Berlin – This year's Internationales Stadionfest is once again set to be the world's largest one-day athletics meeting. From noon on Sunday 54,000 people will pour through the gates of the arena and revel at the spectacle of 187 of the planet's best athletes competing in a total of 15 official disciplines. Nine of London's Olympic winners (two of whom are from relay teams), four reigning world champions and six current European champions will be lining up in their respective events. And on the eve of the competition the women's discus will be contested in Wustermark/Elstal, the historic Olympic village of 1936.
Of the athletes attending the ISTAF, 27 women and 37 men have already been in the medals at international meetings. These include 9 gold medals, 7 silver medals and 6 bronze medals earned in London, 4 golds, 5 silvers and 5 bronzes taken at the World Championships in Daegu and 6 golds, 8 silvers and 4 bronzes won at the 2012 European Championships in Helsinki.
Meeting Director Gerhard Janetzky: „We've got another top-drawer field of athletes for the crowd to relish. Aside from the Olympic winners and all eight German medallists from London, the spectators will be treated to some up-and-coming athletes with a great future ahead of them. For the first time in quite a while ARD will be doing two hours of live TV coverage. Images will be beamed to 160 countries. These statistics, too, show that ISTAF and athletics in general are once more making great strides."
ISTAF Managing Director Martin Seeber: „Thanks to the massive support of the Berlin Senate, television publicity and our sponsors, we've managed to muster a budget of 1.8 million euros. We couldn't have predicted that a year ago. The ISTAF brand is as robust as ever and is recognised worldwide. The interest from the general public is another testimony to that. We will be looking for 54,000 spectators, minimum, on Sunday. That will again make the ISTAF the world's biggest one-day meeting in terms of in-the-flesh spectator pulling power."
52,000 admission tickets have already been sold for the event on 2ndSeptember 2012. Tickets are also available on the day, on the door, from 9 euros. For 25 euros a family of four can pick up a group ticket. The box office opens at 10.30, stadium doors open at midday.
The best athletes competing at the 71stInternationales Stadionfest, set out in chronological order:
Javelin (women), start 12.30
Christina Obergföll and Linda Stahl, who won silver and bronze in the javelin in London, throwing 65.16m and 64.91m respectively, will once again be up against two-times Olympic victor and world record holder Barbara Spotakova of the Czech Republic, whose London throw of 69.55m was the best performance of the season so far. Vera Rebryk, the Ukrainian European champion at Helsinki, is also competing, as are the Germans Katharina Molitor andFranziska Krebs.
Shot put (men), start 12.40
In the men's shot put David Storl will meet Polish gold medallist Tomasz Majewski and bronze medallist Reese Hoffaof the USA. Reigning world champion Storl, whose silver in the finals brought Germany its first track-and-field medal in London, only narrowly missed gold, hurling the shot put 21.86m. Majewski, who triumphed in Beijing four years ago, pipped Storl with his third attempt of 21.89m, a paltry three centimetres further than the German.
Hammer (women), start 14.15
The holders of gold, silver and bronze medals are pitted against each other in the women's hammer! Betty Heidler will again be matching her talents against gold medallist Tatyana Lysenko and runner-up Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland. The Russian took first place in London with a throw of 78.18m, Wlodarczyk securing silver with 77.60 metres. Bolstering the German contingent will be the No. 2 in the national ranking, Kathrin Klaas.
Pole vault (men), start 14.40
They came, they soared, they conquered almost completely: Björn Otto(silver) and Raphael Holzdeppe (bronze) fell just short of Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie in the Olympic showdown. Both men cleared 5.91 metres and on Sunday will be pitted against competitors who have already jumped 6 metres or higher - Australian Steve Hooker (Olympic gold medallist 2008, world champion 2009, personal best: 6.06m) and the American Brad Walker (world champion in 2007, personal best: 6.04).
Long jump (men), start 15.00
European champion vs. Olympic victor! Sebastian Bayer, who jumped 8.10m in London, missing out on a medal by only two centimetres, will go head-to-head with gold medallist Greg Rutherford of Great Britain, who cleared 8.31 metres in front of his home crowd. With his jump of 8.34m, Bayer had sailed to his European-champion title only some weeks before.
400 metres hurdles (men), start 15.05
Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic proved to everyone he can make a comeback and beat the best in the world. The two-times Olympic gold medallist (2004, 2012) and world champion in 2003 at the 400m hurdles won in London with a time of 47.63 seconds. Today he will meet the 2012 European champion, the Briton Rhys Williams (personal best: 48.96), and a posse of strong German runners, all with good times under their belts - Georg Fleischhauer (48.72),Silvio Schirrmeister (49.21) and Berlin's local hero Varg Königsmark (49.54).
