The 2023 World Indoor Tour Gold kicks off on Friday, 27 January, with the INIT Indoor meeting in Karlsruhe, which takes place in the Messe Halle 3, the Trade Fair Centre. Fifty-four meetings spread across 19 countries in Europe, North America, and Asia have been included in the World Indoor Tour, which features seven Gold meetings, 17 Silver meetings, 17 Bronze meetings, and 13 Challenger meetings. After Karlsruhe, the World Indoor Tour Gold will continue with the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston (4 February), the Orlen Copernicus Cup in Torun (8 February), the Millrose Games in New York (11 February), the Meeting Hauts de France Pas de Calais in Liévin (15 February), the World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid (22 February) and the British Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham (25 February).
The athlete with the most points in each scoring discipline at the end of the tour will be declared the winner and will be awarded a USD$ 10000 bonus. They will be offered a wild card entry for the 2024 World Indoor Championships in Glasgow.
The INIT Indoor Meeting is sold out earlier than ever before. All 3000 tickets were sold out before Christmas.
Women’s 60 meters:
Dina Asher-Smith will clash against Ewa Swoboda, Mujinga Kambundji, Marie Josée Ta Lou, Malaika Mihambo, and Alexandra Burghardt in the women’s 60 meters. Asher-Smith and Swoboda are both former winners in Karlsruhe.
Asher-Smith will make her fifth appearance in Karlsruhe. She won the 60 meters twice in Karlsruhe in 2015 in 7.12 and in 2021, equalling her PB of 7.08 that she had set at the European Indoor Championships in Prague in 2015 when she was a teenager and once at the World Indoor Tour meeting in Glasgow in 2018. She narrowly missed her PB by 0.01 in her seasonal debut in Jablonec on 21 January.
Dina Asher-Smith: “I love coming to Karlsruhe. I enjoy competing in Germany, and Karlsruhe is one of my favorite indoor meetings. I remember 2021 when everything was going on with covid. Everyone at this meeting was so friendly and so kind. We were safe with the covid protocols. I am excited to kick off the 2023 season. Training is going on well. There are so many talented sprinters in the field”.
The 27-year-old British sprinter won the 200 meters world title in Doha in 2019 and the world bronze medal over this distance in Eugene in 2022. She also won three European gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters and 4x100 relay and two Olympic 4x100 relay bronze medals in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and Tokyo 2021, and two world 4x100 silver medals in London 2017 and Doha 2019 with her teammates Darryil Neita and Asha Phillip, who will also line up in Karlsruhe.
Neita won bronze medals in the 100 meters at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 11.07 after improving her PB to 10.90 in the semifinal and at the European Championships in Munich in 11.00. The British sprinter finished eighth in the Olympic 100 meters final in Tokyo in 2021. Phillip won the European 60m Indoor gold medal in 7.06 in Belgrade 2017 and two European 4x100 titles in Zurich 2014 and Berlin 2018.
Kambundji won the world indoor gold medal in Belgrade in the 60 meters in 6.96, setting the Swiss indoor record, the fourth fastest time in history and the fastest time in the world since 1999.
Last summer, the 30-year-old Swiss sprinter claimed the European gold medal in the 200 meters in 22.32 and the silver medal in the 100 meters in 10.99 in Munich 2022. She won the bronze medal in the 200 meters in Doha 2019, placed sixth in the 100m in 10.99 and seventh in the 200m in 22.30 at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021, fifth in the 100 meters in 10.91 and eighth in the 200 meters in 22.55 after setting the national record with 22.05 at the World Championships in Eugene 2022. Kambunndji has never finished in the top three in her previous appearances at the Karlsruhe meeting.
Swoboda improved her Polish 60 meters indoor record to 6.99 at last year’s National Championships in Torun. The Polish sprinter dipped under 7.10 eight times during the 2022 season. She won the European Indoor gold medal in the 60 meters in 7.09 in Glasgow 2019 and placed fourth in 7.04 at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade 2022. Swoboda won in Karlsruhe in 2019 in 7.10.
Marie Josée Ta Lou from Ivory Coast won two world outdoor silver medals in the 100 and 200 meters in London in 2017, the world bronze medal in the 100 meters in Doha in 2019, and the world silver medal in the 60 meters at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham 2018. Ta Lou set the African record in the 100 meters, clocking 10.72 in Monaco, dipping under 11 seconds nine times during a successful 2022 season. She holds a PB in the 60 meters of 7.02 in Dusseldorf in 2019 and has not raced indoors since that year.
