World-class athletes will compete in front of local fans at the Daegu Pre-Championships Meeting in Daegu, North Gyeongsang Province.
The organizing committee announced Wednesday its roster for the annual competition, which will take place on Sept. 25 at Daegu Stadium.
In a promotion to host the 2011 World Championships, the city founded the athletics meet in 2005 and has invited top-tier athletes, such as Tyson Gay of the United States and Liu Xiang of China, to South Korea, a country that has not shown much interest in track and field.
This year’s entries includes Russian pole vault superstar Yelena Isinbayeva, Cuban 110-meter hurdler Dayron Robles and middle distance runner Wilfred Bungei of Kenya, all of whom won gold medals at the Beijing Olympics last month.
Local fans will have a rare chance to watch five sprinters, whose personal-best times are below 10 seconds in the men’s 100 meters.
On the women’s side, American sprinters Lauryn Williams and Torri Edwards will race for a gold medal in the 100. Edwards is ranked No. 1 this season.
Athens Olympic long jump gold medalist Lebedeva Tatyana of Russia, who also picked up two silver medals in the triple and long jumps in Beijing, and American Bershawn Jackson, the 2005 world champion in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, will also come to Daegu.
As of Wednesday, about 90 athletes from 31 countries have registered for the meet, comprised of eight events apiece for men and women, and 61 of them are ranked inside the top 30 in the world.
South Korean athletes entered in the meet include Lee Jung-joon and Kim Deok-hyeon in the men’s 110-meter hurdles and triple jump, respectively.
Lee set the South Korean record of 13.55 seconds in Beijing, while Kim finished ninth at last year’s world championships.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) upgraded the Daegu event to an Asian Grand Prix meet this year.