Three reigning Olympic champions will compete at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade: Shaunae Miller Uibo in the 400m, Yulimar Rojas (triple jump) and Katie Nageotte (pole vault).
The expected highlights are the 60 metres with Ewa Swoboda and Muijinga Kambundji, the 400 metres with Shaunae Miller Uibo and Femke Bol, the 800 metres with olympic silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson, the 1500 metres with world indoor record holder Gudaf Tsegay, the pole vault with Katie Nageotte and Sandi Morris, the long jump with reigning world indoor champion Ivana Spanovic Vuleta, the triple jump with world indoor record holder Yulimar Rojas.
Ewa Swoboda won the Polish Indoor Championship in the 60 metres in 6.99 becoming just the third European sprinter to break the seven seconds barrier. She has also moved to tenth on the world indoor all-time list. Her time is the fastest by a European sprinter this century.
The Polish sprinter made a come-back this year after a 2021 season ruined by injury with a win in 7.00 on his seasonal debut at the Orlen Cup in Lodz. She went on to win the 60m at the Copernicus Cup in Torun in 7.03 beating five-time Olympic champion Elaine Thompson Herah by 0.01.
Ewa Swoboda: “I don’t understand what happened. I am so happy. I am writing in the pages of history. If everything would be perfect, there is room for improvement. I have learned to run and that makes me happy, but I don’t want to predict what will happen in Belgrade”.
Mujinga Kambundji will be chasing her second consecutive medal at the World Indoor Championships four years after finishing third in Birmingham 2018. Kambundji won the Swiss indoor title in Magglingen in 7.05 missing the national record by just 0.02 and the 60m race at Paris Bercy meeting in 7.06.
Shericka Jackson will make her debut at these championships. The Jamaican sprinter won the gold medal in the 4x100 relay, the bronze in the 100m and the 4x400 relay at the Olympic Games in Tokyo last summer. This winter she improved her PB in the 60 metres to 7.12 in Fayetteville and finished third in the Paris Bercy meeting in 7.18.
The Jamaican team will be also represented by Briana Williams, who won the 4x100 relay olympic gold medal in Tokyo and two world under 20 titles in the 100m and 200m in Tampere 2018.
Marybeth Sant Price made a come-back this season improving her PB to 7.04 in Fayetteville last month. She finished second in the US Indoor Championships to Mikiah Brisco, who also won at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in 7.07 and finished second at the Millrose Games in 7.15. Brisco, who won the NCAA 100m title in 2017, equalled her seasonal best with 7.07 at the US Indoor Championships missing her 7.04 PB by just 0.03.
The best European sprinters in the line-up are European 60m hurdles indoor finalist Pia Skrzyszowka, who improved her PB to 7.12 this year, Zaynab Dosso, who broke the Italian Indoor record clocking 7.16 at the National Indoor Championships in Ancona, Maria Isabel Perez, who improved the Spanish indoor record to 7.16 at the Spanish Indoor Championships in Ourense, and Geraldine Frey, who finished second to Kambundji at the Swiss Championships
Shaunae Miller Uibo will clash against Femke Bol in one of the most eagerly awaited races of the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade.
Miller Uibo has not run any indoor races this year, but she set a national indoor record in the 200 metres with 22.40 in Fayetteville and a North and Central American and Caribbean record in the 400 metres with 50.21 in New York in 2021. The Bahamian star won the world indoor bronze medal in the 400m in Sopot when she was still a teenager. Last summer Miller Uibo won her second Olympic gold medal in the 400 metres setting the sixth fastest outdoor time in history with 48.36. She is one of the few sprinters to run under 11 seconds in the 100 metres (10.98), under 22 seconds in the 200 metres (21.74) and under 49 seconds (48.36) and holds the world indoor best time in the 300 metres with 35.45.
Bol won two European Indoor gold medals in the 400 metres in 50.63 and in the 4x400 relay in Torun 2021 and has remained undefeated indoors for the past two years. During the outdoor season the Dutch athlete set a national outdoor record of 50.37 in the 400 metres last year and won the Olympic bronze medal in the 400 metres hurdles in Tokyo setting the European record with 52.03. Bol improved her 400m indoor PB to a world leading time of 50.30 at this year’s National Indoor Championships in Apeldoorn and set her PB of 23.37 in the 200m in Metz. Bol’s compatriot and training partner Lieke Klaver set her PB of 51.20 to finish second at the National Championships.
