In Prague last year, Sifan Hassan won gold in the 1500m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships as Federica Del Buono clinched bronze - and on Tuesday in Rovereto they meet again on what could be a classic occasion at Italy’s oldest track meeting.
It is the 52nd staging of the Palio Citta della Quercia, one of the country’s most renowned events, and it is the first time ever the women’s mile will take place.
The field is top class, led by Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba, the 1500m world champion and Rio silver medallist, who is looking to break Svetlana Masterkova’s 20-year-old mile world record of 4:12.56.
But the European presence is strong.
The Netherlands' Hassan, who was fifth behind Dibaba in Rio, won in 4:09.04 in Prague (Poland’s Angelika Cichoka was second, 4:10.53) with Del Buono third (4:11.61). It was the biggest success of the Italian’s career and now she has the chance to make her mark in front of her home crowd.
She will not be alone in what has been a superb season for Italy’s 400m star Libania Grenot, who successfully defended her European title in Amsterdam in July. She will race teammate Mariabenedicta Chigbolu and Jamaican Stephenie McPherson, who won Olympic relay silver in Rio.
This European Athletics Outdoor Premium meeting, which over the years has attracted a leading number of Olympic and world champions including Sebastian Coe and Javier Sotomayor among them, also has an eye-catching 100m where Italy’s Massimiliano Ferraro and Great Britain’s Harry Aikines-Aryeetey take on Saint Kitts and Nevis superstar Kim Collins and Jamaican Julian Forte.