News - 16.05.2013

Rome: 38 Olympic medallists added to Golden Gala line-up

Olympic champions Allyson Felix, Brittney Reese and Christian Taylor are just some of the latest athletes to commit to Rome’s Golden Gala on 6 June, the fifth leg of the IAAF Diamond League.

Sixty years after its inauguration in May 1953, the Rome Olympic Stadium, which played host to the biggest international athletics events (the 1960 Olympic Games, the 1974 European Championships, the 1981 World Cup and the 1987 World Championships), will be again the venue for the traditional Golden Gala. It will be the 33nd edition of the Rome International meeting, the fifth leg of the IAAF Diamond League, the circuit which reunites the 14 best athletics meetingsin the world. The Golden Gala is organized for the fourth consecutive year by the Italian Athletics Federation and the coni Servizi. The meeting was officially presented today at the Olympic Stadium. The press conference was opened by the FIDAL President Alfio Giomi. “The Golden Gala is a jewel and we are committed to make even more brilliant thanks to partnership between the FIDAL and the CONI Servizi. Despite the difficult period our country is going through, I don’t like to complain because our Federation is a jewel of our National Sport. The Golden Gala shows that it is possible to organize big sport events because they are founded on the strength of a great sport organization. Our focus goes to the school world, not only as a mean to search for athletes but also because most of our coaches come from here. We have to enhance the importance of school also because we are at a turning point. Our Sport Minister Josefa Idem wants that Sport is writer with the capital letter S. She comes from our world and we clearly notice that she speaks our own language”, said Giomi.
“For the Italian Olympic Committee it is our duty to support the Athletics Federation for such a prestigious event like the Golden Gala. We are pleased that there are so many Italian athletes competing at the Olympic Stadium on 6th June because it means to offer them a showcase to grow more and show that our athletes are among the athletics royal family”, said Giorgio Scarso, the Vice President of the Italian Olympic Committee. “We are getting through a period of change. Changes often produce extrahordinary effects. I congratulate with the FIDAL President Giomi as he is working well and above all he is making it known”, said Luciano Buonfiglio, the President of the Italian Canoe and Kayak Federation.

The starting list: 38 olympic medallists and 36 World medallists
The Golden Gala, which celebrated its first edition in 1980 thanks to the initiative of Primo Nebiolo who created a meeting which reunited the Moscow Olympic champions and the athletes who were absent from the Games because of the boycott grabbing the headlines all over the world, will be dedicated to the memory of Pietro Mennea, outstanding star of Italian sport and of the first ediion of the first edition of the meeting. To honour the memory of Mennea, who passed away some weeks ago, many of the present athletics top stars will compete in Rome. The headliner will be Jamaican legend Usain Bolt, the symbol of athletics and Olympic champion in the 100 m, 200m and the 4x100 relay in Bejing 2008 and London 2012, five-time World champion (100, 200 and 4x100 in Berlin 2009 and 200m and 4x100 relay in Daegu 2011) and World record holder in the 100 m, the 200m and the 4x100. Bolt will face US sprinter Justin Gatlin, Olympic bronze medallist in London 2012.  All the names of the stars who will compete in Rome on 6th June, have been unveiled at today’s press conference. The meeting is expected to be one of the ever editions. “The Golden Gala is the pinnacle of an intense week of athletics events in Rome which also features the Student Games at the Farnesina (5th-6th June) and the Golden Group final of the Italian Youth Club Championships (8th- 9th June) - said Meeting Director Luigi D’Onofrio - The meeting will be traditionally opened by the youth relays of the Palio dei Comuni, which was originally opened to the towns from the Lazio Region but now involves other towns from all parts of Italy. The meeting will continue with a series of Junior competitions, sandwiched by a women’s 100 m paralympic race. Then the official program of the meeting will start wit the 16 Diamond League events and two non DL events. The meeting is expected to be of the highest level. On 6th June the Golden Gala will feature 38 London Olympic medallists and 36 Daegu World medallists. I am happy to announce that at the moment twenty Italian athletes will take part in the Golden Gala. Three top Italian athletes Veronica Borsi, Marzia Caravelli and Micol Cattaneo will line up in the 100 m hurdles race which unfortunately does not feature Olympic champion Sally Pearson due to injury."

“After the fantastic experience of last year, I want to continue my improvement”, said Italian record holder Marzia Caravelli. “Despite the injury I sustained in London I am happy with my experience at the Olympic Games because I did my best in every moment. This is what every athlete should do. I stopped my working activities and I can train full time. I have been living in Rome for many years. I train twice a day at the Farnesina athletics track. I often train at the Acqua Acetosa. It’s vey special to compete at the Golden Gala”. “The rivalry between me, Marzia Caravelli and Micol Cattaneo has contributed to increase the level of Italian sprint hurdles. At the Golden Gala we will step on the track to face the best hurdles specialists in the world. For me it’s fantastic, as I love competition”, said Veronica Borsi.

