Preview and Start Lists for the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold level meeting Villa de Madrid which takes place on Tuesday, March 2.
World and olympic champion Yulimar Rojas returns to the Centro Deportivo Municipal Gallur, where she broke the world indoor record leaping to 15.43m in February 2020.
The Venezuelan triple jumper will compete in the triple jump for the first time since the Wanda Diamond League final in Zurich last September, when she leapt to 15.48m. Last August Rojas won the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo improving the world outdoor record to 15.67m.
Rojas trains in Guadalajara just 66 km away from the Spanish capital under the guidance of four-time long jump world outdoor champion Ivan Pedroso. She started the 2022 season with a win in the long jump with an indoor PB of 6.81m in the World Indoor Tour meeting in Liévin.
Yulimar Rojas: “I have been working hard. What motivates me now is becoming world champion. I hope to have a good competition over the 15 metres barrier. I think I have good shape, and I am very motivated to produce a big jump for the fans. I don’t want to say a specific mark but I will do my best”.
Rojas will line up against Liadagmis Povea from Cuba, who finished fifth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo with 14.70m, and Nubia Soares from Brazil, who won the South American title in 2017 with 14.42m.
Women’s 1500 metres:
Olympic 5000m bronze medallist Gudaf Tsegay will be looking to improve her own world indoor record of 3:53.09 set in Liévin last year. The 24-year-old Ethiopian athlete won the mile in Liévin in 4:21.72 despite a fall in the first lap and set the second fastest time in history clocking 3:54.77 in Torun last week.
Tsegay will line up against four Olympic 1500 metres finalists: her fellow Ethiopian rival Freweyni Hailu, Oceanian record holder Jessica Hull and fellow Australian runner Linden Hall and Spanish champion Marta Perez.
Freweyni Hailu finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 3:57.60 in the fastest 1500m final in history. Hailu moved up to third in the Ethiopian all-time list with 3:56.28 in Monaco and to fourth in the 800m with 1:57.57 in Chorzow. In this year’s World Indoor Tour Gold season Hailu finished third in two 1500m races in Karlsruhe in 4:02.66 and Torun in 4:02.50.
The other top Ethiopian athletes are Hirut Meshesha and Lemlem Hailu.
Meshesha finished second in the 1500m in Karlsruhe in 4:02.14 and third in the mile in Liévin in 4:27.19. Lemlem Hailu set her PB in the 3000m clocking 8:29.28 in Madrid last year and finished second in 4:02.25 in the 1500 metres in Torun.
The best non-Ethiopian runner in the line-up is Australia’s Jessica Hull, who set the Oceanian outdoor record in the 1500m clocking 3:58.81 in the Olympic semifinal in Tokyo before finishing 11th in the final. Hull also set Oceanian records in the indoor 1500m with 4:04.14 in Boston in 2020 in the mile indoors with 4:24.06 in New York in 2022 and holds the Australian outdoor records in the 3000m with 8:36.03, in the 5000m with 14:43.80 and in the indoor 3000m with 8:39.79. Hull will face her compatriot Linden Hall, who finished sixth in the Olympic final in the 1500m in 3:59.01.
The Spanish hopes are carried by Marta Perez, who finished ninth in the 1500m Olympic final in Tokyo setting the Spanish second fastest time in history with 4:02.12, and Esther Guerrero, who won the 1500m in the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Staten Island. Guerrero leads 11-10 in her career head-to-head clashes against Perez. Perez placed fourth in four Diamond League races last year and set the Spanish second best indoor 3000 time in Staten Island with 8:44.40. Guerrero broke the national indoor record in the mile clocking 4:28.54 in Liévin.
Marta Perez: “Gallur is the neighborhood track for me. It’s close to my home and I have been running in this meeting 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 improve my PB of 4:07.37”.
The line-up is completed by European under 23 champion Gaia Sabbatini, who set the second fastest Italian time in history in the 1500m with 4:02.25 in the Olympic Games semifinal in Tokyo and won the 800m national indoor title in 2:01.07, and Meraf Bahta from Sweden, who won the European gold medal in the 5000m in Zurich 2014.
Men’s 3000 metres:
The Ethiopian trio formed by Lemecha Girma, Selemon Barega and Getnet Wale will face Spanish stars Adel Mechaal and Mohamed Katir.
Girma won two World Indoor Tour races in the 3000m this year in Liévin clocking 7:30.54, the fastest time among the entrants, and in Torun with 7:31.09 beating Barega both times. The Ethiopian runner finished second in the 3000m steeplechase in both the World Championships in Doha 2019 and the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021. He set his 3000m indoor PB clocking 7:27.98 in Liévin in 2021.
Wale missed Daniel Komen’s world indoor record in the 3000m by clocking 7:24.98 in Liévin in 2021 beating Barega, who clocked the third fastest time in history of 7:26.10. Barega went on to win the Olympic gold medal in the 10000m in Tokyo and started his 2022 season with two runner-up spots in Liévin in 7:30.66 and Torun with 7:31.39.
