Three reigning Olympic champions and two other individual medalists at the Tokyo Olympics will take starring roles at the final meeting of the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold series in Madrid on Wednesday 2 March.
Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas returns to the crime scene two years after breaking the world indoor triple jump record with 15.43m as Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay seeks to improve her world indoor 1500m record at CDM Gallur.
Fellow Ethiopians Selemon Barega —the 10,000m Olympic champion— and Lamecha Girma —the 3000m steeplechase runner-up— will clash the Spanish duo formed by Adel Mechaal and Mohamed Katir over the 3000m.
In addition, Olympic 4x400m mixed relay champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic of Poland will lead a good-quality 400m field.
The men’s 3000m will arguably be the best race of the meeting. Or, at least, the deepest. Barega, and Girma own the third and seventh-fastest times in history indoors with 7:26.10 and 7:27.97 respectively; while Mechaal smashed the European record with 7:30.82 few weeks ago and Katir set Spanish outdoor records in 1500m, 3000m and 5000m last summer.
In the women’s 1500m, Gudaf Tsegay will try to break her own world record of 3:53.09 just a week after clocking 3:54.77 in Torun. Four Olympic finalists in the event will toe the line alongside the reigning Olympic 5000m bronze in Madrid — fellow Ethiopian Freweyni Hailu, Oceanian record-holder Jessica Hull, fellow Australian Linden Hall, and Spanish champion Marta Pérez.
The men’s 800m race promises to be a fast one, too. #2 and #3 in all-time lists Elliot Giles (1:43.63) of Great Britain and Michael Saruni (1:43.98) of Kenya will face the Spanish quartet formed by world leader Mariano García (1:45.12), world indoor bronze medalist Saúl Ordóñez (1:46.62), Olympic finalist Adrián Ben (1:46.60) and 2019 European indoor champion Álvaro de Arriba (1:45.82).
Olympic champion and world record-holder Yulimar Rojas (15.43m) of Venezuela will get the spotlight in the mixed triple jump contest. The 26-year-old will face Cuban Liadagmis Povea (14.54m). Tough the triple jump is a non-scoring event in the women’s side, three men will fight for the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold overall title. Cuba’s Lázaro Martínez (17.21m) already has won in Liévin this indoor season, while German Max Hess (16.76m) leads the standings after placing second and third respectively in Liévin and Karlsruhe, and Finland’s Simo Lipsanen (16.71m) could get the title if he wins in Madrid.
The women’s high jump will feature world leader and Oceanian record-holder Eleanor Patterson (1.99m) of Australia besides Montenegro’s record-holder Marija Vukovic (1.96m) and the Briton Emily Borthwick (1.95m), third and fifth in the world in 2022.
In the women’s long jump contest will clash the reigning champions of the United States (Quanesha Burks, 6.65m), Great Britain (Lorraine Ugen, 6.75m) and Spain (Fátima Diame, 6.64m). The loaded field will include World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold leader Khaddi Sagnia of Sweden, Spanish leader and heptathlon record-holder María Vicente (6.70m), and world U20 record-holder Larissa Iapichino of Italy (6.59m).
Reigning Olympic 4x400m mixed relay champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic (51.40) of Poland leads a good-quality women’s 400m field, which includes Irish Phil Healy (51.74), Lithuanian Modesta Morauskaite (52.02), and the last two Spanish indoor champions, Laura Bueno (52.77) and Aauri Lorena Bokesa (52.90).
In the men’s 60m, American Michael Rodgers (6.55) and France’s Jimmy Vicaut (6.59) have run under 6.50 seconds at some point in their career. Elijah Hall (6.53) of the United States is the second-fastest ever in the 200m indoors with 20.02, Slovakian Jan Volko (6.73) took bronze at European Indoor Championship last year, Briton Jeremiah Azu (6.60) became European U23 100m champion in 2021 and Bernat Canet (6.61) won his first Spanish title last weekend.
Finland’s Reetta Hurske (7.93) and Netherlands’ Zoë Sedney (7.98) have already broken the 8-second barrier in the women’s 60m hurdles 2022 and will face Spanish outstanding duo formed by national champion Teresa Errandonea (8.12) and runner-up Xènia Benach (8.06).
The men’s shot put contest will include the four best European throwers of the year — Croatian record-holder Filip Mihaljevic (21.84m), Polish record-holder Konrad Bukowiecki (21.83m) and Italian Nick Ponzio (21.53m) and Zane Weir (21.50m).
In non World Indoor Tour scoring events, Australia’s Catriona Bisset (1:59.46) leads the women’s 800m field and will clash reigning national champions of Great Britain (Jenny Selman, 2:00.70), Germany (Christina Hering, 2:00.94) and Spain (Lorena Martín, 2:01.34). Olympic finalist Asier Martínez (7.55) of Spain will face world indoor champion Andrew Pozzi (7.59) of Great Britain and Spanish U23 champion Enrique Llopis (7.59).