European outdoor champion Justyna Swiety Ersetic from Poland could fight for the podium after setting a national indoor record of 51.04 at the National Indoor Championships in Torun. The 29-year-old Polish athlete has reached the 400m final in the past three editions of the World Indoor Championships. Her compatriot Natalia Kaczmarek showed her good form clocking 51.15 at the Copernicus Cup in Torun and could fight for a spot in the final in Belgrade.
Jamaica’s Stephanie Ann McPherson, who won the world outdoor medal in Moscow 2013 and finished fourth in the Olympic final in Tokyo in 49.61, is chasing her second global individual medal after setting her indoor PB of 51.39 in Birmingham.
The US team will be represented by Olympic 4x400 relay champion Lynna Irby and two-time world 4x400 relay gold medallist Jessica Beard.
Keely Hodgkinson starts as a strong favourite in the women’s 800 metres seven months after winning the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo. The British middle distance star clocked 1:55.88 improving the national outdoor record that had been held by Kelly Holmes since 1995.
Hodgkinson won the 800m at the Muller British Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham in 1:57.20 last February becoming the sixth fastest ever indoor 800m runner. She was born on 3 March 2002 on the exact date when Jolanda Ceplak set the world indoor record of 1:55.82 at the European Indoor Championships in Vienna. If she wins the world indoor title in Belgrade, she would become the youngest 800m world indoor champion in history.
Keely Hodgkinson: “From my career, I want to get as many medals as I can. I think that’s how you become one of the greatest ever. Records are really nice, but they don’t always last, so I think medals are where you can make a difference and write your name in the history book”.
The other candidates for a medal are Natoya Goule from Jamaica, Halimah Nakaayi from Uganda and Catriona Bisset from Australia.
Goule reached the Olympic final in Tokyo last year and improved her national indoor record to 1:58.46 in Liévin this year. Goule leads 4-2 in her six head-to-head clashes against Hodgkinson, but the British athlete beat her Jamaican rival in the Olympic final and in the Wanda Diamond League final in Zurich.
Nakaayi won the world outdoor gold medal in Doha 2019 and set the national indoor record clocking 1:58.58 in Liévin.
Bisset set the Oceanian indoor record with 1:59.46 in Birmingham finishing second behind Hodgkinson.
Gudaf Tsegay targets her first global title after winning three bronze medals at the World Indoor Championships in the 1500m in Portland 2016, in the 1500m at the World Outdoor Championshps in Doha 2019 and in the 5000 metres at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021. Last year the Ethiopian middle-distance star broke Genzebe Dibaba’s world indoor record clocking 3:53.09 in Liévin. Tsegay ran two 1500m races this season clocking 3:54.77 in Torun and 3:57.38 in Madrid and one mile competition in Liévin in 4:21.72.
The other medal contenders also come from Ethiopia: Axumawit Embaye, who won in Karlsruhe in 4:02.12 and finished second at the World Indoor Championships in Sopot 2014 and Hirut Meshesha, second in Karlsruhe in 4:02.14. Tsegay has not lost a 1500m indoors or outdoors since the World Indoor Championships in Doha, where she finished third behind Sifan Hassan and Faith Kipyegon.
The best non-Ethiopian athletes in the field are Heather MacLean and Josette Norris, who finished first and second at the US Indoor Championships in Spokane, Winnie Nanyondo, who finished fourth in the 800 metres at the World Championships in Doha 2019 and set the Ugandan record in the 1500m with 4:03.54 in Torun this year.
Ethiopia is set to dominate the women’s 3000 metres with a trio formed by Dawit Seyaum, Ejgayehu Taye and Lemlem Hailu.
Seyaum won the 3000m at the Liévin World Indoor Tour meeting in 8:23.24 beating Taye (8:26.77) and the 1500m in Birmingham in 4:04.36. Seyaum won the world indoor silver in the 1500m in Portland 2016 as a teenager.
Hailu won the World Indoor Tour standings in the 3000m in 2021 securing her wild card for Belgrade and finished second to Tsegay in the 1500m in Torun in 4:02.25.
Taye finished fifth in the Olympic 5000m final in Tokyo and set an Ethiopian 3000m outdoor record clocking 8:19.52 in Paris last summer.
Beatrice Chebet lead the Kenyan challenge. Chebet improved her PB to 8:27.49 in Doha last year and finished fourth in 8:41.92 in her only indoor race this winter in Liévin.
