Some exciting head-to-heads are set for the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea, the fourth meeting in the Diamond League series

Nine British athletes are involved in the fourth Diamond League meeting of the year on Thursday, with a number of thrilling head-to-head battles on the cards for the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea in Rome.

After a dominant 200m win in Stockholm, British record-holder Dina Asher-Smith opens up her 100m campaign but will need to overcome Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, USA’s Shanghai 100m winner Aleia Hobbs and world silver winner Marie-Josee Ta Lou.

Laura Muir will be hoping for a winning start to her 2019 Diamond League season after her non-series win in Stockholm. However, world record-holder Genzebe Dibaba, Gudaf Tsegaye, who ran quicker than Muir last year with 3:57.64, and former world champion Jenny Simpson will provide the main opposition, with Eilish McColgan dropping down in distance after her 5000m in Stockholm to join her fellow Scot Muir in the field.

In the 110m hurdles, the final Diamond League event of the evening, world indoor champion Andrew Pozzi lines up against former world outdoor champion Sergey Shubenkov and Olympic silver medallist Orlando Ortega.

Shara Proctor and Lorraine Ugen, UK record-holders outdoors and indoors respectively, will face world indoor champion Ivana Spanovic, four-time world champion Brittney Reese and Olympic triple jump champion Caterine Ibargüen in the long jump, while a high-class pole vault field is led by Olympic champion Katerini Stefanidi, Sandi Morris and Yarisley Silva.

The men’s 200m is yet another highlight. Britain’s world relay champion Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Ireland’s Leon Reid are up against American Noah Lyles, who won the Diamond League title last year and opened up this season with a PB of 9.86 for 100m, plus Michael Norman, who ran a stunning 43.45 for 400m in April and makes his debut in the Diamond League over a distance at which he is a former world junior champion and at which he clocked 19.84 earlier this year.

World champion Ramil Guliyev becomes almost a bit player in a race where Italian record-holder Filippo Tortu is sure to receive great support from the home crowd.

Another athlete sure to get a great reaction is Gianmarco Tamberi, who competes for the first time since his European indoor title win in Glasgow. He’s joined in the high jump by joint world leader Majd Eddin Ghazal, Bohdan Bondarenko and Andriy Protsenko.

Rai Benjamin, the third fastest man in history, headlines the non-Diamond League 400m hurdles, this time without Abderrahman Samba, the other athlete tipped to challenge the world record this year. Ireland’s Thomas Barr, who was third in Shanghai behind the duo, lines up again.

The women’s Diamond League race features American trio Dalilah Muhammad, Shamier Little and Kori Carter, plus Zuzana Hejnová and Léa Sprunger.

In the women’s 400m, world silver medallist Salwa Eid Naser lines up alongside Olympic medallist Shericka Jackson and world indoor champion Courtney Okolo.

The 800m sees world No.1 Nijel Amos take on Olympic bronze medallist Clayton Murphy and world indoor champion Adam Kszczot. After his second place in Shanghai, defending Diamond League champion Selemon Barega takes on a field including Britain’s Andrew Butchart, Olympic bronze medallist Hagos Gebrhiwet and world cross-country champion Joshua Cheptegei in the 5000m.

Tatsiana Khaladovich continues the defence of her Diamond League javelin title as she takes on early-season world No.1 Lu Huihui plus Barbora Spotakova and Christin Hussong, while Pedro Pablo Pichardo leads the men’s triple jump line-up.

Britain’s Zak Seddon is among those in the non-Diamond League 3000m steeplechase.

A timetable and entry lists can be found here.

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