Mohamed Katir and Adel Mechaal, the Spanish outright 3000m record-holder and European indoor 3000m record-holder respectively, will line up at the final meeting of the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold series in Madrid — on Wednesday 2 March.
Multiple Spanish record holder and Olympic 5000m finalist Katir seeks to break the European indoor 3000m record set by his fellow countryman Mechaal two weeks ago in Staten Island with 7:30.82. In front of him, a master of tactical races like Mechaal, who is in the shape of his life six months after placing fifth in the 1500m at the Tokyo Olympics with a personal best of 3:30.77 — the fourth-fastest time ever by a Spaniard.
Katir’s level of fitness during the last summer will be remembered for decades. In a span of 34 days, the 24-year-old broke the Spanish record in the 1500m (3:28.76 to place second in Monaco), the 3000m (a 7:27.64 victory in Gateshead), and the 5000m (12:50.79 in fourth position in Firenze). Earlier in the outdoor season, Katir got to win the 5000m under the rain at the Diamond League meeting in Gateshead.
After ending the year with a 27:45 win at the San Silvestre Vallecana, Katir has been training in altitude and has only raced once this indoor campaign — a 7:36.62 seventh place in Liévin after pushing hard to keep the pace high for several laps.
Following his success in Tokyo, Mechaal has been racing cross country and roads during autumn and winter. Back in December, the 31-year-old finished 16th at the European Cross Country Championship in Fingal-Dublin, then in middle-January set the second-fastest Spanish 10km time in history with 27:50 in Ibiza.
Since then, Mechaal has seemed almost unbeatable. Just in the last four weeks he:
- 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 — just two days after racing in Karlsruhe.
- Has broken the European 3000m record with 7:30.82 in a dominant win at World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Staten Island.
- Has placed fourth in Spain’s indoor 1500m all-time list with a 3:35.30 runner-up in Birmingham.
Katir and Mechaal have faced six times over the 3000m, with a 6-0 knockout to Mechaal. Last time they raced together, the European record holder claimed bronze at the European Indoor Championship in Torun, while Katir finished fourth.
The rematch will take place on Wednesday 2 March at CDM Gallur in Madrid.