Stockholm Bauhaus Gala Athletics Preview: Oliver, Barshim, SAFP, the view from Europe by Alfons Juck

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Stockholm is sacred ground for athletics. Not only do we have the 1912 Olympic stadium, we have the original home of the IAAF. 

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The Bauhaus Gala as TV is calling it is a reemergence of the meet, which has had a couple challenging years. With a new sponsors, Bauhaus (think hardware stores), and the support of the city of Stockholm, the meet is on solid financial footing. As Daniel Wessfeldt, the Swedish agent and manager of some reknown, continues to develop the meet, look for Stockholm DL to blossom once again. 

The meet had been on solid footing for three decades until internal politics forced the well respected meet director out in 2012. The meet is coming back.

2015 is a strange year, as the weather and Beijing World Champs put Stockholm at a strange time; just before the champs, unlike in 2012, being right after. 

Here are the previews of events from our friend, Alfons Juck. 
Oliver, Barshim, SAFP

STOCKHOLM (SWE): Great field in men hurdles, Mutaz Essa Barshim in high jump and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in 100 m are the top events of the Bauhaus Athletics IAAF Diamond League in Stockholm on Thursday. First time with new title sponsor but as always in classical arena, the legendary Olympic stadium. Last DL meet before the World Championships, after that two finals in Zurich and Brussels are remaining. The meet has also several accompanying activities and brings to Stockholm full week of athletics at different levels. 

Event by event preview

Men

200m: Edward is rounding into great form and so starts as favourite, with a win he could move to the top of the DR. Jobodwana still hunts for his first DL win. There will be a good European battle between Tsákonas and Guliyev. 

400m: Santos was struggling for form, but now is world university games champion and Pan Am champion. Haroun will challenge him in his first race since his Asian record while world junior champ Cedenio will also be in the mix. 

800m (non-DL): The Swedish hope for Almgren to challenge the NR. Balla starts as favourite after his recent Qatari NR. 

1500m: Centrowitz beat Souleiman in London and the two meet again here, without Kiprop to deal with. Souleiman can move to the head of the DR if he wins. 

Steeple: None of the four DL winners in 2015 are here as the Kenyan trials take priority. However, Kenya will still have strong contenders, especially H. Yego. Euro u23 champion Safiulin and Bayer will try to be a rare non-African steeple winner at this level. 

110mH: Oliver leads the DR and will keep it ahead of the final. Ortega has been the only one able to beat him recently, although the Cuban has now faltered at two competitions in a row. Richardson comes from a win in London, with PML also impressing at that meet. Another athlete contending for the win will be Shubenkov after his NR in Paris. 

HJ: Barshim leads the DR, despite his recent dip in dominance, and he should be able to hold it into the final. Drouin is fresh from a 237 effort to win Pan Ams and will hope to beat the Qatari and win his second DL. The Italian pair of Fassinotti and Tamberi continue to perform at a high level, while Kynard and Thomas are also in good form. 

LJ: Dendy hasn't been beaten in the long jump since March. Visser, Rutherford and Mokoena followed him at the London DL and he will face them all again here. Rutherford will hold onto the DR lead. 

DT: Milanov won in a rain soaked London and will hope to do so again to close the gap to Malachowski and Urbanek, both of whom are competing, in the DR.


Women

100m: SAFP is on top form and should challenge the MR of 10.90 if the weather is on her side. However, she won't have it all her own way as Bowie has also demonstrated good shape. Pierre is coming fresh from a strong showing at the Pan Ams.

200m (non-DL): Townsend leads this field after placing 4th in London. J. Williams, who wanted to compete in the longer sprint in London, gets a chance to perform over the distance here. 

800m: Without DR leader Sum, this is open. Sharp was the best of this field in London. Almanza is the fastest in the field this year, although she placed only 4th at the Pan Ams. The US have a strong trio: Martinez, Price and Ludlow. French talent Lamote will compete in her first DL of the season. 

3000m: After making a valiant effort in London, can Huddle take a win here. Chief among her rivals will be Mimi Belete, who ran fast to win in Heusden recently.  

400mH: Can Hejnova make it three DL wins in a row and overtake Spencer in the DR? Moline and Petersen are most likely ones to deny here, while Tate should also be among the top few. The MR of 53.70 was set by Hejnova after her world title in 2013. 

HJ (non-DL): A mostly Swedish affair, Kinsey is on-form while Jungmark makes her Swedish return. 

PV: DR leader Kiriakopoúlou meets world leader Silva and the second placed athlete in the DR, Murer. The Greek athlete has won the last two DLs, but Silva is fresh from a win and WL at Pan Ams and could challenge the MR of 485. Swedish fans hope for Euro u23 champ Bengtsson to get in the mix. 

LJ (non-DL): The home fans hope for a Jarder win and it may well materialise. Jimoh and Bauschke look to be her main competition. 

TJ: Ibarguen should make it 28 wins in a row and move further out of sight at the top of the DR. She may have her eyes on her MR of 14.83; in six of her 7 competitions this year she has gone further than this. London winner Rypakova is the closest rival to the Colombian, she is the last athlete to beat Ibarguen.

JT: There has been a different winner at each DL so far. The athlete most likely to keep this trend going is Molitor after a good effort at the German championships. Palameika won in London, just 1cm up on Spotakova the DR leader. Also in the field is world leader Viljoen.

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