TORONTO -- The two finest steeplechase runners in the world and four entries from the Soviet medal fleet give Friday's Toronto Star Games some of the most hotly contested track and field events of the indoor season.
Patriz Ilg of West Germany and Henry Marsh of the United States, expected to challenge for the gold medal in the Los Angeles Olympic Games this summer, will meet in the 3,000 meter race.
There is no 3,000 meter race in the Olympics, but there is a 3,000 meter steeplechase and Ild and Marsh are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the world, respectively.
Ilg attained the No. 1 ranking by winning the steeplechase at the World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, last summer. Marsh's bid for the gold edal was foiled when he tripped on the final barrier.
Ilg finished the race in 8:15.06 while Marsh was timed in 8:20.45. Despite his No. 2 ranking Marsh still holds the fastest time recorded last season at 8:12.37.
The Soviets, displeased with their performance at the World Championships, are using the North American indoor tour to prepare for the Summer Games. It has been six years since they attended the Star Games.
The presence of Konstantin Volkov, who has cleared 18-feet-9- inches, makes the pole vault event one of the most interesting of the evening. His main competition should come from American Dan Ripley, who will be shooting for his third indoor games victory.
Billy Olson, of Abilene, Texas, set the indoor standard last year by clearing 19 feet, but Sergei Bubka, of the Soviet Union, bettered Olson's mark recently by one half inch. Olson and Bubka are not entered in the meet this year.
The men's high jump offers a replay of the world championships with Soviet gold medal winner Gennaldy Avdeyenko duelling silver medallist Tye Peacock of the United States.
Milt Ottey, Canada's gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games, also will compete in the high jump.
Viktor Markin, who won the men's 400 meter event at the 1980 Summer Games, has entered the Star 600 meter race while Lyubov Gurina, also of the Soviet Union, heads the field in the women's 600. She was the silver medalist at the world championships.
Veteran Jan Merrill, who had a 4:16.77 in the 1,500 meters outdoors last year will make her 10th appearance at the event. Merrill is a four-time U.S. indoor mile champion.
Britain's Jo White, who is ranked No. 4 in the indoor mile, and Norway's Marit Risan, a student at the University of Texas at El Paso, will challenge Merrill in the 1,500-meter event.