Top athletics guns gather for Berlin’s Golden League

Top athletics guns gather for Berlin's Golden League
Will Jeremy Wariner celebrate again? Photo: DPA
Several potential Olympic gold medallists will be lining up at Berlin's Olympic Stadium on Sunday when the IAAF Golden League season gets underway.

With just over two months before the Beijing Olympics gets underway, some of the world’s fastest athletes will be in action in Berlin.

Of those expected to compete in the German capital, Olympic and two-time World 400m champion Jeremy Wariner will be looking to secure his first Golden League win of the season in his quest for his share of the $1-million jackpot.

In 2008, there are ten Golden League disciplines designated to the jackpot and athletes are required to win at all six meetings to acquire at least a share.

US sprinter Wariner has been virtually unstoppable since his Olympic triumph four years ago and took gold at the world championships in Osaka last year with a time of 43.45 seconds to become the third fastest man over the distance.

He brings a nine-race winning streak to Berlin, but will face stiff competition from world leader Lashawn Merritt after the United States sprinter ran 44.34 in Martinique recently.

In the men’s 100 metres, world champion Derrick Atkins will start as favourite having beaten distant cousin Asafa Powell, the world record holder, in Osaka last year.

Another name expected to dazzle in Berlin is Sweden’s Jaysuma Saidy Ndure, who stormed to the sprint forefront with an impressive two days at the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart earlier this year.

A day after lowering his national record to 10.06, the Gambian-born sprinter powered to a 19.89 performance in the 200m.

Others to watch include 2003 World champion Kim Collins from St. Kitts and Nevis, who’s developed a knack for performing well when it matters most.

In the women’s 200 metres, Jamaican Kerron Stewart is tipped for a major breakthrough this season. The 24-year-old Jamaican arrives in Berlin with a pair of career bests under her belt already this year including a 22.35 from early April.

European eyes will be on the continent’s reigning double champion, Belgium’s Kim Gevaert who has been impressive so far this season. She is off to one of her finest ever starts after an 11.05 opener over 100 metres a few weeks ago.

2008 Golden League disciplines

Men: 100m, 400m, 1500m, 400m Hurdles, Long Jump, Javelin

Women: 200m, 800m, 100m Hurdles, High Jump

Athletes are required to win at all six meetings to acquire at least a share of the one-million dollar jackpot.

2008 Golden League dates

Berlin, Germany, Sunday June 1

Oslo, Norway, Friday June 6

Rome, Italy, Friday July 11

Paris, France, Friday July 18

Zurich, Switzerland, Friday August 29

Brussels, Belgium, Friday September 5