Reigning Olympic champion Brianna McNeal leads a fast women’s 60m hurdles at Meeting Villa de Madrid indoor, in which will be her indoor first race on Europe’s soil. McNeal’s hopes for a winning debut will require her to beat no only world indoor silver medalist Christina Clemons, but also Spain’s stellar duo formed by Teresa Errandonea and Caridad Jerez. The seventh and final stop of the World Athletics Indoor Tour will be held next Friday February 21 at Gallur Municipal Sports Center.
In 2013, McNeal became the youngest world champion in 100m hurdles, winning in Moscow a day before turning 22 – there she also became the second athlete ever to win both world and NCAA titles in the event the same year. That gold medal was the icing on the cake for a perfect year, after winning 60/100m hurdles NCAA double and the World Championship U.S. trials, setting new college and American records of 12.39 and 12.26, respectively.
Three years later, McNeal achieved the greatest success of her career by winning the gold medal at Olympics in Rio, where she led an historical U.S. sweep in 100m hurdles. Earlier that year, the now-28-year-old athlete claimed silver in 60m hurdles at World Indoor Championship and set a lifetime best of 7.76. This is McNeal’s first indoor season since then, and yet she has run a personal best of 7.20 in 60m and a world’s #3 of 7.85 over the hurdles.
Spain’s two best hurdlers will bring their rivalry to Meeting Villa de Madrid. The duo of Teresa Errandonea and Caridad Jerez is tied for fifth place in national 60mh all-time list with a best of 8.11. Irun-born Errandonea set her time a week ago in Zaragoza – it was her fourth consecutive PB –, while Balearic Jerez did it in 2016 and her season best is 8.19. 28-year-old Jerez is looking forward her seventh national indoor title in a row on February 29 whereas Errandonea is the main candidate to win her second one ever – the first one took place in 2013, when she was 18.
United States’ Christina Clemons will be a threat for the win at World Athletics Indoor Tour final in Madrid. Global indoor silver medalist best of 7.73 ties the sixth-fastest 60m hurdles in world history, and she has also run 7.89 this season. Her fellow American Payton Chadwick and France’s Cyrena Samba are the two other women that have clocked times under 8.00 at least once in their careers. Jamaican Jeanine Williams, Poland’s Karolina Koleczek and Pia Skrzyszowska, Dutch Eefje Boons, Finland’s Annimari Korte and Rikenette Steenkamp of South Africa complete the elite field.