Jamaica's Elaine Thompson-Herah will start her outdoor season in Walnut, California tomorrow ©Getty Images

The newly renovated Hilmer Lodge Stadium in Walnut, California will take on the aspect of a sprinter’s paradise tomorrow as some of the world’s finest exponents converge in what are expected to be a series of intriguing match-ups.

Perhaps the most interesting race in the second leg of the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold series, which is being held as part of the Mt Sac relays, is a men’s 200m that brings together four stellar home performers who will be looking to find top form prior to the United States scheduled hosting of the outdoor World Athletics Championships for the first time in Eugene, Oregon from July 15 to 24.

Christian Coleman, world 100m champion and recent world indoor 60m silver medallist, who missed the Tokyo 2020 Olympics because of an anti-doping suspension for whereabouts failures, will face the Olympic 100m silver medallist Fred Kerley, the Olympic 400m hurdles silver medallist Rai Benjamin and versatile 400m specialist Michael Norman.

Coleman, 26, has a 2017 200m personal best of 19.65 seconds and ran 20.25 last weekend.

Kerley, a former 400m specialist with a 2019 best of 43.64, has competed over a range of distances already this season, clocking 9.99 for the 100m, 20.04 for the 200m and 44.47 for the 400m, with the latter two times topping this season’s world lists.

Benjamin, who ran 19.99 over 200m at last season’s Diamond League meeting in Paris, and Norman, who has bests of 9.86 for the 100m, 19.70 for the 200m and 43.45 for the 400m, will be making their first outdoor appearances of the season.

The women’s 100m is hardly less competitive, given that Jamaica’s Olympic 100 and 200 metres champion Elaine Thompson-Herah is set to face Olympic 200m bronze medallist Gabby Thomas of the United States and her compatriot Teahna Daniels, a Tokyo 2020 100m finalist who won over this distance in last weekend's opening Continental Tour Gold meeting of the season at Bermuda into a headwind of -5.2 metres per second.

Others to watch out for will be Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago and Thompson’s 20-year-old compatriot Briana Williams, the world under-20 100 and 200m champion in 2018.

Thomas is doubling up in a women’s 200m that includes former world silver medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast, current world silver medallist Brittany Brown of the US and compatriot Jenna Prandini.

The men’s 400m contains a similarly intriguing mix to the 200m, with home sprinter Kenny Bednarek, the Olympic 200m silver medallist, facing Brazil’s Alison Dos Santos, the Tokyo 2020 400m hurdles bronze medallist and fellow American Michael Cherry, fourth in the Tokyo 2020 400m final, who rounded last season off by winning the Diamond League trophy.

Devon Allen, who will join NFL side Philadelphia Eagles at the end of the season, is due to compete in the 110m hurdles and 100m at tomorrow's World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Walnut, California ©Getty Images
Devon Allen, who will join NFL side Philadelphia Eagles at the end of the season, is due to compete in the 110m hurdles and 100m at tomorrow's World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Walnut, California ©Getty Images

Meanwhile American Devon Allen, fifth and fourth in the last two Olympic 110m hurdles finals, is entered in both that event and the 100m, having recently announced he has signed to play professional American Football for National Football League side Philadelphia Eagles after this season.

Another home high hurdler, Kendra Harrison, the Olympic silver medallist and world record holder, is due to face a 100m hurdles field that includes Tobi Amusan of Nigeria, who was fourth in Tokyo.

Home discus thrower Valarie Allman, the Olympic champion, broke her own continental record last week with a throw of 71.46 metres, the longest throw in the world in 30 years - moving her up to 15th in the all-time list.

Daniel Stahl, world and Olympic champion, and Swedish team-mate and Olympic silver medallist Simon Pettersson lead the men’s discus field.

Stahl has thrown a 2022 world-leading 69.11m effort this season.

Raven Saunders of the United States, the Olympic silver medallist, is favourite in the women’s shot put and is expected to throw against Tokyo 2020 finalists Fanny Roos of Sweden and Portious Warren of Trinidad and Tobago.