The best non-African runners in the field are Gabriela DeBues Stafford, who won the 3000m in the World Indoor Tour meeting in Staten Island in a national record of 8:33.92 and broke the North American 5000m record of 14:31.38 in Boston, and US runner Elinor Purrier St. Pierre, who won the 3000m national indoor title in Spokane in 8:41.53 and the 1500m at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, and Alicia Monson, who improved her PB to 8:31.62 at the Millrose Games in New York last January, Jessica Hull, who set the Australian indoor record of 8:39.79 in College Station, Amy Eloise Markovc, who won the European Indoor title in the 3000m in Torun last year, Marta Perez from Spain, who finished ninth in the 1500m in the Olympic final in Tokyo, and Meraf Bahta from Sweden, European 5000m champion in Zurich 2014.
60 metres hurdles:
Jamaica’s Danielle Williams is chasing another global title seven years after winning the world outdoor medal in Beijing. Williams leads the world seasonal list with her lifetime best of 7.75 set in Clemson and won two World Indoor Tour meetings in Karlsruhe in 7.84 and Staten Island in 7.83. During her career the 29-year-old Jamaican hurdler also won the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast 2018 and the world outdoor bronze medal in Doha 2019. She set an outdoor PB of 12.32 in the 100m hurdles in London three years ago.
Williams’ compatriot Brittany Anderson has the second fastest time among the entrants with her indoor PB of 7.82 set in Louisville and finished second with 7.88 in Staten Island. The 21-year-old hurdler finished second at the World Under 20 Championships in Tampere 2018 and eighth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The US team will be formed by Gabby Cunningham, who finished seventh at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, and Alaysha Johnson,, who improved her PB to 7.90 in Lousville.
French 21-year-old hurdler Cyrena Samba Mayela is the leading European hurdler with her PB of 7.84 set in Karlsruhe.
Devynne Charlton from the Bahamas finished sixth in the Olympic final and won the Torun World Indoor Tour race in 7.90.
Ditaji Kambundji from Switzerland, the younger sister of sprinter Mujinga, won the European under 20 title in the 100m hurdles in Tallin and improved the national record to 7.94 in Paris Bercy.
Zoe Sedney from the Netherlands aims at another final after finishing seventh at last year’s European Indoor Championships in Torun. This winter the 20-year-old Dutch hurdler beat Kambundji in Birmingham in 8.02 and improved her PB to 7.95 in Madrid.
Eleanor Patterson from Australia is chasing her first world title in her first indoor season. Patterson broke the Oceanian indoor record clearing 1.99m in Banska Bystrica last February and claimed two more victories in Birmingham with 1.97m and Madrid with 1.96m to win the overall World Indoor Tour title. If she wins the title, she would become the first Australian athlete to win the world indoor gold medal in field events. The high jumper coached by Alex Stewart finished fifth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo with 1.96m.
Patterson will take on Yaroslava Mahuchik, who won the European Indoor title in Torun last year. The 20-year-old Ukrainian jumper cleared 2.06m in Banska Bystrica last year to move to equal third on the the world all-time list. She finished second to Patterson in Banska Bystrica with 1.96m this year.
The line-up features three more jumpers with a PB of 2.00m or more: 2016 olympic silver medallist Mirela Demireva from Bulgaria, Italy’s Elena Vallortigara, who cleared 2.02m in London 2018 and won the national indoor record with 1.92m last February, Nadeshda Dubovitskaya, who jumped 1.96m this year and set the Asian outdoor record of 2.00m last summer.
Another major contender is Marija Vukovic, who won the world under 20 gold medal in Moncton 2010 and cleared 1.96m in Banska Bystrica this year.
Serbian 16-year-old rising star Angelina Topic will make her senior international debut on home soil after finishing sixth at the World Under 20 Championships in Nairobi. Angelina is following in the footsteps of her father Dragutin, who won the European outdoor title in Split 1990 and the world indoor bronze in 1997, and her mother Blljana Topic, who won the world bronze medal in Berlin 2009.
Reigning olympic champion Katie Nageotte will take on world indoor champion Sandi Morris and Slovenian record holder Tina Sutej.
Nageotte won the US title last year in Eugene setting an outdoor PB of 4.95m and went on to claim the Olympic gold medal with 4.90m. The US vaulter also won three Diamond League competitions in Doha (4.84m), Monaco (4.90m) and Eugene (4.82m). Nageotte cleared 4.80m or higher in eight competitions last year. She finished third in the World Indoor Tour in Liévin with 4.80m.