4x100m international mixed relay, start 15.15
The 4-by-100m international mixed relay is truly a world premier. Two German teams, each made up of two men and two women, will compete against mixed teams representing countries from around the world. Taking part will be relay teams from Jamaica, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Poland.
110 metres hurdles (men), start 15.30
He dominated the event in London and took a well-deserved gold medal: Aries Merritt of the USA broke his own personal best of 12.92 seconds in his field-beating dash and was a mere five hundredths of a second behind the world record set by the Cuban Dayron Robles four years ago. Today three Germans will be vying with the Olympic gold medallist - Alexander John(personal best: 13.35), who was one place off a bronze medal at the European Championships in Helsinki, Matthias Bühler (13.34) andErik Balnuweit (13.43).
Discus (men), start 15.40
Robert Harting, the first Olympic track-and-field gold medallist from Berlin since Ulf Timmermann in 1988, will again be up against the world's best discus throwers, in particular his nemesis Piotr Malachowskiof Poland and Virgilijus Alekna of Lithuania. Sixth-placed Martin Wierig of Magdeburg will also be competing and Markus Münch will be making up the German trio.
800 metres (women), start 15.40
Following the withdrawal of the 2009 world champion and Olympic silver medallist Caster Semenya of South Africa due to injury, Pamela Jelimoof Kenya is the clear favourite over this distance. With her 4thplace in London, the Olympic winner in Beijing narrowly missed a place on the Olympic medal podium. Her best time of 1:54.01 minutes is the most impressive in the line-up and the third quickest ever over this distance. At the ISTAF she will be up against the 7th-placed woman in London, Francine Niyonsabaof Burundi and last year's ISTAF winner, Maggie Vesseyof the USA.
1,500 metres (men), start 15.50
An occasion for another local hero, Carsten Schlangen, to show what he's made of. Runner-up to the European champion in 2010 and a last-minute qualifier for London, he has since set a personal best of 3:33.64 - fast, but not fast enough to worry the African competition. Augustine Choge, the quickest Kenyan in the field, has already clocked under 3:30 with a time of 3:29.43. Other strong contenders are the Kenyans Collins Chebol(3:32.45) and Bethwell Birgen (3:30.00).
100 metres hurdles (women), start 16.05
The Olympic bronze medallist in 2008, Priscilla Lopes-Schliep(personal best 12.49 seconds) from Canada, will especially be looking to beat Queen Harrison (12.51) of the USA and Shermaine Williams(12.78) from Jamaica. Representing Germany will be Cindy Roleder, Nadine Hildebrand and Lilli Schwarzkopf, who took silver in the heptathlon in London.
100 metres (women, final A), start 16.15
The field is dominated by three women, all of who have run under 11 seconds - Jamaicans Kerron Stewart (10.75 seconds) and Sherone Simpson(10.82) and Trinidadian Kelly-Ann Baptiste (10.84). Harrying them will be the American Alexandria Anderson(11.01) and the third-ranked Jamaican Aleen Bailey(11.04).
100 metres (men, final A), start 16:25
All eyes here will be on Jamaican Michael Frater (personal best: 9.88 seconds), who will be following up on his Olympic gold from London, having helped his colleagues Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Nesta Carter to their world record of 36.84 seconds. This is the first time that the 37-second barrier has been broken in the 4-by-100m. Two other single-figure 100-metre sprinters will be in Berlin - Kim Collins (9.98 seconds) from the Caribbean island state of St Kitts and Nevis and the AmericanDarvis Patton (9.89). The German speed merchant Lucas Jakubcyk (10.20) from Berlin is not likely to be in the medals.
3,000 metres steeplechase (women), start 16.35
A premier for the ISTAF: the women's 3,000m steeplechase has never before been a discipline at this Berlin fixture. A German will be at the front of the line-up. Antje Möldner-Schmidt from Potsdam took bronze over the distance at Helsinki and became 7th in the final of London. She will be up against Milcah Chemos of Kenya, who took fourth place in London.
800 metres (men), start 16.50
The motley field is led by a group of young Africans. The Ethiopian Mohamed Amanis just 18 years old but has already beaten the world record holder David Rudisha once. In the final in London Aman ran a personal best of 1:43.20 to take sixth place; at the Daegu World Championships in 2011 he came eighth. Other dangerous contenders are the Briton Michael Rimmer(1:43.89) and Kenyans Leonard Kosencha (1:43.40) and Edwin Kiplagat Melly (1:44.32).
On Saturday 1st September, from 14.30 onwards, the historic Olympic village of 1936 in Wustermark will host the women's discus event. Flying the flag for Germany will be Nadine Müller, Julia Fischer andShanice Craft. They will be competing against Aretha Thurmond of the USA, Natalia Semenova-Fokinafrom Ukraine and the Russian, Daria Pishchalnikova.