The participation of two of the IAAF Diamond League's Ambassadors at this year's Rome Golden Gala was announced this morning to the national media in Rome by FIDAL (the Italian Athletics Federation), who are the organisers of the 4th leg of the inaugural IAAF Diamond League, which will be held on 10 June.
Kenenisa Bekele from Ethiopia and Blanka Vlasic from Croatia, two of the brightest stars in Athletics' sky, will take part in the 30th edition of the international Rome meeting.
Bekele, the multiple World and Olympic champion and World record breaker at long distance running, and Vlasic, the two-time outdoor World champion in the women's High Jump will be centre stage in the Olympic stadium along with two of most important national athletes whose participation was also confirmed today.
Andrew Howe, the 2007 World Long Jump silver medallist, and Antonietta Di Martino, who took the World silver in the women's High Jump at the same edition of the World Championships, will ensure that the Rome audience has all the motivation it requires to create an electric atmosphere for the meeting.
This year's edition of the Golden Gala will witness several innovations, FIDAL President Franco Arese confirmed during today's press conference, at which he was joined by Golden Gala General Director, Diego Nepi Molineris, and Meeting Director, Anna Riccardi.
Firstly, the Golden Gala, as part of a national promotional strategy, will be part of a full Athletics week organised by FIDAL in the Rome Olympic Park.
The final event of the National Students' Games will open the way on the Tuesday and Wednesday in the Stadio dei Marmi (the famous ancient white marble stadium, commonly used as the warm up area during Golden Gala), while National Veterans' Championships will close out the week, following after the Golden Gala (to be held on Thursday 10 June), on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Secondly, the Olympic Stadium itself will see its capacity in terms of spectators reduced to 42,000, by closing the upper levels of the tribunes, in order to better distribute the audience along the entire lower ring, and so create a different atmosphere for fans, TV viewers, and athletes.