A fascinating showdown between Yulimar Rojas and Ana Peleteiro in the women’s triple jump should be among the main attractions on Friday (8) as the IAAF World Indoor Tour continues in Madrid at the recently inaugurated Centro Deportivo Municipal Gallur.
The World Indoor Tour, this year celebrating its fourth edition, kicked off in Boston on 26 January with the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix and crossed the Atlantic to the Indoor Meeting Karlsruhe on 2 February where athletes began collecting points in 11 designated tour disciplines. After reaching its midway point in Torun on Wednesday (6), further stops will include Madrid (8) and Birmingham (16) before the finale in Düsseldorf (20) where the series winners will be crowned, awarded their US$20,000 prize bonuses and handed the first wildcard entries for the IAAF World Indoor Championships Nanjing 2020.
ROJAS AIMING FOR REVENGE ON PELETEIRO
The Venezuelan world indoor and outdoor champion and her Spanish training mate Peleteiro clashed last Saturday in Karlsruhe when the latter managed a career best of 14.51m. Rojas finished second with 14.45m in her first competition since winning the world indoor title in Birmingham where Peleteiro took her first major senior medal, landing bronze.
The field also features the European outdoor and indoor silver medallists, Germany’s Kristin Gierisch and Portugal’s Patricia Mamona respectively. Gierisch managed 14.31m in Karlsruhe while Mamona beat her on that occasion to equal her national record of 14.36m.
SCHIPPERS FACES IN-FORM SWOBODA
The women's 60m features the second head-to-head showdown of 2019 between Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers and 2017 European indoor silver medallist Ewa Swoboda of Poland.
The 21-year-old Pole clearly beat her illustrious rival – holder of a 7.00 PB – in Karlsruhe last weekend (7.10 to 7.19) and ran even faster in the heats with a world-leading 7.08, so Madrid will provide two-time world 200m champion Schippers a good chance to take revenge.
Swoboda, who also won in Torun on Wednesday in 7.15, will be aiming to prove her win was no fluke and better her lifetime best of 7.07. The Pole is having a busy and successful week as she also won in Lodz on Monday, clocking 7.13.
EATON-ORTEGA CHAPTER TWO
The 60m hurdles witnesses a mouth-watering clash between world indoor silver medallist Jarret Eaton of the US and Spain’s Olympic silver medallist Orlando Ortega.
Eaton has the marginally faster PB – 7.43 to Ortega's 7.45 – but the Spaniard prevailed in Torun on Wednesday, winning in a season's best of 7.49 while Eaton was third in 7.60.
Olympic finalist Milan Trajkovic of Cyprus finished between the pair in Torun with a season's best of 7.54 and will line up against them in Madrid. The field also includes France's world indoor bronze medallist Aurel Manga, who has recorded 7.64 this season.
JANEZIC LOOKING TO DENY LOCAL WIN
The men’s 400m is billed as a thrilling Óscar Husillos-Lugelin Santos encounter but it’s Slovenia Luka Janezic who should be tipped as the hot favourite as he is fresh from a 46.13 win in Vienna and a 46.46 clocking in Torun.
Meanwhile Husillos clocked 47.12 for second in Karlsruhe where he clearly beat 2012 Olympic silver medallist Santos (47.71). USA’s Nathan Strother, who ran 46.32 to win his heat in Torun, Poland’s Karol Zalewsky (46.67) and Zambian teenager Kennedy Luchembe should also be in the hunt for victory.
INDOOR DEBUT FOR SU
The shortest event of the 12-discipline competition features the season’s debut of China’s world indoor silver medallist Su Bingtian, holder of the Asian indoor record of 6.42 set last year in Birmingham.
His compatriot Xie Zhenye, fourth on that occasion, will also be on show alongside Ivory Coast’s Arthur Cisse, who recently set a national record of 6.53, and the US duo of Mike Rodgers (6.55) and Brandon Carnes (6.64).
The women’s pole vault has a high-quality line-up led by authorised neutral athlete Anzhelika Sidorova, the world indoor silver medallist. She cleared 4.85m in her indoor opener but tied at 4.71m with Alysha Newman last Saturday in Karlsruhe, a national record for the Canadian who is also on the Madrid slate.
Watch out too for Greece’s 2015 world bronze medallist Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou, who has a best of 4.63m so far this season.
None of the contenders assembled for the men’s long jump has jumped beyond eight metres so far this season but Madrid should be the venue of some good jumping on Friday with European champion Miltiadis Tentoglou, who has leapt 7.99m, on show. Italy’s sprinter-jumper Lamont Marcell Jacobs, an 8.07m jumper with 10.08 100m speed, should also be a factor on Friday.
INTRIGUING MIDDLE DISTANCE TESTS
The longer events on the programme won’t benefit from Madrid's altitude (670m) but the fields are of a high calibre.
In the women’s 1500m, Kenya’s Winny Chebet, a creditable fifth at the last World Indoors with sub-4:00 outdoor credentials, will take on Poland’s European outdoor bronze and indoor silver medallist Sofia Ennaoui. They will face the in-form Irishwoman Ciara Mageean, who clocked a 4:28:31 national indoor mile record in Boston. Local chances rest with Marta Pérez, who has clocked 4:10.10 this campaign.
The 3000m looks to be between Dutchwoman Maureen Koster and Ethiopia’s 2016 world indoor 1500m bronze medallist Gudaf Tsegay. They faced off last Saturday in Karlsruhe where the Ethiopian finished third in 8:46.27 while Koster, the 2015 European indoor bronze medallist, finished fifth in 8:47.61.
The men’s 1500m is also shaping well, featuring the Kenyan duo of Bethwel Birgen and Vincent Kibet. Birgen is the world indoor bronze medallist and has shown fine early fitness this season with runner-up spots in Boston (3:54.82 for the mile) and Karlsruhe (3:38.69 for the 1500m). But he was defeated in the German city by Kibet, who clocked 3:38.23.
CLASH OF THE TITANS IN THE SHOT PUT
There will be some fierce competition in the non-scoring events in Madrid.
The line-up in the men’s shot put is headed by the Polish duo of Michal Haratyk and Konrad Bukowiecki plus Germany's David Storl. The Polish pair secured a 1-2 for their country at last summer’s European Championships in Berlin where both defeated the local hero Storl.
Haratyk, 26, opened his indoor season last Saturday with a 20.45m effort which he will be eager to improve upon while Bukowiecki, the European indoor champion, kicked off his indoor campaign on Monday in Lodz with a fine 20.95m effort. As for Storl, the 28-year-old multiple medallist will arrive in Madrid fresh from a season's best of 21.26m in Chemnitz on Sunday.
This trio, all 22-metre throwers at their best, should be challenged by Canada’s Tim Nedow, who has reached 20.68m this season.
DE ARRIBA HOPING TO SHINE ON HOME TURF
The men’s 800m promises to be a European affair thanks to Spain’s Álvaro de Arriba and Denmark’s Andreas Bube. The Dane bagged silver at the 2017 European Indoor Championships and opened his 2019 campaign in Karlsruhe with 1:47:43, while De Arriba ran his indoor debut over 400m on 26 January in his hometown Salamanca, clocking 47.87. Spain’s 2013 European indoor silver medallist Kevin López will also be in contention.
That trio duo will be chased by the Kenyan tandem of Cornelius Tuwei and Ngeno Kipgetich. The former clocked 1:43:82 outdoors last season and has proved to be in good fitness recently with a 1:48.12 victory in Val-de-Reuil and a 3:40.38 1500m clocking for second in Dortmund. Kipgetich arrives with a 1:48:84 season’s best.