Twelve reigning Olympic champions are among the entries for the World Athletics Championships Belgrade 2022. 680 athletes from 137 teams are entered for the big global event, which takes place at the Stark Arena in the Serbian capital from 18 to 20 March.
The list of Tokyo Olympic champions entered for the World Indoor Championships features Ryan Crouser (shot put), Armand Duplantis (pole vault), Jakob Ingebrigtsen (1500 metres), Selemon Barega (3000m), Marcell Jacobs (60 metres), Pedro Pablo Pichardo (triple jump), Gianmarco Tamberi (high jump), Miltiadis Tentoglou (long jump) and Damian Warner (heptathlon).
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Christian Coleman will defend his world indoor title won four years ago in Birmingham in 6.37. The US sprint star made his come-back after a 18-month ban as a result of three missed anti-doping tests at the Millrose Games, where he won the 60m in 6.49. The reigning 100m world outdoor champion won the US Indoor title in Spokane equalling the world leading time with 6.45. Coleman has remained unbeaten in the indoor 60 metres since 2017 and holds the three fastest times in history. If he wins in Belgrade, he would become the second back-to-back winner after Canada’s Bruny Surin, who won two consecutive titles in Toronto 1993 and Barcelona 1995.
Reigning Olympic 100 metres champion Marcell Jacobs won his first four 60 metres races of the 2022 indoor season in Berlin (6.51), Lodz (6.47), Liévin (6.50) and at the Italian Indoor Championships in Ancona (6.55), but he was disqualified for a false start at the Belgrade meeting on 7 March.
Marcell Jacobs: “It is the first false start of my life. It has never happened before. I have no anger. A false start is part of the game, but the Belgrade meeting is already behind me. It was better to do it now than to do at the World Indoor Championships. The good news is that I tried out the track ahead of the World Indoor Championships. The track is raised, with many vibrations. It’s very bouncy. Potentially you can run fast but you must execute well and today I understood how to do it”.
Coleman leads 3-0 in his head-to-head races against Jacobs after beating the Italian sprinter in the Golden Gala in Rome in 2019 and twice in the heats and the semifinals at the World Championships in Doha 2019.
Marvin Bracy will make his second appearance at the World Indoor Championships eight years after winning the silver medal in Sopot 2014. Bracy finished second to Coleman equalling his PB with 6.48 at the US Indoor Championships in Spokane. The former American Football player was one of the most consistent sprinters last summer and won three Continental Tour 100m races in Rovereto (9.98), Berlin (9.96) and Zagreb (9.86).
The other sprinters to watch out for are Emmanuel Matadi from Liberia, who won the African 200m bronze medal in 2016 and improved his PB to 6.52 in Louisville this year, Arthur Cissé from Ivory Coast, who equalled his national record with 6.53 in Metz last month, and Rikkoi Brathwaite from the British Virgin Islands in a PB of 6.52.
Liemarvin Bonevacia from the Netherlands leads the entry list with his national record of 45.48 set at last February’s Dutch Indoor Championships in Apeldoorn. Bonevacia won the bronze medal in the 400m and the gold in the 4x400 relay at the European Indoor Championships in Torun 2021. Later last year he finished eighth in the Olympic final in the 400m and won the Olympic bronze medal in the 4x400 in Tokyo. A few weeks later the 32-year-old Dutchman broke the national outdoor record clocking 44.48 in Bern missing Thomas Schoenlebe’s European outdoor record by 0.15.
Trevor Bassitt carries the best US hopes after winning the National indoor title in Spokane in 46.27. Bassitt won two races in the 400m in 45.36 and in the 60m hurdles in 7.73 at the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships in Pittsburgh last weekend.
The other top contenders for a medal are Jereem Richards from Trinidad and Tobago, who won the bronze medal in the 200 and the gold in the 4x400 at the World Championships in London 2017, Carl Bengstrom from Sweden, who clocked 45.91 in Vaxjo, and Benjamin Vedel, who finished first in 45.94 in the Belgrade Indoor meeting on 7 March.
Mariano Garcia from Spain leads the world seasonal list with his national indoor record of 1:45.12 set in the World Indoor Tour meeting in Staten Island. Garcia also finished second in 1:45.82 in Madrid.
