By Alfonz Juck, EME NEWS news service
ROME (ITA): First this year's European IAAF Diamond League meeting offers plenty of top action at Stadio Olimpico. Wayde van Niekerk runs his first international 400 m, home star Gianmarco Tamberi is in top class high jump and Almaz Ayana will again attack 5000 m World record.
Event by event
100m (non-DL): Will Justin Gatlin break the world-lead of 9.91 after a windy 9.88 in Eugene?
200m: Ameer Webb will be looking for his second DL win of the season after winning in Doha last month.
400m: World champ Wayde Van Niekerk should be unchallenged with LaShawn Merritt and Kirani James both absent. Will he threaten James’ world-lead of 44.08?
1500m: No Asbel Kiprop but Kenyans should still dominate with Silas Kiplagat and Elijah Manangoi in the line-up. World-leader at 800m Nicholas Kipkoech steps up to contest his first 1500m of the year.
3000m steeplechase: Another head-to-head between Conseslus Kipruto and Jairus Birech. Birech has suggested he wants to attempt the WR but has been beaten twice this year.
110m hurdles: Doha runner-up Orlando Ortega starts as the favourite with the top Americans and Jamaicans absent.
High jump: Gianmarco Tamberi performs on home soil for the first time since winning the World Indoor Champs. He faces top level opposition from Mutaz Essa Barshim, Bohdan Bondarenko and Zhang Guowei.
Long jump: Greg Rutherford is unbeaten this year but faces top opposition from world-leader Marquise Goodwin and Rabat DL winner Rushwal Samaai.
Discus: Top three from the World Champs (Malachowski, Milanov, Urbanek) are in action while Robert Harting makes his season’s debut.
100m: Elaine Thompson ran a wind-aided 10.71 last month but English Gardner is the likely favourite after running 10.81 in Eugene.
800m: Will Caster Semenya improve her world-leading mark of 1:56.64? World indoor champion Francine Niyonsaba should be her closest rival again but Semenya is unbeaten in 2016.
5000m: Almaz Ayana ran 14:16.31 in Rabat with limited assistance from the pacemakers. With better pacing, will she challenge Tirunesh Dibaba’s world record of 14:11.15?
400m hurdles: Georganne Moline makes her Diamond League debut after running a 53.97 world-lead. Doha DL winner Eilidh Doyle and Rabat DL winner Janeive Russell also compete.
Triple jump: Expect another head-to-head between Caterine Ibarguen and Yolimar Rojas. Olympic champion Olga Rypakova and three-time European champion Olha Saladukha also in action.
Pole vault: World champion Yarisley Silva is in action but favourites are Nicole Buchler and Ekaterini Stefanidi with Americans Sandi Morris and Jenn Suhr absent.
Shot: Valerie Adams is returning to form but will be tested by in-form Doha winner Tia Brooks.
Javelin: What sort of form will Barbora Spotakova display on her season’s debut? World champ Katharina Molitor, Olympic silver medallist Christina Obergfoll and Rabat DL winner Madara Palameika also compete in a wide open field.