Rome’s athletics Golden Gala

Top international athletes come to Rome

The 34th edition of the Golden Gala, Italy's annual track and field event, begins in Rome's Olympic Stadium on 5 June. As usual the sporting event is a who's who from the world of international athletics but unlike the last three years, Jamaica's six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt will not be participating in the tournament.

Chief among the sporting stars coming to Rome is America's Justin Gatlin who beat Bolt by 0.01 seconds in last year's 100-m race, with a time of 9.94 seconds. Those attempting to beat Gatlin this year will include Jamaicans Nesta Carter and Kemar Bailey Cole, and Britain's Richard Kilty.

Other big names to watch out for are Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and South African middle-distance runner Carsten Semenya, and high jumpers Ivan Ukhov from Russia, Bohdan Bondarenko from the Ukraine, Derek Drouin from Canada, Erik Kynard from the US, and Marco Fassinotti from Turin.

Competing are eight Gold Olympians from the London games in 2012 and 11 world champions from Moscow in 2013, out of a total of 240 athletes from 63 different countries.

The Golden Gala began in 1980 and was dedicated to the memory of champion Italian sprinter Pietro Mennea last year. The Rome event is the fourth leg in the current season of the Diamond League, an annual series of 14 track and field meetings for top athletes. Over the course of its history, the gala has set eight world records, of which the 1,500-m (1998) and mile records (1999) by Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj still stand.

Ticket prices range from €5 to €40, depending on where you sit in the stadium, and full details including programme can be found on the event's website.