Bryce Hoppel won the US Indoor title in Spokane setting the second fastest time in the world this year with 1:45.30 and finished second to Garcia in 1:46.08 in Staten Island. The US 24-year-old 800m middle distance runner won the NCAA outdoor title in 1:44.41 and finished fourth in 1:44.25 at the World Championships in Doha in 2019.
Elliot Giles won three World Indoor Tour races in Karlsruhe (1:46.78), Torun (1:45.42) and Madrid (1:45.43) and finished second to Collins Kipruto in Birmingham. Kipruto won the World Indoor Tour Standings in the 800m in 2020 and improved his PB to 1:45.39 in Birmingham.
Olympic and European indoor and outdoor champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen will make the first appearance of his career at the World Indoor Championships. Ingebrigtsen won the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo setting the European record with 3:28.32.
The Norwegian star started the 2022 indoor season breaking Samuel Tefera world indoor record with 3:30.60 in Liévin.
Tefera will defend his world indoor title won four years ago in Birmingham when he was 18 years old. The Ethiopian 1500m specialist, who held the previous world indoor record with 3:31.04, finished second to Ingebrigsten in Liévin this year clocking 3:33.70 and won the 3000m in Metz in 7:37.45.
The Kenyan challenge is led by Abel Kipsang, who finished fourth in the 1500m in the Olympic final in Tokyo in 3:29.56 and won the 1500m in 3:34.57 in the World Indoor Tour meeting in Birmingham last month. He recently clocked 1:45.84 in the 800 metres in Kenya.
The other athletes to watch are Oliver Hoare from Australia, who won the Wanamaker Mile in New York in 3:50.82, British middle distance runners Neil Gourley, who clocked 3:35.32 in Boston last month, and George Mills, who improved his PB to 3:36.03 in Birmingham last month, Olympic finalist Ignacio Fontes frm Spain, Robert Farken from Germany, who set his lifetime best of 3:35.44 in Birmingham, and Andrew Coscoran from Ireland, who won the mile in the World Indoor Tour meeting in Staten Island in 3:53.64.
Ethiopian runners Berihu Aregawi, Selemon Barega and Lemecha Girma will be in the spotlight in the men’s 3000 metres.
Aregawi clocked 7:26.20 in the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting setting the fifth fastest time in history. The 21-year-old runner finished fourth in the 10000m in the Olympic final and won the 5000m in the Wanda Diamond League final in Zurich. On New Year’s Eve he broke the world 5 km record clocking 12:49 in Barcelona.
Girma, who won the silver medal in the 3000m steeplechase at the World Championships in Doha 2019 and the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021, won two World Indoor Tour races in Liévin (7:30.54) and Torun (7:31.09) beating Olympic 10000 metres champion Barega both times.
Barega avenged this defeats by beating Girma in 7:34.03 in a close race in Madrid. Barega set the third fastest time in history clocking 7:26.10 in Liévin last year beating Girma, who ran under 7:30 with 7:27.98.
Adel Mechaal from Spain won the 3000m race in Staten Island breaking the European Indoor record with 7:30.82. Mechal finished fifth in the 1500 metres at the Olympic Games and won the 3000m European Indoor gold medal in Belgrade 2017.
The Kenyan challenge is led by Jacob Krop, who finished third in Karlsruhe and Torun and set a PB of 7:31.90 in the Polish meeting of the World Indoor Tour, and Daniel Simiu, who improved his 3000 PB to 7:37.86.
The line-up also features Geordie Beamish from New Zealand, who improved the national record to 7:39.50 at the Millrose Games in New York, and Matthew Ramsden from Australia, who clocked 7:35.65 in the Gateshead Diamond League meeting last summer.
60 metres hurdles:
World indoor record holder Grant Holloway has extended his unbeaten streak by winning all his 60 metres hurdles races in Staten Island (7.37), Liévin (7.35), Birmingham (7.41) and at US Indoor Championships (7.37). The 24-year-old hurdler will be chasing his second world title after winning the world outdoor gold medal in Doha in 2019. He broke the world indoor record clocking 7.29 in Madrid last year and went on to win the Olympic silver medal in the 110m hurdles in Tokyo and missed the world outdoor record by just 0.01 with 12.81 in the semifinals of the US Trials in Eugene.
