ROME, Italy – American sprinter English Gardner will try to build on her recent good form over the 100 metres when she takes on Jamaican Elaine Thompson in the event at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome on Thursday night (2).
Gardner flashed to a dominating 10.81 seconds to win the women’s 100m at the Prefontaine Classic last Saturday and the 24-year-old, who is the second fastest in the world this year behind compatriot Tori Bowie’s 10.80 world-lead, will head to Roma buzzing with confidence, as she seeks to land back-to-back win in this year’s Diamond League series.
However, the USA star sprinter will perhaps need to go through Jamaica’s world 200m silver medallist Elaine Thompson to collect another 10 points.
The pair met already this season at the Jamaica International Invitational in Kingston, on 7 May, with Thompson dominating the wind-assisted battle 10.71 to 10.85.
Despite her brilliant run in Eugene, Ore., at the weekend, Gardner will still start second favourite behind Thompson, even though the 23-year-old hasn’t broken 11-seconds as yet with legal wind this season.
Her quickest with a wind legal reading this term is 11.02 secs.
Also listed in the women’s 100m is IAAF World Indoor 60m champion Barbara Pierre of USA, Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Michelle-Lee Ahye and Great Britain’s Desiree Henry.
In the men’s 100m, Justin Gatlin will be hunting his 5th individual win in all competition this season, and has his eyes well set on lowering Femi Ogunode’s current world-leading mark of 9.91 seconds.
The American who set a meeting record of 9.75 secs when winning last year, is coming off a wind-aided 9.88 seconds winning performance at the Prefontaine Classic.
Thursday’s race is not a Diamond League scoring event, but Gatlin, the IAAF World Championships double silver medallist from Beijing 2015, will look for one more win to break the Golden Gala record of four, according to an IAAF report.
The current mark is held by another American sprinter and former world-record holder, Maurice Greene.
Down to test Gatlin in this year’s race are Qatar’s Ogunode and South Africa’s Akani Simbine, who have both dipped under 10-seconds already this season.
Jimmy Vicaut of France, USA Ameer Webb and Chijindu Ujah of Great Britain are also listed to compete.
In the longer distance, world-leader Caster Semenya of South Africa will go in search of her third IAAF Diamond League 800m win for the campaign.
The 2009 IAAF World Championships champion owns a 2016 world best of 1:56.64.