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Top Races to Watch at Ostrava Golden Spike

Published by
RunnerSpace.com/Pro   on Jun 16 2014, 05:45 PM

World Record Attempts on Tap in Czech Republic

By Scott Bush

After Saturay's action at the adidas Grand Prix, the Diamond League is on hiatus until July 3, but top-tier international track and field action isn't ready to rest. Tuesday at the Ostrava Golden Spike meeting, superstars Mohamed Aman and Genzebe Dibaba take their shots at world records, Justin Gatlin looks to build on his undefeated season, Ashton Eaton challenges himself over the 400m hurdles once again and so much more.

Here are some of the top races to keep an eye on.

Who's the Best 110m Hurdler in the World?

With Aries Merritt (USA) still struggling to stay healthy and David Oliver's (USA) plateau in the early part of the season, Tuesday's men's 110m hurdles is a clash between arguably the top three hurdlers in the world this season. This means some serious bragging rights are on the line. 

Leading the way is Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (FRA), who big at both the Pre Classic and Bislett Games, putting up impressive marks of 13.13 and 13.12, the top two times in the world this season. Martinot-Lagarde has to be considered the best hurdler in the world at this point in the season. Besting two world-class, Diamond League fields and edging near the 13 second barrier puts him in a very select class.

His chief rival this season, thus far, is Hansle Parchment (JAM). Parchment finished .07 behind Martinot-Lagarde at Pre, running a runner-up time of 13.20. Parchment holds a seasonal best of 13.14, set at the Drake Relays back in April, where he edged Oliver and Ryan Wilson (USA). 

Xie Wenjun (CHN) is on a rol this season, too. He's the third member of the superstar field and enters with big-time wins in Shanghai and Beijing. He holds a season best of 13.23, which is still a ways off Martinot-Lagarde's and Parchment's seasonal bests, but winning is what matters and he's done plenty of that. 

Who's the best 110m hurdler in the world in the first part of 2014 is about to be answered.

Dibaba Eyes 20 Year Old 2,000m Record

After setting indoor world records in the 1,500m and 3,000m, Genzebe Dibaba (ETH) is ready to attack another world record. In a race set up just for her, with an eye on the 2,000m mark of 5:25.36 set by Sonia O'Sullivan back in 1994, Dibaba seems ready to put her stamp on the outdoor record books. With a handful of fellow Ethiopians in the field and no serious competition, Tuesday's race is more of a race against the clock. It's always fun seeing old records fall.

Aman Set to Blaze Over 1,000m

In 1999, Kenya's Noah Ngeny was a man on a mission. As one of the world's best, if not the best, 800m runner, Ngeny set the current 1,000m world record of 2:11.96. 15 years later, reigning 800m world champion Mohamed Aman (ETH) is ready to go after the mark. Aman is on a roll this season, owning three of the top seven 800m times in the world, while picking up big wins in Doha and Rome. With even rabbiting and a strong field chasing him, Aman is set up well to go after the mark.

He won't be alone however, as Pre Classic fourth place and fifth place finishers Pierre-Ambroise Bosse (FRA) and Adam Kszczot (POL) are entered. Both athletes have dipped under the 1:45 mark this season, with Bosse going 1:44.44 and Kszczot 1:44.65. While they aren't quite as strong as Aman on their season just yet, both are world-class talents capable of challenging the record.

Gatlin Looks to Stay Undefeated

Justin Gatlin (USA) is on a roll. There's no other way to describe it. Gatlin is having the best sprint season in the world in 2014, undefeated and holding the top three times in the world this season, all under 9.92. It's kind of ridiculous if you think about it. While fans await his match up with Tyson Gay (USA) in Lausanne and hopefully head-to-head matchups with healthy Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt later in the season, for now it's a joy seeing Gatlin blow his competition out of the water and dip under 10 seconds with ease.

While fellow American Mike Rodgers offers some competition Tuesday, Gatlin is the driving force for his own success. Lets see just how fast he can go before he takes a little down time and gets back to training.

Felix Continues to Improve

It's been quite the journey back from injury for Allyson Felix (USA), but she's finally hitting her stride. After a solid third place effort at the Pre Classic, where she finished in a seasons best 22.44 for 200m, Felix came back in Oslo last week and won the women's 200m event in 22.73. Felix's win not only gave her the first Diamond League victory for her in some time, but also showed she's on the rise and is one to watch as the season progresses. She shouldn't have a problem outdoing the field in Ostrava, so her focus should be on time.

Eaton Eyes Sub-49 in 400m Hurdles

He's already one of the top dozen 400m hurdlers in the world, but Ashton Eaton (USA) wants more. Just last week, Eaton beat the field at the Bislett Games in Oslo, winning his first Diamond League race in 49.16. His performance came just a few days after his runner-up effort in Hengelo, where he set a PR of 49.07. All of this leads to Tuesday's action, where he'll once again be the favorite and this time having the hope to dip under 49 seconds. It's simply amazing watching the world record holder in the decathlon prove his worth over a single event and the more he competes in the lap hurdle event, the more it seems he could very well contend for a medal next year at the IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships if he so choose. 

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