Pascal Martinot Lagarde will be looking to add the fourth medal of his career at the World Indoor Championships after finishing second in Sopot 2014 and Portland 2016 and third in Istanbul 2012. Martinot Lagarde won the 110m European 110m title on a photo-finish in Berlin 2018 and the world outdoor bronze medal in Doha 2019 and five European Indoor medals (one gold, two silvers and one bronze). This year the 30-year-old Frenchman finished second to Holloway in his seasonal best of 7.46 in Liévin.
Martinot Lagarde will be joined by his compatriot Wilhelm Belocian, who won the European Indoor title in Torun 2021 setting his PB with 7.42 and won the French Indoor title title in 7.53 beating Martinot Lagarde.
Jarret Eaton will make his third appearance at the World Indoor Championships after finishing fourth in Portland 2016 in 7.50 and second in Birmingham 2018 in 7.47.
As Holloway won the World Indoor Tour, he received a wild card for the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade; a third spot in the US team was awarded to Aaron Mallett, who clocked 7.54 to take third place at the US Indoor Championships in Spokane.
Damian Czykier from Poland is another strong contender and arrives in Belgrade in good form after breaking the national indoor record with 7.48 in the World Indoor Tour meeting in Torun.
Andy Pozzi will defend his world title won on home soil in Birmingham 2018. The British hurdler set his seasonal best of 7.59 the Muller Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham.
Armand “Mondo” Duplantis improved his own indoor pole vault record to 6.19m at the Stark Arena in Belgrade during the World Indoor Tour Silver meeting on 7 March. Duplantis remained unbeaten this indoor season winning his four previous competitions in Karlsruhe (6.02m), Berlin (6.03m), Upssala (6.04m) and Birmingham (6.05m). The 22-year-old Swedish vaulter cleared the 6.00m barrier 37 times in his career. Before this year he set three more world records (two indoors in Torun with 6.17m, Glasgow with 6.18m and one outdoors at the Golden Gala in Rome with 6.15m in 2000).
Armand Duplantis: “I think I have tried 6.19m 50 times. It’s been a long time coming. I have never had a height that has given me that much trouble, so it’s a very good feeling. It was really hard fought over these past two years”.
Duplantis will take on Chris Nilsen, who improved the US indoor record twice to 6.02m in Tourcoing and 6.05m in Rouen and won the US Indoor title in Spokane with 5.91m. Nilsen won the Olympic silver medal with 5.97m behind Duplantis in Tokyo. The US vaulter beat his Swedish rival in the NCAA outdoor Championships in Austin with 5.95m in 2019.
The line-up features four more vaulters, who cleared 5.91m or more this indoor season: Olympic fourth placer KC Lightfoot, who cleared a seasonal best of 5.95m in Dortmund and finished second to Nilsen with 5.86m at the US Indoor Championships with 5.86m, Menno Vloon, who won the All Star Perche meeting in Clermont Ferrand with 5.87m and the Dutch indoor title in Apeldoorn with 5.91m, 2016 Olympic champion Thiago Braz Da Silva, who cleared 5.91m in Rouen, and Australia’s Kurtis Marshall, who won the gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Frenchmen Valentin Lavillenie, European Indoor silver medallist in Torun 2021 with 5.80m, and Thibaut Collet, who won the National Indoor Championships in Miramas with 5.81m, Ben Broeders from Belgium, European Under 23 gold medallist in Bydgoszcz 2017.
Olympic champion Gianmarco Tamberi from Italy was not intending to compete this indoor season, but he has changed his plans after a successful period of training in Mauritius. Tamberi shared the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo with his friend Mutaz Barshim with 2.37m. The Italian star is chasing his second world indoor title six years after his triumph in Portland 2016 with 2.36. His title collection also features the European outdoor gold medal in Amsterdam 2016, the European Indoor gold medal in Glasgow 2019.
Woo Sanghyeok carries the favourite role after a very successful indoor season. The 25-year-old South Korean high jumper leads the world indoor list with 2.36m he set in Hustopece on 5 February. He also won another top high jump in Banska Bystrica with 2.35m a few days later. The 2013 world under 18 champion finished fourth in the Olympic final in Tokyo with 2.35m.