Mihambo, European, world, and Olympic gold medallist in the women’s long jump will test her shape in the 60 meters. The German athlete set her PB of 7.22 in the 60 meters at the German Indoor Championships in Leipzig in 2022. In the long jump, Mihambo won the world outdoor title with 7.12m in Eugene and the European silver medal in Munich with 7.03m in 2022.
Burghardt won two German outdoor titles in the 100 meters in 11.14 and the 200 meters in 23.15 in Braunschweig and contributed to the European title in Munich and the world bronze medal in Eugene in the 4x100 relay in Munich. Another top German sprinter in the lineup is Lisa Mayer, who won the European 4x100 title in Munich last year and started her 2023 season with 7.22 in Sindelfingen last week.
Maria Isabel Perez completes the lineup from Spain, national record holder with 7.16, Dutch sprinters Jamile Samuel (European Indoor bronze medallist in the 60m in Torun 2021 with 7.22) and Nketia Seedo (world under 20 bronze medallist in the 100m in Cali 2022).
Men’s pole vault:
Two-time Olympic medallist Thiago Braz Da Silva from Brazil will take on LC Lightfoot and German specialist Bo Kanda Lita Baehre in the men’s pole vault.
Braz Da Silva won the Olympic gold medal on home soil in Rio de Janeiro 2016, setting the Olympic and South American record of 6.03m, the world indoor silver medal with a continental indoor record of 5.95m in Belgrade 2022 and finished fourth at the World Championships in Eugene 2022 with 5.94m.
Lightfoot finished second with 5.89m in last year’s edition of the Karlsruhe meeting. The US pole vaulter won the NCAA indoor title with 5.93m in Fayetteville and placed fourth with 5.80m at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. He improved his PB to 6.00m in Lubbock in February 2021. He opened his 2023 season with fourth place at the Pole Vault Summit in Reno (Nevada) with 5.71m.
Lita Bahere finished seventh at the World Championships in Eugene with 5.87m, won the silver medal at the European Championships in Munich with 5.85m, and the European Under 23 gold medal in Gavle 2019. The German pole vaulter is of Congolese descent through his father. He is a cousin of British football player Leroy Lita.
The other top names in the field are Valentin Lavillenie, European Indoor silver medallist in Torun 2021 with 5.80m and fourth placer at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade 2022 with 5.85m, Menno Vloon, who set the Dutch record with 5.96m in Clermont Ferrand in 2021 and finished fifth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade 2022, Kurtis Marshall from Australia, two-time Commonwealth Games champion in 2018 and 2022, Emmanouil Karalis from Greece, fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 with 5.80m and two-time European under 23 silver medallist in 2019 and 2021, Matt Ludwig from the USA, national indoor champion with 5.85m in 2020, Torben Blech from Germany, two-time national indoor champion in 2021 and 2022.
Women’s shot put
The women’s shot put features the top six throwers in the World Athletics Ranking.
Chase Ealey from the USA, Auriol Dongmo from Portugal, and Jessica Schilder from the Netherlands will headline a strong lineup in the women’s shot put. They reached the podium at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in 2022.
Dongmo won two gold medals at the European Indoor Championships in Torun 2021 and the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade 2022, with 20.43m setting the best indoor mark since 2014. The Portuguese athlete beat Ealey, who won the silver medal with 20.21. Two shot putters have thrown over the 20 meters barrier in the same indoor season for the first time since 2014. Dongmo set the Karlsruhe meeting record of 19.65m in 2021.
Ealey improved her PB to 20.51m at the US outdoor Championships in Eugene last June and went on to win the world outdoor title in the same Hayward Field venue with 20.49m and the Diamond League Trophy in Zurich with 20.19m. The US shot putter won four more Diamond League competitions in Doha (19.51m), Oslo (20.13m), Stockholm (20.48m), and Chorzow (20.38m).
Schilder won the world indoor silver medal in Belgrade and the European outdoor gold medal with a Dutch record of 20.24m.
Sarah Mitton from Canada and Fanny Roos from Sweden finished fourth and fifth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade and will be in the lineup in Karlsruhe. Mitton won two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the NACAC Championships in Freeport. She set the world seasonal best with 19.80m in Windsor last week.
