NAIROBI, August 28 – After making history by becoming the first Kenyan woman Olympic gold medallist, Pamela Jelimo resumes her quest for a share of the $1 million IAAF Golden jackpot in Zurich on Friday.
The teenage sensation is two wins away from the big pay day and another barnstorming run at the Wetklasse meet will put her within a single win of the ultimate. Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic is the other athlete still in contention for the jackpot.
The 18 year old won in Berlin, Oslo, Rome and Paris before heading to Beijing where she set the fastest time of the year of 1:54.87 which was also a new World Junior recorded as well as an African record.
Jelimo could also make an attempt at the world record which has stood since 1983.
Olympic silver medallist Janeth Jepkosgei who has played second fiddle to Jelimo all season will again provide token competition for Jelimo with Hasna Benhassi also in the mix.
Olympic 1500 metres champion Nancy Jebet Lagat will also be on show in Zurich as will be former Olympic 3,000 metres steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi and Asbel Kiprop who won silver in the three and three quarter race in Beijing.
The legendary Zürich meeting has gathered 38 Olympic medallists, among them 14 winners and 50 finalists from Beijing Games for what meeting director Patrick Magyar calls “the Olympic Games in one night”.
Other top athletes who will grace the meet include the Triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt who will run in the men’s 100 metres as well as the relay. The lanky Jamaican was the toast of the Olympics winning three gold medals and smashing the world record in each of his victories.
“I have achieved all my goals in Beijing,” confirmed Bolt. “I cannot speak about specific goals for the rest of the season.”
“I am not tired. I competed here last year in the 200 metres. The track is very good. I want to have fun and perform well for the crowd,” he added.
Dawn Harper, the surprising Olympic champion in the women’s 100m Hurdles will compete for the first time in Zürich in a re-match against US compatriot Lolo Jones, the World Indoor 60m Hurdles champion, who crashed into the last barrier while leading the final in Beijing, missing out on the medals.
Also in Friday’s race will be the Olympic silver and bronze medallists from Beijing, Australia’s Sally McLellan and Priscilla Lopes-Schliep of Canada.