Thomas Carmoy from Belgium is chasing another international medal one year after finishing third at the European Indoor Championships in Torun with 2.27m.
Hamish Kerr from New Zealand will be aiming to win a medal on his indoor debut. Kerr cleared 2.30 in Auckland last February and set a national outdoor record of 2.31m last year.
The other contenders are Donald Thomas from the Bahamas, who won the world outdoor title in Osaka 2007 with 2.37m, Edgar Rivera from Mexico, fourth at the World Championships in London 2017, Naoto Tobe, Japanese indoor record holder with 2.35m, Loic Gash, Swiss record holder with 2.33m, 2021 South American champion Fernando Ferreira from Brazil.
Miltiadis Tentoglou is looking to continue his collection of medals in big championships competitions. The Greek long jumper has won the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo with 8.41m beating Juan Miguel Echevarria on countback thanks to a second-best jump of 8.11m, two European Indoor titles in Belgrade 2017 and Glasgow 2019, and the European outdoor gold in Berlin 2018. Tentoglou is joint second in the world seasonal list with his jump of 8.25m in Belgrade.
Another strong championship performer is Sweden’s Thobias Montler, who won two consecutive European Indoor silver medals in 2017 and 2019. Last year the Swedish jumper finished seventh in the Olympic final in Tokyo and won the Diamond League final in Zurich.
The US team features Marquis Dendy, who won the world indoor title in Portland 2016 and the bronze medal two years later in Birmingham 2018, and Jarrion Lawson, who finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and won the US Indoor title with 8.19m in Spokane this year.
The other top contenders are José Mandros Martinez, who won the South American indoor title this year with 8.17m in Cochabamba (seventh best performance in the world indoor list this year), Yuki Hashioka from Japan, who won the world under 20 gold medal in Tampere and finished sixth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Filippo Randazzo from Italy, eighth placer in the Olympic final last year and national indoor champion with 8.00m this year, and Uruguay’s Emiliano Lasa, who finished sixth in the Olympic final in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and jumped 8.10m this year.
Pedro Pablo Pichardo is looking to continue his winning streak after claiming gold medals in the top events in 2021 at the European Indoor Championships in Torun with 17.30m and the Olympic Games in Tokyo with 17.98m and the Diamond League title in Zurich with 17.70m. Pichardo has reached the podium at every championships event he contested indoors and outdoors, apart from the World Championships in Doha, where he finished fourth with 17.82m. The Portuguese jumper of Cuban origin leapt to 16.57m in his only competition this year.
The other top candidates for the podium are US Will Claye, who won two world indoor titles in 2012 and 2018 and leapt to a seasonal best of 16.63m, Lazaro Martinez from Cuba, who won two World under 20 gold medals and this year’s World Indoor titles in Liévin with 17.21m and Torun with 17.12m, Yasser Triki from Algeria, who finished fifth at the Olympic Games with 17.43m, 2019 European Indoor champion Nazim Babayev from Azerbaijan, 2016 European outdoor champion Max Hess from Germany, two-time NCAA Indoor champion Emmanuel Ihemeje from Italy, and Jean Marc Pontvianne, who leapt to 17.08m at the Paris Bercy meeting.
Ryan Crouser will compete for the first time in his career at the World Indoor Championships. Crouser won his second consecutive Olympic gold medal in Tokyo setting the Olympic record with 23.30m. The 29-year-old US shot putter set the world records indoors with 22.82m in Fayetteville and 23.37m outdoors at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene and won the Diamond League Trophy with 22.67m in Zurich.
This year Crouser won the US Indoor Championships in Spokane with 22.51m beating Josh Awotunde, who secured the second spot in the US team for Belgrade with 21.74m.
Crouser’s top rivals are Tom Walsh from New Zealand, who won the world indoor bronze medal with 22.90m in Doha 2019 and two Olympic bronze medals in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and Birmingham 2018. Walsh won the past two world indoor titles in Portland 2016 and Doha 2018. He showed good form recently winning the national outdoor title in Hastings with 21.55m.