The lineup is completed by Jamaica’s Danniel Thomas Dodd, who won silver medals at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham in 2018, at the World Championships in Doha in 2019 and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham behind Mitton, and the German trio formed by Sara Gambetta, Katharina Maisch, and Julia Ritter.
Men’s 60 meters hurdles:
Frenchman Pascal Martinot Lagarde, the European outdoor champion in the 110 meters hurdles in Berlin 2018, will face Asler Martinez from Spain, the reigning European outdoor champion in Munich last summer.
Martinot Lagarde won for the first time in his five career appearances at the Karlsruhe meeting, clocking 7.54 last year, beating Martinez. He competed in the German meeting for the first time in 2012, finishing seventh and not reaching the top three until 2022. Martinot Lagarde won the European Indoor gold medal in Prague 2015 and reached the podium three more times in this event (third in Goteborg 2013, second in Belgrade 2017 and Glasgow 2019) and won four world indoor medals (silver in Sopot 2014, Portland 2016 and Belgrade 2022 and bronze in Istanbul 2012). Outdoors he won the European title in Berlin 2018 and the world bronze medal in Doha in 2019.
Martinez placed fourth in Karlsruhe last year in 7.61 and repeated the same placing at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in 7.57. The 22-year-old Spanish hurdler continued his progress during the summer season, winning the world bronze medal in Eugene in 13.17 and the European gold medal in Munich in 13.14, beating Martinot Lagarde in a close photo-finish.
Frenchman Just Kwaou Mathey completed the entire European Championships podium, finished third behind Martinez and Martinot Lagarde in Munich last summer and holds a PB of 13.27 in the 110 meters hurdles.
The lineup also features Jason Joseph from Switzerland, European Under 23 champion in 2019 and national outdoor record holder with 13.12, 2018 world indoor bronze medallist Aurel Manga from France, and US hurdler Aaron Mallett, national indoor champion in Albuquerque in 2020 in 7.54.
Women’s triple jump:
Maryna Beck Romanchuk from Ukraine will go head to head against Patricia Mamona from Portugal in a competition between two athletes with a PB over the 15 meters barrier.
Beck Romanchuk won the world indoor silver medal in Belgrade 2022 with 14.74m in her first appearance at a major championship in this discipline. The 27-year-old Ukrainian jumper clinched the European outdoor gold medal with her PB of 15.02m and placed fourth in the long jump with 6.76m at the European Championships in Munich. She won the world silver medal in the long jump in Doha 2019 and the European indoor gold medal in Torun 2021 with the same result of 6.92m. In her previous appearance at the Karlsruhe meeting, she won the long jump with 6.92m beating Malaika Mihambo.
Mamona won the European Indoor gold medal in Torun with 14.54m and the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo, setting a national outdoor record of 15.01m during the 2021 season.
The lineup also features Tori Franklin, who won the world bronze medal in Eugene with 14.72m and improved her PB to 14.86m in the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco, European outdoor silver medallist Kristina Makela from Finland, and Cuban specialists Liadagmis Povea, fifth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo with 14.70m, and Leyanis Perez Hernandez, who placed fourth at the World Championships with 14.70m in Eugene.
Women’s long jump:
Serbian star Ivana Vuleta starts as the favorite in the women’s long jump. Vuleta won her second consecutive world indoor title in front of her home fans in Belgrade last year with a world-leading mark of 7.06m, the European outdoor medal with the same mark of 7.06m in Munich and the Diamond League Trophy in Zurich with 6.97m. Vuleta will face her compatriot Milica Gardasevic, who won the European Under 20 title in Grosseto 2017 and improved her PB to 6.83m last year in Szekesfehrvar, and Agate de Sousa from Sao Tomé and Principe, who set a national record of 6.81m in Chorzow previous year.
Women’s 3000 metres:
An Ethiopian quartet formed by Lemlem Hailu, Axumawit Embaye, Wankwuha Getachew and Dawit Seyaum will headline a world-class women’s 3000 metres. The Karlsruhe meeting has produced many fast times in middle-distance races in the past editions and the tradition could continue this year.
Hailu won the world indoor gold medal in the 3000 metres in Belgrade last year in 8:41.82. The 21-year-old Ethiopian athlete holds the fastest time among the entrants with her lifetime best of 8:29.28 set at the World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid 2021.
