The sixth edition of the Villa de Madrid indoor meeting was presented on Tuesday morning at Gallur Municipal Sport Center’s call room – the place where the calm meets chaos just minutes before the storm comes into track.

Madrid21 will take place on Wednesday afternoon and will close the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold as its sixth stage – where 8 series champions are about to be decided.

Royal Spanish Athletics Federation (RFEA) president Raúl Chapado, councilor of Sports at Madrid City Hall Sofía Miranda and athletes Grant Holloway, Esther Guerrero and María Vicente answered the media questions at pre-meeting press conference.

Raúl Chapado, RFEA president:

“2021 is an strange cold and distant year, with all this masks which don’t let us see the athletes’ smiles. The most important thing is that Madrid gets on the athletics world stage again and that we can host this meeting. It’s not just an important event to break records, but also to athletes to have a chance of racing, training for the European Championship and qualifying for the Olympics – as World Indoor Tour Gold meetings are amongst the most valuable in the World Ranking.

Since we started working after the lockdown, we stated sports had to be a responsibility role model. We have worked to create a safe competitive environment, which is a major challenge in an indoor facility. Everyone’s safety and health are the most important things for us, and the second most important thing is the athletes’ performance. We need to send the message of safe sport is possible.”

Grant Holloway, 110m hurdles world champion:

“I expect to run fast tomorrow. This is my last meet of the indoor season, so the main goal is to go out on the track and run fast. My coach and I are pleased with the way we are running this year. Let’s come out here and have fun. If the record falls, the record falls, but if no let’s just make sure that we do it in a very high level.

I am very excited. The track has a history of being fast, 31 world record have been run on it. The main goal for me is not really to think about the record but just to make sure I get the win tomorrow and run really fast.

Someone told me that I have the seven top times in the world right now. Definitely I have set a high standard. The goal is to run 7.30, I am in great shape, so why not. This is my dream job, something I have always wanted to do, I want to continue to hold myself in this very high standard.

The smallest things will help me to run faster. Being able to execute better at the start, being able to execute going over the hurdles and between… Two milliseconds separate the 7.30s to 7.20s, it is definitely possible. I am in great shape.

60m hurdles is an overall race. If you do one thing wrong, it can be translated to the rest of the race. It is more about being perfectionist in just execute the whole thing.”

Esther Guerrero, Spain’s 1500m champion:

“Tomorrow I will race my third World Indoor Tour Gold meet of the year. After the Spanish Championship my main goal is the European Championship in Torun. It is 10 days from today, so I am sharpening. I want to run a fast 800m, set a new personal best and maybe get close to the 2-minute barrier.

Madrid brings me back several good memories, before I broke the 2-minute barrier last fall in Doha, all my personal best had been set here. Last year I couldn’t race the meet due to an injury and now I really want to do it.

I can’t say anything about the European Championship until I saw the entry list. There are some many good 1500m athletes. I am training really well. Marta Pérez and I are in very good shape. I expect us to be in the final and once we get there fight for the medals.”

María Vicente, pentathlon Spanish record holder:

“Despite being a non-scoring event, the 60m hurdles will be a top-class event tomorrow. While having breakfast with Teresa Errandonea we saw the start lists and both two are in the same heat, so we are happy about it. Undoubtedly, she is a great support for me, I have improved a lot my starts since we train together as she is a specialist in the blocks.

Being honest, I think I have room from improvement in the five events, but I have not reached my full potential in the high jump and the 800m. In Torun I will try to do my best and why not being close to my Spanish record.”

Sofía Miranda, councilor of Sports at Madrid City Hall:

“I am really happy to be here. Last year the Villa de Madrid indoor meeting was one of the last events we host before the pandemic, with audience in the stands. It was very nice, we saw a world record and I hope this edition to be as nice, although the fans cannot be at Gallur with all of us.

Sport cannot stop. Sport is safe. We are not part of the problem; we are part of the solution. I hope that next year we will have the stands crowded and that Madrid will be the world capital of sport, because sport is the best ambassador we have.”  

The Villa de Madrid indoor meeting will start on 24 February at 15:30 CET, with the last race being scheduled at 19:00.