Three Spanish Olympic figures will be in action at Madrid 22, the final meeting of World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold, on 2 March: Rio 2016 110m hurdles silver medalist Orlando Ortega and Tokyo 2020 1500m finalists Adel Mechaal and Marta Pérez.
Orlando Ortega is the last Spanish male athlete to capture Olympic and global medals in any event. The 30-year-old has become the most regular hurdler of the world in recent years, remaining unbeaten in 2020 outdoor season and winning Diamond League meetings in every single season since 2015 except 2021, when he suffered several injuries. The last one, just before the heats in Tokyo, was a hard blow for the Spanish.
In Madrid, Ortega will start his way to Eugene 2022, his main goal of the year.
The last time Ortega won an indoor race in Madrid was in 2017. Since then, the Spanish 60m and 110m hurdles record holder has reached the World Championship final in London 2017 and has claimed European bronze in Berlin 2018 and world bronze in Doha 2019.
Ortega also took the Diamond League title in 2019 after winning Palo Alto, Lausanne, and Brussels meetings. The following year the Spanish star won the four races he entered in — Monaco, Székesfehérvár, Chorzów and Marseille — and set a world lead of 13.11 in the 110m hurdles.
Adel Mechaal has been fighting for international medals for almost a decade since he got silver in the 5000m at European Championship in 2016. In 2017 he became European 3000m indoor champion and finished fourth at World Championship in London.
However, Mechaal’s biggest success came four years later, in 2021. Already in his thirties, the versatile runner reached the Olympic glory in Tokyo, where he crossed the line in the 1500m final in fifth position with 3:30.77 — a three-second personal best and the fourth fastest time ever run by a Spaniard.
Since the Olympics, specially in 2022, Mechaal has stood almost unbeatable. Just in the last four weeks he:
- Has placed second in Spain’s 10km all-time list with 27:50.
- Has set the (then) fourth fastest 3000m time ever run by a Spanish athlete with 7:36.57 to finish second at World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Karlsruhe.
- Has won his second national cross country title in Jaén.
- Has broken the Spanish and European 3000m record with 7:30.82 in a dominant win at World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Staten Island.
In Madrid, Mechaal will race the 3000m and will try to become just the second Spanish athlete to win a World Indoor Tour Gold overall title in any event, as Orlando Ortega did in the 60m hurdles in 2017.
Like Mechaal, Marta Pérez reached her career peak at the Olympics. The 28-year-old had been a regular finalist at European Championships in 1500m for years, being a medal contender indoors in Torun 2021, but had never hit the final in a global stage competition.
Things changed for the middle-distance runner in Tokyo. Pérez set personal bests in the 1500m heats (4:04.76) and semifinal (4:01.69) and did it again in the fastest Olympic final of all-time, where she placed ninth with 4:00.12 — just half a second off the Spanish record.
Since then, Pérez has finished fourth at three different Diamond League meets including the final in Zurich and has run the second-fastest 3000m time by a Spaniard indoors with 8:44.40. On 2 March, she will toe the line in the 1500m in Madrid.