Mechaal placed fifth in the Olympic 1500m final in Tokyo with 3:30.77. This winter Mechaal broke the European indoor record clocking 7.30.82 in the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Staten Island. In his other two appearances in the World indoor Tour Mechaal finished second in Karslruhe in the 3000m in 7:36.57 and second in the 1500m in 3:35.30 in Birmingham moving up to fourth in the Spanish all-time time.
Mechaal won the bronze medal in the 3000m at the European Indoor Championships in Torun 2021, while Katir placed fourth.
Adel Mechaal: “It’s been a long season. I started racing cross country in the autumn and didn’t stop racing to this point, but I am heading to the last part of it with a lot of hope for Belgrade. The Ethiopians are going to be hard to beat, but I want to be as close as possible to the medals”.
Katir broke three Spanish outdoor records in just 34 days in Diamond League meetings clocking 12:50.79 in the 5000m in Florence, 3:28.76 in the 1500m in Monaco, 7:27.64 in Gateshead. This winter season the 24-year-old Spanish athlete finished seventh in the 3000m in Liévin in 7:36.82.
Mohamed Katir: “I wanted to get the European record that Adel Mechaal broke, but I was ill with covid last 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”.
Women’s high jump:
Eleanor Patterson from Australia is looking to continue her impressive season after winning the high jump meeting in Banska Bystrika with a world leading mark of 1.99m. Patterson went on to win with 1.97m at the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Birmingham. The Australian jumper, who finished fifth in the Olympic final in Tokyo with 1.96m, will take on 2010 world under 20 champion Marija Vukovic from Montenegro, who set a national record of 1.96m in Banska Bystrika, 2017 world outdoor silver medallist Yuliya Levchenko from the Ukraine, and Emily Borthwick from Great Britain, who won in Karlsruhe with 1.91m and in Hustopece with her PB of 1.95m.
Men’s shot put:
The men’s shot put features the top four European shot putters of the season: Croatian record holder Filip Mihaljevic (21.84m), Polish record holder Konrad Bukowiecki (21.83m) and Italian shot putters Nick Ponzio (21.53m) e Zane Weir (21.50m).
Mihaljevic will return to Madrid, where he won in 2020 with a then national record of 21.74. The Croatian shot putter won the World Indoor Tour meeting in Torun last Thursday beating Bukowiecki by just one cm with a national record of 21.84m. In his career he won the world indoor bronze medal in Portland 2016 and the European Indoor Championships bronze medal in Torun in 2021.
Bukowiecki has broken the 22 metres barrier outdoors with 22.25m and indoors with 22.00m and won two consecutive European Under 23 gold medals in Bydgoszcz 2017 and Gavle 2019, the European Indoor gold medal in Belgrade 2017 and the European outdoor silver medal in Berlin 2018. The Polish shot putter finished second three times in Madrid in 2016, 2019 and 2020.
Nick Ponzio is looking to continue his impressive season highlighted by a third place in Torun with his indoor PB of 21.53m and the Italian indoor title in Ancona last weekend with 21.34m.
Zane Weir from Italy finished fifth with 21.41m in the Olympic final in Tokyo. The Italian shot putter, who grew up in South Africa, improved his outdoor PB to 21.65m in Pietermaritzburg last January and finished fourth in the World Indoor Tour meeting in Torun with 21.50m.
The line-up is completed by Bob Bertemes from Luxemburg, who improved the national outdoor record to 22.22m, Portuguese shot putters Francisco Belo, who placed fourth at the past two editions of the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow 2019 and Torun 2021, and Tsanko Arnaudov, 2016 European bronze medallist and eight-time Spanish champion Carlos Tobalina.
Men’s 800 metres:
Mariano Garcia from Spain will be chasing his third win in this year’s World Indoor Tour after finishing first in Staten Island with a world leading mark of 1:45.12 and Liévin in 1:46.29 ahead of Elliot Giles from Great Britain. Garcia will renew his rivalry with Giles, who also won two races in the circuit in Karlsruhe in 1:46.78 and Torun in 1:45.42 and finished second in Birmingham behind Collins Kipruto, who set his indoor PB clocking 1:45.39 in the Muller Indoor Grand Prix in the British meeting. The line-up also features Andreas Kramer, who set the Swedish indoor record of 1:45.09 in Torun last year, and Michael Saruni from Kenya, who set the third fastest indoor time in history clocking 1:43.95 in Tucson in 2018.
Mariano Garcia: “My friend Alvaro De Arriba took the win at the Spanish Championships and I want to get revenge tomorrow, and put on a good show. I have not thought the race tactics yet, but I guess the plan is to win, although anything can happen in the 800m”.
Women’s 800 metres:
Australia’s Catriona Bisset will be chasing another sub-2 minutes time after setting the Oceanian indoor record of 1:59.46 in Birmingham. Bisset will take on Jenny Salman from Great Britain, who clocked 2:00.70 in Glasgow a few weeks ago and won the British indoor title in Birmingham last weekend, and Germany’s Christina Hering, who finished fourth in Birmingham in her seasonal best of 2:00.94 and won the German indoor title last weekend in Leipzig in 2:02.88.