Konrad Bukowiecki from Poland will return to the Belgrade Stark Arena, where he won the European Indoor title in 2017. Bukowiecki finished fourth at the World Indoor Championships in Portland 2016 and holds a outdoor PB of 22.25m. This year the Polish shot put star won the World Indoor Tour standings after setting a European leading mark of 21.91m in Madrid on 2 March.
Filip Mihaljevic won the World Indoor Tour meeting in Torun with 21.84m beating Bukowiecki by one cm and finished second with 21.83m in Madrid. The Croatian athlete won the world indoor bronze medal in Portland 2016 and the European Indoor bronze medal in Torun 2021.
Italian shot putters Zane Weir and Nick Ponzio travel to Belgrade with strong medal hopes. Weir, who finished fifth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo won the shot put competition at last weekend’s European Throwing Cup in Leiria with 21.99m improving his own world outdoor seasonal best.
Weir equalled the second best Italian outdoor performance in history held by his training partner Leonardo Fabbri. The Italian shot putter of South African origin backed up this outstanding performance with his second throw of 21.89m in the fifth attempt.
Zane Weir: “I am in the right direction. I improved my PB by 33 cm. It was the result I needed ahead of the World Indoor Championships. Training went very well in the past few days. I am not surprised by this result, which makes me more optimistic. I go to the World Championships without pressure. I want to enjoy myself there. I thank my coach Paolo Dal Soglio for what he did for me”.
Ponzio broke the Italian indoor record with 21.61m in the World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid and continued his impressive season with a second place in Leiria with a outdoor PB of 21.83m setting the fourth outdoor best performance in Italian shot put history. Ponzio produced three more throws over the 21 metres barrier (21.52m, 21.41m and 21.36m).
Darlan Romani recently threw 21.71m to win the South American indoor title in Cochabamba. The Brazilian shot putter finished fourth at both the World Championships in Doha with 22.53m and the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 with 21.88m.
Two more top contenders are Tomas Stanek from Czech Republic, reigning European indoor champion in Torun 2021 and world indoor bronze medallist in Birmingham 2018, and Michal Haratyk from Poland, who won the European outdoor title in Berlin 2018 and the European indoor gold medal in Glasgow 2019. Haratyk finished second to Bukowiecki with 21.07m at the Polish Indoor Championships in Torun.
Former European Indoor champion Asmir Kolasinac from Serbia will be looking to perform well in front of his home fans after setting his seasonal best of 21.06m at the Belgrade Indoor meeting on 7 March.
The men’s eptathlon competition features three of the four finishers of last year’s Olympic decathlon in Tokyo. Canadian star Damian Warner won his first Olympic gold medal last year becoming the fourth decathlete to break the 9000 points barrier. The athlete from Ontario won the world indoor silver medal in Birmingham 2018, setting a Canadian record of 6343. His collection also features the Olympic bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and three world outdoor medals (silver in Beijing 2015, bronze in Moscow 2013 and Doha 2019). This year he missed his indoor PB by 0.01 clocking 7.63 in the 60m hurdles in his final test before travelling to Belgrade.
Warner will face a very tough competition against Garrett Scantling, who set a world leading score of 6382 at the US National Indoor Championships in Spokane to move to ninth on the world indoor all-time list. Scantling won the US Trials in Eugene with 8647 and finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo with 8611.
The other contender for a medal is Ashleigh Moloney from Australia, who won the Olympic bronze medal in the decathlon with 8649 points in Tokyo 2021 and the World Under 20 gold in Tampere 2018.
Simon Ehammer and Andri Oberholzer carry the Swiss hopes for a medal. Ehammer set the national indoor record with 6285 points last January in Aubière. His performance was highlighted by a world indoor heptathlon best of 8.26m in the long jump.
Oberholzer became the second Swiss combined eventer to surpass 6000 points, scoring 6041 points.
The strong Estonian team will feature Hans Christian Hausenberg, who set a lifetime best of 6143 points, and Karel Tilga, who won the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor titles in 2021.
The line-up also features 2019 European Indoor champion Jorge Urena from Spain, 2017 world bronze medallist Kai Kazmirek from Germany, 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Lindon Victor, and Dario Dester, Italian Indoor record holder with 6076 points.