Samsung Diamond League Shanghai
Three Olympic champions to shine at Shanghai Diamond League
26 April 2013
Three more Olympic gold medallists and one world champion have been added to the star-studded roster for the 2013 Shanghai Diamond League meeting on 18 May. Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, British long jumper Greg Rutherford, and Ethiopian distance legend Meseret Defar have joined the entry lists for the second meeting in the IAAF's 2013 Diamond League calendar, while world sprint hurdles champion Jason Richardson has been lined up to face Olympic champion and world record holder Aries Merritt.
Fraser-Pryce retained her Olympic 100m crown in London last August and was second over 200m before picking up another Olympic silver for Jamaica in the 4x100m relay. She returns to Shanghai for the first time since 2010 hoping for a winning start to her 2013 campaign when she aims to regain the world 100m title she claimed in 2009.
The 26-year-old became the fourth fastest woman ever when she set a new Caribbean and Central American record of 10.70 seconds at the Jamaican championships last June while she also lowered her 200m best to 22.09 in the London Olympic final. Earlier this year she made a successful start to indoor competition, setting a new 60m personal best of 7.04.
Defar also took her second Olympic title at London 2012 when she regained the 5000m gold she'd won eight years earlier at the Athens Olympic Games. An emotional Defar outsprinted her compatriot and defending champion Tirunesh Dibaba in a dramatic Olympic final to repeated her victory from 2004.
The 29-year-old Ethiopian will defend an unbeaten record in Shanghai having won over 5000m at the meeting in 2005 and 2007. A former world record holder at the distance outdoors, she currently holds world indoor records for 3000m, two miles and 5000m, and she has won five world titles indoors and out during her illustrious career.
Rutherford will be chasing his first world title in Moscow after the 26-year-old Briton enjoyed a dream season in 2012. He broke the British record in early May to top the world lists and went to win Olympic gold on an evening of unprecedented success for the British team at London 2012.
Rutherford leapt 8.31 metres to win the Olympic title during a 45-minute period that also saw victories for Jessica Ennis in the heptathlon and Mo Farah in the 10,000m, ensuring that 4 August 2012 would forever be known as 'Super Saturday' by British fans.
Rutherford, who won a European silver medal in 2006, will compete in Shanghai for the first time as he aims to add a world title to his Olympic crown this summer.
Richardson will also have Moscow on his mind where he will defend the world 110m hurdles title against Merritt, his US team-mate who beat him to Olympic gold in London last August.
The clash between Richardson and Merritt will be one of the highlights of the Shanghai meeting and a chance for both athletes to get an early confidence boost on the road to Moscow. Richardson was third here last year en route to Olympic silver, one place ahead of Merritt in a contest won by Chinese favourite Liu Xiang.
He went on to win the Diamond League race in New York before lowering his personal best to 12.98 seconds at the US Olympic trials. A similar sub-13 time would be a welcome early season performance for the 27-year-old American.
While Richardson joins the Shanghai line-up, another world champion, Yohan Blake, has been forced to withdaw. The man who calls himself 'the beast' has a slight injury and needs to recover fully ahead of his world 100m title defence.
"I am so sorry for Shanghai, but because of a slight injury I will not be able to participate this year," said the Jamaican, who was third at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing. "Everything happens for a reason. The last time I was in your part of the world, I came third in the world juniors.
"I was so looking forward to showing you just how much I have grown and transformed since then. But I guess that will now have to wait until my next opportunity arises."
The 2013 Shanghai Diamond League meeting will include 16 events, nine for men (200m, 400m, 1500m, 110m hurdles, 3000m steeplechase, high jump, long jump, discus throw, javelin throw) and seven for women (100m, 800m, 5000m, 400m hurdles, pole vault , triple jump , shot put).