Morris won the world indoor title in Birmingham 2018 with 4.95m, two world outdoor medals in London 2017 and Doha 2019 and the Olympic silver medal in Rio de Janeiro 2016. At this year’s US Indoor Championships in Spokane Morris won the title with 4.80m ahead of Nageotte.
Sutej won the Rouen pole vault meeting improving her Slovenian record to 4.80m. The 33-year-old pole vaulter won the European Indoor silver medal in Torun and finished fifth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021.
Angelica Moser from Switzerland won the European Indoor gold with 4.75m ahead of Sutej. The 24-year-old vaulter set her seasonal best of 4.66m to finish second behind Sutej.
The other top contenders are Cuba’s Yarisley Silva, who won the world indoor title in Sopot 2014 with 4.70m and the world outdoor title with 4.90m in Beijing 2015, China’s Xu Huiqin, who improved her indoor PB to 4.65m, 22-year-old Margot Chevrier from France, who set her outright PB with 4.65m at the French Indoor Championships in Miramas, and Olivia McTaggart from New Zealand, who finished fifth at the World Under 20 Championships in Tampere 2018 and set her PB of 4.65m at the National outdoor Championships in Hastings on 5 March.
Ivana Spanovic Vuleta will defend her world indoor title from Birmingham 2018 in front of her home fans. The 31-year-old Serbian star won the second of her European Indoor gold medals at the Stark Arena in 2017 setting the third world best indoor performance in history with 7.24m. Vuleta holds the best mark in the field with her seasonal best of 6.88m set at the World Indoor Tour Silver meeting in Belgrade on 7 March. In this competition she jumped 6.83m three times.
Vuleta will take on Lorraine Ugen from Great Britain, who won the World Indoor Tour this year after claiming two victories in Staten Island with 6.71m and Madrid with 6.71m. The British jumper, who won the European Indoor silver medal in Belgrade 2017, leapt to a seasonal best of 6.75m to claim the British Indoor title in Birmingham last month.
Nigeria’s Eze Brume will compete for the first time this year, but she showed her potential as a strong championships performer when she won two bronze medals at the World Championships in Doha 2019 and at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021.
Maryna Bekh Romanchuk won the world silver medal in Doha 2019 and the European indoor gold medal in Torun 2021. The Ukrainian jumper did not record a valid mark in her first two long jump competitions this year.
Khaddi Sagnia from Sweden will be chasing another international medal after winning the European Indoor bronze medal in Torun last year. Sagnia set her seasonal best of 6.70m twice in Birmingham and Torun.
Larissa Iapichino set the world under 20 indoor record with 6.91m at the Italian Indoor Championships last year. After missing the Olympic Games due to an injury problem, the 19-year-old Italian jumper leapt to a seasonal best of 6.59m this year. In her most recent competition she finished third in Madrid with 6.45m.
Spanish jumper Fatima Diamé showed her recent good form this winter improving her indoor PB to 6.64m.
Akela Jones from Barbados set the national indoor record of 6.80m in Clemson and could be a major contender for a spot on the podium. The other top names are Jazmin Sawyers from Great Britain, who jumped 6.90m last summer, and Ruth Osoro from Nigeria, who jumped 6.59m this indoor season.
Yulimar Rojas is looking to become the first three-time triple jump world indoor champion in the history of these championships. The Venezuelan star won two world indoor titles in Portland 2016 and Birmingham 2018, two world outdoor gold medals in London 2017 and Doha 2019, the Olympic title in Tokyo. She set the world indoor record with 15.43m in Madrid and 15.67m in the Olympic final in Tokyo. Rojas missed her own world indoor record by two cm leaping to 15.41m at the World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid. She won the Diamond League title in Zurich and jumped over the 15 metres in all eight of her competitions last summer.
The other top contenders for a medal are Thea Lafond from Dominica, who improved her national record to 14.60m in the Olympic Games qualifying round in Tokyo, 20-year-old Leyanis Perez from Cuba, who set a Central American outdoor record of 14.53m last summer and improved her indoor PB to 14.47n last February, Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams and Spain’s Ana Peleiteiro, who won the silver and bronze medal respectively in the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham 2018, Patricia Mamona from Portugal, who won the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo with 15.01m, and Ukraine’s Maryna Beck Romanchuk, who won the European indoor silver medal in Torun 2021 and fifth in the world seasonal list with 14.34m.
