Napoli’s Stadio San Paolo Stadium, with a Mondotrack WS surface almost identical to that which will be used at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, will host its second major meeting in less than a year after the announcement that it will stage this year's Golden Gala Pietro Mennea on 28 May.
Italy’s top one day athletics meeting, which has been part of the Diamond League circuit since the competition’s inauguration in 2010, has usually been staged in Rome’s Olympic Stadium but this venue is undergoing renovation work ahead of the UEFA European Championships, so this year Europe’s best track and field athletes will instead head to the stadium which successfully hosted the World University Games last July.
It will be just fourth time in its 40-year history that the Golden Gala meeting will not be held in the Italian capital.
The 1988, 1989 and 1990 editions were all held in alternative venues around Italy ahead of the country staging the football’s 1990 World Cup.
— Wanda Diamond League (@Diamond_League) January 13, 2020
The San Paolo stadium’s state-of-the-art track, lighting system and extensive press stand, as well as its recent experience in staging a major championship and combined with the short time frame, meant that it was the obvious choice over other possible option for this year.
Mondo, a European Athletics Green Inspiration Partner, currently provides the surface for four of the 10 stadiums that will host Wanda Diamond League meetings in Europe during the summer of 2020.
Along with Napoli, the Italian-based company also has tracks in the Paris, London and Brussels stadiums that will stage these prestigious competitions.
The Stadio San Paolo, in the city's western suburb of Fuorigrotta, and the third-largest stadium in Italy, celebrated its 60th birthday in December. Last April and May, technicians from Mondo laid down more than 8500m2 of prefabricated track which had been manufactured in a controlled factory environment at the company’s facilities in the north of Italy, which helps ensure that the quality and consistency of the track is unaffected by temperature and climatic conditions.
European winners at the World University Games last July included Italy’s 100m hurdler Luminosa Bogliolo and pole vaulter Roberta Bruni and both women would relish a return visit to the Stadio San Paolo for a second tilt at glory in front of a home crowd.
Other European winners in Napoli whose events will be contested at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea 2020 were Bulgaria’s Tihomir Ivanov, Poland’s Konrad Bukowiecki, Belarus’ Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, Germany’s Caterina Granz, Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk and Lithuania’s Liveta Jasiunaite. In total, European athletes won 22 out of the 46 gold medals on offer at the World University Games.