Top athletes from around the world are taking part in the prestigious Weltklasse meeting in Zurich on Friday in one of the final warm-ups for next month's Olympic Games in Sydney.
Depending on weather conditions, the meeting at the Letzigrund stadium - one of the Golden League events of the year - usually produces a clutch of world, European and personal best times.
America's Maurice Greene, the world record holder over 100 metres, leads the international line-up. Greene will be out to prove he is still the man to beat after recovering from a dramatic hamstring injury during the 200 metres final of the US Olympic trials.
Greene's training partner, Trinidad's Ato Boldon, will also be out to steal the headlines in the 100 metres, while in the 1,500 metres all eyes will be on another of the sport's superstars, Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj.
The line-up for the women's event is no less illustrious with Marion Jones hoping to dazzle her opposition in both the 100 metres and the long jump. Although world records are unlikely to dominate the evening, such is the proximity of the Olympic Games, Jones for one is promising to hold nothing back.
"I feel wonderful in my sprints and this time should be no different", she insisted. "I hope to run a very fast time and go faster than I've ever run before."
Two Swiss stars, Anita Weyermann and Marcel Schelbert, will be hoping to run faster than they have managed this season, as both of them attempt late bids for Olympic qualification. After suffering from a series of injuries, poor results and personal problems, Weyermann only decided on Wednesday that she would definitely run in the Weltklasse.
After arriving in Zurich, the 1500 metres specialist said she had recovered well from her encouraging midweek performances in Olten. "I can reach the Olympic standard," she insisted.
Schelbert, like Weyermann, must only meet the Olympic limit once, because of his standing in the world rankings. However, the 400 metres hurdler also faces a tough challenge. The qualifying time of 49'60" is almost a second faster than his best performances so far this season.
Sprint hurdler Raphaël Monachon and 1500 metres runner Peter Philipp are both hoping to beat the Olympic limit for a second time at the Zurich meeting. Laurent Clerc, Alain Rohr and Mathias Rusterholz, meanwhile, will all be looking to improve on their times in the 400 metres, in the hopes of qualifying for the men's 4x400 metres relay.
swissinfo with agencies
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