of the event. It was she who broke the world record in Eugene, only to go faster still later the same day.
The Nigerian was unlucky in the World Championships final, as her phenomenal performance could not have been recognised as another World record due to the wind being over the limit. On 16 July that should not be an issue.
– This is the perfect place to run fast. It is not just the track that is conducive to great performances, but the stands as well. They reach high up on all sides, surrounding the competition arena, which protects it from significant air movements. If you are in shape, this is a great location for setting PB’s – Jasmine Camacho-Quinn stated at the Silesia Kamila Skolimowska Memorial last year. The Olympic champion from Tokyo and bronze medalist from the historic race in Oregon is coming back to Silesia this year. The Puerto Rican brought good memories from here last summer. In the inaugural test edition of the Diamond League in Poland she won in 12.34, setting a meeting record.
Camacho-Quinn is capable of doing better still. She is a hurdling prodigy, however, she is competing in a hugely competitive era for her event.
Amusan came to the forefront somewhat unexpectedly. Suffice to say that when she set her world record of 12.12, her Instagram account was followed by fewer than 300 people. The number is now close to 300 thousand. That is no surprise after the 26-year old went from being an African Championships and Commonwealth Games medalist to the very top of the world. Even when she had finished fourth in the previous two major global finals, the attention of the media understandably focused on the medalists. In Eugene the girl who was once forbidden by her father to participate in sports proved him wrong.
– My mom saw the talent in me and was hiding the fact I was training from my dad. When he found out about my passion one day, he burned all my training equipment and told mom that was the last time he would see me in the stadium – she confessed years later. Thanks to her persistence and steadfastness, she became the pride of her nation. At the Skolimowska Memorial she will be one of the top stars of this year’s edition.
The third major name in the race will be Kendra Harrison, the second-fastest woman of all time over 100 metres hurdles. It was her world record that was broken by Amusan last year.
The event in the Silesian Stadium will be one of the finał tests before the World Championships in Budapest. On 16 July the global elite should thus present themselves to the Polish audience in their best shape. The arrival of the hurdles stars is made possible by the fact the top athletes look for top-quality competitions at this time of the season, trying to gauge their form against chief rivals. The same is true of another of the newly announced headliners, Grant Holloway, winner of the last two editions of the World Championships. The American is aiming for a hat-trick in Hungary and arriving in Europe in July is part of his preparation for that goal. Holloway is even more keen on chasing Aries Merritt’s world record, which has stood at 12.80 for the last 11 years. The runner, who is the same age as Amusan, missed the mark by just one-hundredth of a second two years ago. Last year he made up for it somewhat by setting a world record at the indoor distance of 60 metres hurdles with 7.29.
One of Holloway’s rivals will be Jakub Szymański, a rising star of the Polish team, as evidenced by the bronze medal he took at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul. Participation in a major meeting is an honour in itself for the 21-year old. He will be part of the Polish elite, lining up in the Silesian Stadium alongside names such as Natalia Kaczmarek, Ewa Swoboda, Paweł Fajdek, Wojciech Nowicki and Piotr Lisek.
The Silesia Kamila Skolimowska Memorial Diamond League organisers had earlier announced the participation of the great Armand Duplantis in the pole vault, Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the 1500m, as well as Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi in the high jump.
– The quality of the fields, including the hurdlers’ names announced now, is historic in itself. I can assure you this is just the beginning and we will have more great news to share with you soon, This summer, we aspire to organise the best athletics competition in Polish modern history. We also dream of moving the „Kama” Memorial to the very top. The prematurely deceased champion, our friend, deserves to be honoured in that way – stated Piotr Małachowski, the meeting’s sports director.