The IAAF World Athletics Tour meet will also feature Jana Rawlinson in the most serious encounter of her return to competition - a race that is a potential replica of the world championships final with the four fastest in the world this year all entered.
Commonwealth Games champions Bronwyn Thompson and Kym Howe also kick off their European campaigns, and Tamsyn Lewis will chase the world championships a-qualifying standard in the 800m.
After giving birth to her son Cornelis six months ago, Jana Rawlinson has been showing promising form on her comeback trail with victories in Portugal (55.52) and Switzerland (55.19) in low key European meets. This Wednesday night she will be put to the test in her first major international outing since the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
United States athletes Tiffany Ross-Williams (53.28) and Sheena Johnson (53.29) are in outstanding shape and produced the world’s fastest times of 2007 at the US National Championships on the weekend. World record holder and reigning world 400m hurdles champion, Russia’s Yuliya Pechonkina (née Nosova), is also in the mix after setting the world’s third fastest time of 54.04 in Munich on Saturday.
Struggling with injury for the entire Australian domestic season which resulted in an arthroscope on her left knee only seven weeks ago, Commonwealth Games long jump champion Bronwyn Thompson departed for Europe on Sunday, optimistic that she can produce medal-winning distances in Osaka.
Fourth at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, the 29-year-old will face Brazilian Keila Costa in Ostrava, who set a personal best distance of 6.88m in May.
Commonwealth Games pole vault champion Kym Howe faces a daunting task this week in her first European hit out, with world record holder and reigning world and Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva on the runway beside her. For rising West Australian Vicky Parnov, it will be an invaluable experience as she prepares for the IAAF World Youth Championships in two weeks time at the same venue. Due to an ankle injury, Queenslander Alana Boyd was forced to withdraw from the meet.
Also competing in Ostrava will be 800m runner eleven-time national champion Tamsyn Lewis who is chasing the world championships A-qualifying standard of two minutes flat.
Stay tuned to athletics.com.au and iaaf.org for all of the news and results from this week’s action around the world.
photos Janos Schmidt