Embaye won two world indoor silver medals in the 1500 metres in Sopot in 2014 and Belgrade in 2022. She set her 3000m indoor PB of 8:49.52 in Karlsruhe in 2017.
Getachew won the world silver medal in the 3000 metres steeplechase in Eugene in 2022, with her PB of 8:54.61. She improved her PB to 8:41.95 in the 3000 metres in Val de Reuil last year.
Seyaum won the world bronze medal in the 5000 metres in Eugene in 2022 in 14:47.23. The 26-year-old Ethiopian middle distance star improved her PB to 8:23.24 when she won the 3000m at the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Liévin last year. She won another World Indoor Tour race in the 1500 metres in Birmingham in 4:04.35 and finished fifth in the 3000 metres at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade.
The best non-African athlete in the field is Luiza Gega from Albania, who won the European gold medal in the 3000 metres steeplechase in Munich and finished fifth at the World Championships in Eugene last summer.
Men’s 1500 metres:
Ethiopia’s Teddesse Lemi will face Spanish middle-distance runners Adel Mechaal, Ignacio Fontes and Jesus Gomez, and local favorite Christoph Kessler.
Adel Mechaal set the European indoor record in the 3000 metres with 7:30.82 in New York last year and won two European Indoor medals in the 3000 metres (gold in Belgrade 2017 and bronze in Torun 2021) and finished fifth in the 1500m in the Olympic final in Tokyo 2021.
Lemi placed fourth in the 1500 metres at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in 3:33.59 and eighth over the same distance at the World Championships in Eugene in 3:32.98.
Fontes won the European Under 23 gold medal in the 1500 metres in 2019 and finished fourth at the European Indoor Championships over this distance in Torun 2021.
Gomez won two European Indoor bronze medals in the 1500 metres in Glasgow 2019 and Torun 2021 and improved his outdoor PB to 3:33.07 in the Diamond League meeting in Monaco.
The German crowd will cheer on local favorite Christoph Kessler, who set his lifetime best of 3:38.45 in Dortmund in 2022.
Women’s 800 metres:
Jemma Reekie from Great Britain is looking to continue her unbeaten streak over the 800 metres in the World Indoor Tour. The Scottish athlete will face Freweny Hailu from Ethiopia, world indoor silver medallist in the 800 metres and fourth placer in the 1500 metres at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 in 3:57.60, and Slovenia’s Anita Horvat, who finished seventh in the 800 metres at the World Championships in Eugene 2022.
Men’s 3000 metres:
Diriba Girma from Ethiopia, who will turn 20 later this week, set the fastest under 20 time in the world in the 3000 metres last year with his PB of 7:38.79 set in Liévin. Girma will face Abdisa Feyisa from Ethiopia, who set the fastest under 18 time in the world last year with his PB of 7:39.63 set in Bellinzona, Mohamed Abdillahi, European under 23 champion in the 5000 metres in Tallin 2021 and second fastest German athlete in history in the 5000m outdoor with 13:03.51, Elzan Bibic from Serbia, European under 23 bronze medallist in the 1500 metres in Gavle 2019 and European Under 18 gold medallist in the 3000m in 2018, and Italian 1500 metres indoor record holder Ossama Meslek, who clocked 3:37.29 over this distance in Birmingham.
Men’s 400 metres:
Liemarvin Bonevacia will start as the favourite in the 400 metres. The Dutch athlete won the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo 2021, the European indoor gold medal in Torun in the 4x400 relay, the World silver medal in the mixed 4x400 relay in Eugene 2022 and placed eighth in the 400 metres in the Olympic final in Tokyo. He shared the podium many times with Tony Van Diepen, who was also part of the Dutch team who won the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo and the silver medal in the mixed relay in Eugene. Van Diepen set his lifetime best of 1:44.14 in the 800 metres in Paris Diamond League meeting. The two Dutch athletes will face multiple world and European indoor champion Pavel Maslak from the Czech Republic, Oscar Husillos from Spain, European indoor champion in the 400m in Torun 2021, Benjamin Lobo Vedel from Denmark, fourth in the 400m final at the World indoor Championships in Belgrade 2022, and Alex Haydock Wilson from Great Britain, European outdoor bronze medallist in the 400m and gold medallist in the 4x400 in Munich 2022. All five athletes have set PBs faster than the long-standing meeting record of 46.11 held by Thomas Schoenlebe since 1990.