The line-up is rounded out by US record holder Keturah Orji, who set a seasonal indoor best of 14.28m this year, Liadagmis Povea, who finished fifth in the Olympic final this year, and Dariya Derkach, who won the Italian Indoor Championships in Ancona with 14.26m.
Reigning European indoor champion Auriol Dongmo from Portugal leads the world indoor and outdoor list this year. Dongmo won all her competitions so far this year and set the Portuguese indoor record with 19.90m (the best indoor throw in the world since 2016) at the National Indoor Championships last February. Dongmo won the European Indoor title in Torun and finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Maggie Ewen won the Diamond League Trophy last year in Zurich and won the US Indoor title in Spokane with 19.79m last February. Ewen finished fourth at both the 2019 World Championships in Doha and at the 2021 US Olympic Trials.
Jamaica’s Danniel Thomas Dodd won two silver medals at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham 2018 and at the World outdoor Championships in Doha 2019. Thomas Dodd set her seasonal best of 18.80m, her best indoor throw since her national indoor record of 19.22m, set when she won the world indoor silver medal in Birmingham.
The other top contenders are three-time US champion Chase Ealey, Jessica Schilder from the Netherlands, who set the Dutch indoor record with 19.72m at the National Championships in Apeldoorn last month and finished second to Dongmo with a national outdoor record of 18.89m at the European Throwing Cup in Leiria, Sara Gambetta, who won the German indoor title in Lipsia with 19.06m, Sarah Mitton, who set the Canadian Indoor record of 19.16m last month, and Fanny Roos from Sweden, who won the European Indoor silver in Torun 2021 and claimed the national indoor title with 18.95m.
Defending champion Katarina Johnson Thompson from Great Britain will chase her second consecutive world indoor title in pentathlon four years after winning the gold medal in Birmingham 2018 with 4750 points. The British combined eventer, who is ranked second in the world all-time list with her indoor PB of 5000 points set the European Indoor Championships in Prague in 2015, has recovered from her achilles tendon injury that hampered her during the 2021 season. KJT is now training in the USA under the guidance of combined events coach Petros Kyprianou, who also trains US decathlete Garrett Scantling.
Johnson Thompson will face a fierce opposition from Noor Vidts from Belgium and reigning European Under 23 champion Adrianna Sulek from Poland.
Vidts won the European Indoor silver in Torun with 4791 points and finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo with 6571 points. Vidts did not take part in any combined events competitions this year, but she set individual PBs in the 60m hurdles (8.24), shot put (14.22m) and long jump (6.51m).
Sulek has already won three indoor pentathlon competitions in Aubière with 4569 points, Tallin with 4598 points and at the Polish Indoor Championships in Torun with a world leading score of 4756 points.
Holly Mills from Great Britain finished second in Tallin with 4597 points. The 21-year heptathlete won the European Under 23 bronze in Tallin in the heptathlon with 6095 points and finished fifth in the pentathlon at the European Indoor Championships with 4517 in 2021.
The US team is formed by Chari Hawkins and Kendell Williams, who finished first and second respectively at the National Indoor Championships in Spokane. Hawkins set her PB of 4492 points. Williams finished fifth at the World Championships in Doha 2019 and in the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021.
The line-up is completed by Dorota Skrivanova from Czech Republich, who improved her PB by more than 300 points to 4560 points at the Czech Championships, 2016 world under 20 champion Sarah Lagger from Austria, Sveva Gerevini, who improved the Italian Indoor record to 4451 points at the National Indoor Championships in Ancona.
A strong Dutch team featuring Femke Bol, Lieke Klaver and Lisanne De Witte won the European Indoor gold medal in Torun with a championship record of 3:27.15 and starts as the favourite for the gold medal.
The Netherlands will face a strong opposition from the Polish team, who won the world and Olympic silver medals in the past two seasons and finished second in the past two editions of the World Indoor Championships in Portland 2016 and Birmingham 2018. Justyna Swiety Ersetic, Natalia Kaczmarek and Iga Baumgart Witan, who won the Olympic silver medal, will be part of the Polish team in Belgrade.
The Jamaican team featuring Stephanie Ann McPherson and Roneisha McGregor will chase another global medal after the Olympic bronze medal won in Tokyo last year.
Lynna Irby and Jessica Beard will feature in the US team, who will chase their fourth world indoor title.
Olympic 800m silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson features on the British team after improving her 400m indoor PB to 52.42 at the British Indoor Championships in Birmingham.