The Silesia Kamila Skolimowska Memorial – the historic first Diamond League meeting taking place in Poland - is 40 days away. It has now been announced that Ewa Swoboda will face the legendary Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce on 6 August in the Silesian Stadium! - We promised a star-studded field and we are delivering. This is just a start - declares the Silesian voivodeship assembly chairman Jakub Chelstowski. The timetable of the competition has also been released.
The best edition of the Silesia Kamila Skolimowska Memorial to date will kick off at 1:30 PM and end at 6 PM. The Diamond League portion of the event will commence at 4 PM. Although it is a one-day event, the preparations have been going on for months. One of the key elements is contracting top stars in each of the events. The process has certainly been going well so far.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce to run in the Silesian Stadium. Which records are in danger?
– After confirming the participation of the world's top vaulter Armand Duplantis, we have another surprise. On 6 August, our own Ewa Swoboda will be facing the great Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the Silesian Stadium! - announced the proud Piotr Malachowski, sports director of the meet. Chairman Jakub Chelstowski pointed out the world's fastest woman is coming back to the Kamila Memorial after making her debut there last year. - There is no better confirmation that our efforts make sense. Sometimes the stars come up to us during competitions in other countries, asking about the date of the next Memorial. We feel proud and I personally feel excited. I am looking forward to seeing how Ewa performs in this showdown. When the Diamond League invited us to join, we promised a star-studded field. We are fulfilling that promise and if I'm right about Piotr's capabilities as the sports director, there are many more surprises to come. The slogan "Everyone come into the Silesian Stadium" is becoming even more meaningful - declares chairman Chelstowski.
The 35-year old Fraser-Pryce comes from Kingston, Jamaica. She is an eight-time Olympic medalist in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay. Her resume also includes nine world titles, making her one of the greatest athletes of all time.
– Her performance in the Silesian Stadium could be spectacular - said Malachowski. - The experience she has gained over many years is bringing dividends. In 2021, she ran 10.81 here, setting a meeting record. She is even faster now! A few days ago she finished in 10.67 in Paris. We believe in peak form she may even be capable of a world record - the meeting's sports director stated.
Swoboda is also in the best shape of her life this summer. At the national championships in June, she ran her specialty event in a wind-aided 10.99.
– I feel proud to have my name mentioned alongside Shelly-Ann's. She is an icon. Every sprinter wants to be like her. Each athlete dreams of achieving at least one half of what Fraser-Pryce has and to stay at the top for this long. I hope it will be the best female 100m race ever to take place on Polish soil. On 6 August I would like to finish as close to the legend as possible. The work I have done in the last few months makes sense precisely because of events such as the Kamila Memorial. The meeting takes place in my favourite stadium. You simply have to come and see it with your own eyes! - Swoboda declared.
Skolimowska foresaw Nowicki's medal. The Memorial is an unmissable event for him
Fraser-Pryce is the current word leader. She has run a full 0.1s faster than the second-placed Shericka Jackson, a big margin in sprinting terms. She is not, however, the only athlete in this position expected in Silesia. It has already been announced the Memorial's hammer throw competition will feature the top three from the Tokyo Olympic Games: Wojciech Nowicki, Eivind Henriksen and Pawel Fajdek. Importantly, just like the pole vaulters, they will show up in the stadium early during the meeting. Nowicki already threw 81.58 in the Witches' Cauldron this spring. Nobody to date has beaten that mark this season. He stresses that competing in the Silesia Kamila Skolimowska Memorial each year carries an additional meaning for him.
– There is a reason behind my dedicating the Olympic gold to Kamila - he said, referring to the competition in Japan. - I will always keep in mind our meeting. She was the champion, I was a beginner. She said: you will be a champion if you work hard for it. This became my signpost for years and I finally reached the destination - said Nowicki, who has come away with medals from every major championship event he has competed in so far.
It will be the third Diamond League competition this year for the hammer throwers. The previous two - Oslo and Paris - were both dominated by Polish athletes.
Mass support makes sense. Sports equipment offered to schools and clubs
At the same time, preparations of another kind are going on in connection with the Silesian stop on the Diamond League tour. The logistical details, such as transportation and accomodation for the athletes, are being planned. The fans, however, are another point of attention. After announcing an art competition for the youth, with participation in the meet offered as prizes, the organisers are making another offer for groups of fans. The supporters may now sign up to cheer for the stars in the Silesian Stadium together. The clubs and schools sending at least 300 fans to the stadium will not only guarantee themselves a place in the stands. They will also receive funding to purchase sports equipment for up to five thousand zloty.
– We are doing this so that the Silesian Diamond League is not just an event for the elite athletes. For several years now we have been building a brand for the region. A brand that the local community will want to identify with and be a part of. The major names present at the meet will not by themselves cause Poland to have a strong national team in ten years' time. It will only happen if we use this opportunity to promote the sport - chairman Chelstowski said.