The 3rd annual American Track League meet is set to be the best edition yet with multiple global stars making their final tune-ups prior to heading to Beijing China for the IAAF World Championships later in August.
League Director Paul Doyle stated, “I couldn’t be happier with the class of athletes choosing to make Atlanta a part of their schedule this year. This is the greatest group of international athletes assembled in Georgia since the 1996 Olympics. At last count we had more than 20 World or Olympic medalists planning to compete in Atlanta.”
Two of the top international stars include Jamaican Olympic Medalists, Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown. Asafa Powell is the former “World’s fastest Man” and held the World Record in the 100m for the 3-years prior to Usain Bolt’s 2008 breakout season. Campbell-Brown, is a 4-Time Olympian for Jamaica and even more impressively, a 7-time Olympic medalist. Her medal collection includes two individual Gold Medals in the 200m, the event she will contest in Atlanta. In total; VCB, as she is known, has earned 18 Global medals at the World Championships and the Olympic Games, making her one of the most decorated athletes of all-time.
Asafa Powell says “I have been to Atlanta more times than I can count, but I have never had the opportunity to compete here, so I am very much looking forward to it. I am fast approaching 100 sub-10 times in the 100m and I think it’s only appropriate that at least one of those should happen in the ATL.”
Also, set to compete will be American middle distance stars, Nick Symmonds and Maggie Vessey. Symmonds is the first American man to medal in the 800m since Atlanta Track Club’s Director, Rich Kenah accomplished that feat winning a World Bronze Medal at the 1997 World Championships. Symmonds, the 2015 American Champion over 800m is looking to test his endurance in the longer 1500m event. He will be challenged by the recent Pan Am Games Gold Medalist, Andrew Wheating who is the 5th fastest American of all-time over the distance.
Vessey will be competing in her bread and butter event, the 800m, in which she is one of the fastest Americans of all-time with a personal best of 1:57.84. Doyle says, “Maggie is a huge draw for us! She is one of the most beautiful women in all of sport. It’s worth the price of admission just to see what outfit Maggie will be wearing.”
Perhaps one of the most accomplished athletes in the meet will be 6-time World Champion and 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, LaShawn Merritt. Merritt has earned his medals competing in the 400m but on August 1st he will make an assault on the World All-Time list in the rarely run 300m. He currently stands #3 on the World All-Time list behind only the legendary athletes Michael Johnson and Usain Bolt.
The American athletes are typically dominant in the sprint hurdles and the fields assembled at the ATL are certainly reflective of that. The men’s race will feature 2011 World Champion, Jason Richardson. The women’s race will feature 2014’s World #2 hurdler, Queen Harrison and last year’s champion, Douglasville Georgia’s own, Kristi Castlin.
Richardson, coming off his Diamond League win in London this past week, will have his hands full with incredible competition from compatriot Ronnie Ash, who boasts a personal best of 12.99 seconds. But this event isn’t just filled with American talent. Jamaican rising star, Omar McLeod, the NCAA champion who ran a World Lead of 12.97 seconds this season may be the biggest threat to the Americans. Only 19 men in the history of the World have run under 13 seconds in the hurdles and three of them will be toeing the line in Atlanta on Saturday.
The lone field event of the evening will be the women’s Pole Vault, and this just may be the highlight of the evening as a very competitive field has been assembled. Battling for the top spot will be the hottest pair of vaulters in recent history, Sandi Morris and Demi Payne. Both are multiple-time collegiate record holders from this past NCAA season and they currently sit as the #3 and #4 Americans of all-time. Morris recently capped off a tour of European meets with a pair of personal bests in Switzerland and Belgium, the latter of which placed her as the #3 American of all-time with 4.76m (15’7.5”), sitting behind only Olympic Gold Medalists, Jenn Suhr and Stacy Dragilia. But Morris doesn’t have it easy, as Payne sits just behind her on the list with a personal best of 4.75m (15’7”). It will be a battle for the ages amongst the two athletes that are the immediate future of the event.
Despite the fact that some of the top talent in the World will be on the track, this night isn’t completely about competition. There is also a huge entertainment component with this event. The American Track League prides itself as being the most innovative and exciting brand of meets in the World. Throughout the competition entertainment will be at the forefront of the events. Live music will be performed by the soul and pop band, Mo’ Sol. Also keeping the atmosphere live throughout will be DJ Urbanite Disco. Additionally the crowd will be entertained by the ATL dance team, which is led by former Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader Captain and the 2011 NFL’s hottest cheerleader, Sabrina Clark. Fans will be allowed full access to the athletes and will be allowed on to the competition venue allowing a close up and personal feel. It will be an experience that fans will never forget.
The event which provides free beer to spectators over the age of 21, will be held at Emory’s track and field complex at the Woodruff PE Center at 28 Eagle Row, Atlanta, GA 30322. Gates will open at 6:30pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.getATLtix.com or at the gate. The event is one of the most affordable events in town with tickets priced in the range of only $5-$15.