The World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold moves on to Madrid for the final meeting in the 2022 series on Wednesday 2 March. Madrid22 was presented on Tuesday morning at Conde Duque cultural center — where Royal Spanish Athletics Federation (RFEA) president Raúl Chapado, councilor of Sports at Madrid City Hall Sofía Miranda and athletes Yulimar Rojas, Adel Mechaal, Mohamed Katir, Marta Pérez, and Mariano García answered the media questions at pre-meeting press conference.
Raúl Chapado, RFEA president:
“We are presenting the first great event in such a special year for Madrid because the city has been named the 2022 World Capital of Sport. We are going to enjoy it, moreover with the return of public to the stands.
“Russia and Ukraine’s conflict has an impact on us because some Russian and Ukrainian athletes were about to compete in Madrid, but they chose to decline the invitation some days ago due to the tough situation.
“Yesterday I sent a letter to World Athletics and European Athletics presidents to support any decision they took. I also addressed the Ukrainian Athletic Federation president to offer support in case any Ukrainian athlete wanted to come to Spain in order to train safely.”
Sofía Miranda, councilor of Sports at Madrid City Hall:
“I am really happy and excited that we are going to hold this great meeting as 2022 World Capital of Sport. It moves me to listen to the athletes because they represent empathy — the best that we the humans have. They the athletes are rivals, they clash each other, but they help each other. Nowadays, what they represent is more necessary than ever. We want to send a message of hope and to transmit everything that people are capable of achieving.”
Yulimar Rojas, Olympic triple jump champion and world record holder:
“It’s always a pleasure to compete in Madrid —the city I feel like mine—, to enjoy and put on a show. I have started the season in good shape, jumping a personal best in the long jump. I have been training a lot and I want to show it on the track. I will jump in Belgrade because the World Indoor Championship is what has pushed me up since the Olympics came to an end, but I am not sure yet if I will double the long jump and the triple jump.
“I know I can jump further than I have done. It’s not easy to leap 16 meters, but neither is impossible. I know I have a huge mark in my legs.”
Adel Mechaal, European indoor 3000m record-holder:
“My goal is to beat Lamecha Girma because I don’t want to give Ethiopia the chance of participate with three athletes in Belgrade because of the World Indoor Tour wildcard. Having such a talented rival like Katir in Spain pushes you to give a little more of yourself every race.”
Mohamed Katir, Spain’s 1500m, 3000m and 5000m record-holder:
“I wanted to get the European record Adel Mechaal broke, but I was ill with covid in January. People say Mechaal and I are rivals, but he is still a role model for me, and I hope we can race each other for many years.”
Marta Pérez, Olympic 1500m finalist:
“Gallur is the neighborhood track for me. It’s close to my home and I have been running in this meet for years. It’s a meeting I like to run at, it makes me excited, and I want to run in a fast race — like tomorrow’s one probably will be. I think I can better my 4:07.37 PB”.
Mariano García, world 800m leader:
“My friend Álvaro de Arriba took the win at Spanish Championship last weekend, and I want to get revenge tomorrow, and put on a show. I haven’t thought the race tactics yet, but I guess the plan is to win, tough anything can happen in the 800m.”