Yelena Isinbayeva and Dayron Robles will highlight the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix to be held on September 20 at Shanghai Stadium, organizers said yesterday while announcing the first group of participating athletes.
Ten Beijing Olympic gold medalists will be in attendance, with Russian pole vault queen Isinbayeva and Cuban hurdles champion Robles the pick of the lot.
However, missing from the list is Robles' big rival, China's Liu Xiang, who was forced out of the 110-meter hurdles at the Beijing Olympics last month due to an Achilles tendon injury.
Liu's absence on home turf will certainly affect ticket sales to some extent, according to the organizers, who are nonetheless confident that after the Beijing Games the star power of foreign athletes has been boosted, which will draw both local fans and expats in Shanghai.
Isinbayeva, who broke the world record for the 24th time, scaling 5.05 meters in Beijing, has promised to challenge her own world record.
The Russian, whose idol is Sergei Bubka, hopes to match, if not beat, the feat accomplished by the Ukrainian pole-vaulter - setting a total of 35 world records (both indoors and outdoors).
Robles, who missed the gold in Laussane last week after being beaten by Beijing bronze medalist David Oliver of the US, will hope to extract some revenge when the duo lines up again in Shanghai.
Twice Olympic women's 200-meter champion Veronica Campbell of Jamaica will also compete along with Beijing champions Angelo Taylor of the US (men's 400 hurdles), Wilfred Bungei of Kenya (men's 800), American Dawn Harper (women's 100 hurdles), Briton Christine Ohuruogu (women's 400) and Nancy Lagat of Kenya (women's 1,500).
Participation by some other big names, including men's sprint veterans Asafa Powell of Jamaica, American Tyson Gay and the Beijing Games 100 and 200 world record maker Usain Bolt, is still undecided.
Organizers revealed that half of the tickets have already been sold while students can get tickets at the cheapest price of 60 yuan (US$8.77).
Visit the event Website (www.shggp.com) for favorable ticket discounts.
(Shanghai Daily September 9, 2008)