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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bubka, Ottey, Privalova Entertain Moscow Fans

Some two dozen track and field champions will invade Lokomotiv stadium this Friday afternoon as the Grand Prix athletics circuit returns to Moscow after a decade's absence.


The 39th annual Znamensky Brothers Memorial meet, now a member of the European Grand Prix family, will feature such recognized athletics stars as Ukraine's Sergei Bubka and Nourredine Morceli of Algiers, Jamaica's Merlene Ottey and Russia's Irina Privalova.


Bubka heads the list of gold medal contenders in the pole vault, an event which will feature nine of the world's 10 highest ranked vaulters. Only South Africa's Okkert Britts, who has cleared the six-meter bar and is second to Bubka's 6.02 this season, is missing.


When Ottey and Privalova resume their years-old rivalry in the 100-meter dash they will be joined by Jamaica's Juliet Cuthbert, a two-time silver medalist in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and a powerful short-distance runner.


Friday's meet will be the first outdoor competition for Russia's best sprinter this year. Privalova has spent endless hours training for the Atlanta Games in the seclusion of Moscow State University's campus track field.


The Moscow meet's added attraction will be Morceli's attempt to break his own world record of 3:28.86 in the metric mile, a time he set in Italy four years ago. If successful, Morceli will collect a large, yet undisclosed, bonus which he is likely to share with the fellow Algerian runners he uses as pacesetters.


Russia was brought back into the fold of Grand Prix Tier I circuits primarily due to a concerted effort on the part of its track federation.


"With such stiff competition among various sites to host the meet, we'll do our best not to fall flat on our faces," said Valentin Balakhnichev, president of the Russian Athletics Federation. "We took no chances and secured the appearances of many top athletes. I'm sure it will be worth spending all that money."


Other world champions making their first Moscow visits will be Kenya's 3,000-meter steeplechaser Moses Kiptanui, 800-meters runner Wilson Kipketer, a Kenyan who now competes for Denmark, Czech Republic javelinist Yan Zelezny, 1,500 meters champion Sonia O'Sullivan of Ireland, Bulgarian high-jumper Stefka Kostadiniva and Ukraine's triple-jump threat Inessa Kravets.


The meet is named after the brothers Serafim and Georgy Znamensky, Soviet middle-distance runners who dominated local athletics in the 1930s and '40s, when the Soviets were still not allowed to compete against Western nations.