ORLEN Copernicus Cup Torun Event by Event Preview

Posted by: Watch Athletics

Gudaf Tsegay’s attack to the world indoor record in the women’s mile, the head-to-head clashes between Ewa Swoboda and Mujinga Kambundji in the women’s 60 meters, Pia Skryszowska and Britany Anderson in the women’s 60 meters hurdles, Miltiadis Tentoglou, Thobias Montler and Marquis Dendy in the men’s long jump, and Keely Hodgkinson, Mary Moora and Diribe Welteji in the women’s 800 meters are among the expected highlights at the ORLEN Copernicus Cup in Torun.

Women’s Mile:

Gudaf Tsegay will attack the world indoor record in the women’s mile. The Ethiopian middle-distance broke the world indoor record in the 1500 meters clocking 3:53.09 at the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Liévin in 2021. Last year she returned to the French town to win the mile in 4:21.72 despite a fall during the race, which prevented her from threatening Genzebe Dibaba’s world record of 4:13.31.

Tsegay will make another attempt to break Dibaba’s mile world record in Torun this year. She won the 1500m in 3:54.77 in the 2022 edition of the Polish meeting.

Tsegay won the world indoor title in the 1500 meters in Belgrade and the world outdoor gold medal in the 5000m in Eugene during a successful 2022 season. She has dipped under the 3:55 barrier in the 1500 meters four times outdoors and won the world silver medal in Eugene in 3:54.52 five days before clinching the world title.

The line-up features Ethiopia’s Mekedes Alemeshete, Jamaica’s Adelle Tracey and Polish 3000m indoor champion Eliza Megger.

Women’s 800 meters:

Keely Hodgkinson, Mary Moora and Diribe Welteji will clash in the indoor 800 meters for the first time after their head-to-head races during the 2022 outdoor season.

Hodgkinson claimed Olympic and world silver medals in the 800 meters in Tokyo in 2021 and Eugene in 2022. The British middle-distance runner won the European Indoor gold medal in Torun 2021, the European outdoor title in Munich 2022 and the Diamond League Trophy in 2021. She was beaten only once in her career indoors in the 800 meters in Liévin in 2021 and set her indoor lifetime best with 1:57.20 in the World Indoor Tour meeting in Birmingham last year.

Hodgkinson started her 2023 season with a world indoor all-time best of 1:23.41 on her home track in Manchester.

Keely Hodgkinson: “I have excellent memories from Torun two years ago. I am happy to come here for my first 800 meters of the season. I have heard the track is speedy. I am looking forward to putting down a great marker. Hopefully, it will be like I did last year in my season opener. The 600 meters in Manchester went well, but the 600m and 800m are very different. I would argue that the extra 200 meters is the most brutal 200m.

I am looking forward to opening up my season with some good competition. Mary Moraa and Diribe Welteji are racing, so it will not be easy. Still, hopefully, I can put down a strong marker and build on that for the European Indoor Championships”.

Moraa will make her indoor debut in Torun after a successful 2022 outdoor season. She won the world bronze medal in Eugene and beat Hodgkinson twice to win the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the Diamond League Final in Zurich.

Welteji started her international career with a world under 20 gold medal in 800 meters in Tampere 2018 and went on to win under 20 silver in the 1500 meters in Nairobi 2021. Last July, she finished fourth in the 800 meters final at the World Championships in Eugene in 1:57.02. She clocked 8:33.44 in the 3000 meters at the Meeting de l’Eure in Val de Reuil (France) on her debut over this distance despite stopping a lap too soon.

The line-up also features 2019 world outdoor champion Halimaah Nakaayi from Uganda, Noelle Yarigo from Benin, who set the world seasonal best with 1:59.29 in Val de Reuil on Saturday, and Anita Horvat from Slovenia, who finished seventh in the 800m final at the World Championships in Eugene and won the first 800 meters of this year’s World Indoor Tour Gold in Karlsruhe setting her indoor PB of 2:00.44.

Women’s 60 meters hurdles:

European 100 meters hurdles champion Pia Skryszowska will face Jamaica’s Britany Anderson and Hungary’s Luca Kozak.

Skryszowska got off to a flying start to her 2023 season by winning her first two indoor races this winter at the ISTAF Indoor meeting in Dusseldorf in 7.84 and at the Orlen Cup in Lodz in a world seasonal best of 7.78, missing Polish indoor record by just one-hundredth of a second. The 21-year-old Polish star won the European outdoor gold medal in the 100m hurdles in Munich 2022 in 12.53 and improved her lifetime best to 12.51 at the Diamond League meeting in Chorzow last August. 

Pia Skryszowska: “The field is solid. There will be very fast running. This can help me to start well because, in Lodz, I lost a lot at the start of the race”.