Men’s triple jump:
Former under 18 and under 20 champion Jordan Diaz from Cuba will make his third appearance this winter. Diaz set the world leading mark of 17.27m in the Spanish city of Salamanca. He will face Lazaro Martinez, who leapt to 17.21m in Liévin, Max Hess from Germany, who won the European outdoor gold medal in Amsterdam 2016 and the European Indoor bronze medal in Torun 2021, and Andreas Pantazis from Greece, who won the World Indoor Tour meeting in Karlsruhe with 16.79m.
Women’s long jump:
Lorraine Ugen from Great Britain will take on Spanish rising star Maria Vicente, Fatima Diamé from Spain, US Quanesha Burks and 2019 European Under 20 champion Larissa Iapichino from italy.
Ugen won the world indoor bronze medal setting a then British Indoor record of 6.93m in Portland 2016 and the European Indoor silver medal improving her national record to 6.97m in Belgrade. The British jumper claimed the victory in the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Staten Island with 6.71m and won the British Indoor title in Birmingham with 6.75m. She set her outdoor PB of 7.05m in Birmingham in 2018, missing the outright national record by just 2 cm.
Spanish heptathlon record holder Maria Vicente leapt to an indoor PB of 6.70m in San Sebastian and won the Spanish indoor pentathlon title with a national record of 4582 points in Ourense last week. She went on to win the national indoor under 23 title and finished third in Liévin in 6.62m. Vicente won two European under 18 gold medals in the triple jump and in the heptathlon in Gyor 2018, the European Under 20 gold medal in the heptathlon with 6115 points in 2019 and the World Under 18 gold medal in the heptahlon in Nairobi in 2017. Last year she claimed the win in the Multistars meeting in Lana with her PB of 6304 points.
Fatima Diamé from Spain will compete for the second time at this year’s World Indoor Tour finishing second with 6.64m in Liévin. Earlier this year Diamé won the triple jump with 14.17m at the Spanish Club Championships at the Centro Deportivo Municipal de Gallur and took part at the Olympic Games after improving her outdoor PB in the long jump to 6.82m.
Larissa Iapichino improved the world indoor under 20 record held by Heike Drechsler to 6.91m at the Italian Indoor Championships in Ancona 2021. Iapichino got injured at the Italian Championships in Rovereto last June and was forced to miss the Olympc Games. She made her come-back last January with a leap of 6.59m and won the Italian Under 23 Championships in Ancona with 6.49m, but she made three fouls at the Italian Indoor Championships last weekend.
Men’s 60 metres:
Elijah Hall will line-up against Michael Rodgers in a re-match of 60 metres race in Torun. In the Polish meeting Hall won in 6.53 beating Rodgers by 0.02. The best European sprinters in the field are Jimmy Vicaut from France, who won the European Indoor title in Goteborg in 2013 in his lifetime best of 6.48 and clocked 6.59 twice in Liévin and Dusseldorf this year, reigning European Under 23 champion Jeremiah Azu from Great Britain, who improved his lifetime best to 6.56 in the semifinals of the British Championships in Birmingham last weekend, Joris Van Gool from the Netherlands, third at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow 2019, and Bernat Canet, who won the Spanish title in 6.61 last weekend.
Men’s 60 metres hurdles:
Two young Spanish hurdlers Asler Martinez and Enrique Llopis hold the fastest times in the field. European Under 23 champion Martinez improved his indoor PB to 7.55 in Metz a few weeks ago. Llopis won the European Under 23 bronze medal and finished third in 7.59 in Karlsuhe. Reigning world indoor champion Andy Pozzi from Great Britain will be looking to improve his seasonal best of 7.59 set in Birmingham. The other name to watch is Jason Joseph, who broke the Swiss record in the 110m hurdles clocking 13.12 in La Chaux de Fonds last summer.
Women’s 60 metres hurdles:
Reetta Hurske from Finland and Zoe Sedney from the Netherlands have already broken the 8 seconds barrier this year. Hurske won two meetings in Berlin in 7.99 and Lodz in 7.93 and finished second in Dusseldorf in 8.01 and Torun in 7.96 in a consistent season.
Sedney won the 60m hurdles race at the World Indoor Tour meeting in Birmingham in 8.02 and the national title in Apeldoorn in 7.98.
The other favourite is Laeticia Bapté, who won the World Indoor Tour race in Liévin in 8.00 and the French title last weekend in 8.04 in Miramas last weekend.
The best Spanish hurdlers in the line-up are Tereza Errandonea, and Xenia Benach, who finished first and second at the National Championships in Ourense last weekend.
Women’s 400 metres:
Reigning Olympic 4x400 mixed relay champion Justyna Swiety Ersetic leads a good-quality field in the women’s 400 metres with her seasonal best of 51.40 set in Torun last week. The Polish athlete won the European outdoor 400m and the 4x400 relay in Berlin 2018 and two silver medals in the 4x400 relay at the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade 2017 and Glasgow 2019.
The line-up also features Phil Healy from Ireland, who clocked 51.74 this year and won the national indoor title with 51.75 last weekend, Juste Morauskaite from Lithuania, who set the national indoor with 52.02, and the last two Spanish champions Laura Bueno (52.77) and Auuri Lorena Bokosa (52.90).