Italian athletics will be led by Olympic triple jump bronze medallist Fabrizio Donato who will take on London Olympic champion Christian Taylor and European Indoor champion and National teammate Daniele Greco. “At my age I don’t step on the runway just to take part in the competition. It would be a disappointment not to be able to compete. The Olympic Stadium is my home. Taking part in this meeting in front of home crowd gives me extra motivation to be competitive. I feel quite well at the moment. I missed about twenty days of training because of a problem on my triceps muscle and I could not jump for a while. I did a lot of alternative training. It’s three week to the Golden Gala and I am not able to confirm if I will take part in the meeting but I will do my best. Olympic champion Christian Taylor will compete in Rome but I beat him one in the Diamond League. To compete against a young and strong rival like Daniele Greco always gives me a great motivation. We are friends. He is a very strong athlete but nobody likes losing".

In the women’s high jump young rising star Alessia Trost, reigning World Junior champion last year and fourth at the European Indoor Championships after jumping 2.00 m for the first time, will face a star-studded field which features Russian jumpers Anna Chicherova, Irina Gordeeva and Svetlana Shkolina, Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic, Sweden’s Emma Green on the runway where Bulgarian Stefka Kostadinova set the still-standing world record clearing 2.09 in 1987. The other stand-out names are French pole vault Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie, 200 m Olympic champion Allyson Felix, 110 m hurdler Sergey Shubenkov from Russia, Portorico’s 400 m hurdler Javier Culson, Lashawn Merritt in the men’s 400 m, Amantle Montsho in the women’s 400 m, Abeba Aregawi in the women’s 1500 m, Brittney Reese in the women’s long jump and Sandra Perkovic in the women’s discus throw.

THE LOGO OF MENNEA ON THE NATIONAL TEAM VEST FOR MOSCOW
The logo dedicated to Pietro Mennea which will be worn by all Italian athletes during the Moscow World Championships (10th- 18th August) was unveiled at today’s press conference. The image made by designer Luca Leonardi imprints the name of Mennea and reunites the idea of the blue arrow to the 200 m curve, the event where he set the world record with 19.72 in Mexico City in 1979 and he won the Olympic gold medal in Moscow 1980, feats which have made him a levnd who will live forever.

THE PARTNERS - The Fidal and the Coni Servizi chose first-class partners. The partnership with ASICS, BMW Rome and ATAC were announced during the press conference. The ASICS will not only support the Golden Gala but also announced that it renews its partnership with the FIDAL as technical sponsor of the National athletics team. “Our partnership with the Italian Athletics Federation has lasted since 1984. We are particularly happy with this partnership”, said Luca Bacherotti, Managing Director of Asics Italia, who has signed up a deal with the FIDAL for the four-year term between 2013 and 2016. “To provide high-tech material is our way to improve the performances and support our champions”
BMW Roma chose to support the Golden Gala for the first time linking the international strength of its brand to the high-quality of the Rome athletics meeting. “The Rome branch of the BMW group will launch a BMW i8 Concept Spider which will make its debut on 6th June on the Olympic Stadium track. This car model is a hybrid car which combines the electrical engine with the fuel engine. With the launch of BMW i8 Concept Server we want to create a new concept of mobility, as happened last year at the London Olympic Games”, said Massimiliano De Silvestre, Managing Director of BMW Roma. The ATAC, the big Rome transport company, has announced a series of initiatives which range from the promotion to ticketing, to initiatives like the transport of hundreds of students to the Olympic Stadium on the evening of the meeting. “Our relationship to the Golden Gala does not involve only the promotion of the meeting. We want the logistical partner of the meeting. We all know how important the public transport is for the success of such important events and for this reason our support takes up an important strategic value”, said Roberto Diacetti, Managing Director of ATAC spa
Ferrero will renew its traditional support for the Youth Student Games with its brand Kinder +Sport. The media partners will be the Corriere dello Sport Stadio, the Messaggero and Radio

The Golden Gala with Libera - Libera will come into action with the Golden Gala against every form of Racism. During the Opening Ceremony of the Palio dei Comuni the relay teams, in which hundreds of young athletes from all parts of Italy take part, will be given special batons. The young athletes will exchange a baton carved with the wood used for the boats which land to Lampedusa and are used by migrants coming from Africa to Europe. Two teams one from Palermo and one from Lampedusa will take take part in the Palio dei Comuni to support the initiative “Libera la Natura”, a cross country race organized with the goods confiscated to the mafia.

ENTRY LISTS (as at 16.05.2013)

TICKETS | GOLDEN GALA PASS

Follow us on Facebook - Twitter (@goldengala_roma)