Kozak finished second to Skryszowska in the European final in Munich, improving the national outdoor record of 12.69m in the 100m hurdles.

Anderson won the world outdoor silver medal in Eugene in a wind-assisted 12.23 after improving her PB to 12.31 in the semifinal. He finished eighth in the final of the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 and fourth in the World Indoor Championships final in the 60m hurdles in Belgrade in 7.96. She will make her seasonal debut in Torun.

Two-time European Indoor champion Nadine Visser from the Netherlands will be looking to improve her season best of 7.86 set at the Czech Indoor Gala in Ostrava. Visser has a fond memory of Torun, as she won her second European Indoor gold medal in her PB of 7.77 in 2021. 

The other top names are Ditaji Kambundji, who won the European Under 20 gold medal in 2021 and the European outdoor bronze medal in the 100m hurdles in Munich in 2022, Reetta Hurske from Finland, who improved the national indoor record to 7.86 in Dusseldorf, and Polish combined events specialist Adrianna Sulek, who won the pentathlon at the Combined Events indoor meeting in Tallinn with a world-leading score of 4702 last weekend.

Women’s 60 meters:

Former European Indoor gold medallist Ewa Swoboda will be looking to win the 60 meters at the Copernicus Cup in Torun in front of her home fans for the second consecutive year. Swoboda won last year in Torun in 7.03, beating Elaine Thompson Herah and breaking the 7 seconds barrier for the first time in her career with 6.99 at the Polish Indoor Championships on the same track. Swoboda started her season with second place to Dina Asher-Smith with a seasonal best of 7.09 in Karlsruhe and won two races in Dusseldorf in 7.18 and Lodz in 7.14.

Swoboda will renew her rivalry against Mujinga Kambundji from Switzerland and Darryil Neita from Great Britain. Kambundji and Neita finished third and fourth in Karlsruhe, clocking 7.11 and 7.16, respectively. Swoboda and Kambundji have drawn 4-4 in their head-to-head clashes in the 60 meters.

Kambundji holds the fastest PB among athletes in the Torun line-up, with her Swiss record of 6.96 set at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, where she won her first world indoor title. The 30-year-old Swiss star went on to win the European title in the 200m and the silver medal in the 100m at the European Championships in Munich.

Neita won two bronze medals in the 100m at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham after setting her PB of 10.90 in the semifinal and the European Championships in Munich.

The line-up also features Kayla White, who finished fourth in Boston last Saturday, Geraldine Frey from Switzerland, who set her PB of 7.11 at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade last year, and Maria Isabel Perez, Spanish Indoor record holder with 7.16.

Men’s long jump:

Reigning Olympic champion Miltiadis Tentoglou from Greece will take on Sweden’s Thobias Montler, US Marquis Dendy, and Cuba’s Maykel Massò in a world-class men’s long jump.

Greek star Tentoglou clinched the world indoor gold medal in Belgrade with a national indoor record of 8.55m last year, beating Sweden’s Thobias Montler. He went on to win the world outdoor silver medal in Eugene, his second consecutive European outdoor gold medal in Munich 2022 with 8.52m, and the Wanda Diamond League final in Zurich with 8.42m, adding these honors to his collection, which also includes the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo 2021, the European outdoor title in Berlin 2018, two European Indoor titles in Glasgow 2019 and Torun 2021, the gold medals at the European Under 20 Championships in Grosseto 2017 and at the European Under 23 Championships in Gavle 2019.

He returns to Torun, where he won his second European Indoor gold medal with 8.35m two years ago. He won four indoor competitions in 2022 and started his 2023 season with a win at the Gothenburg Games meeting with 8.12m.

Tentoglou will renew his rivalry against Montler, who won the world indoor championships silver medal in Belgrade with a Swedish record of 8.38m. Montler started his season with 8.19m in Stockholm. The Swede also won the European silver medal in Munich and clinched the Diamond League title in 2021 in Zurich. 

Miltiadis Tentoglou: “I have been here in Poland for three weeks, as I was on a training camp in Spala. The stadium in Torun is one of my favorite indoor arenas because the track is amazing. Two years ago we jumped fantastic here, and I think tomorrow will be nice. I feel powerful. I think we can do a great job, me and the other jumpers”.

Dendy claimed three world indoor medals in his career and set a PB of 8.42m in Eugene in 2016. His collection includes gold in Portland in 2016, two bronze medals in Birmingham in 2018 and Belgrade in 2022. The US jumper finished second to Tentoglou in Zurich last year’s Diamond League Final. Tentoglou leads 6-3 in his head-to-head clashes against Dendy.

Cuba’s Maykel Massò won the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo 2021 and placed fourth at the World Championships in Eugene 2022 with 8.15m. The Cuban jumper finished third in the Diamond League final in Zurich with 8.05m and set his PB of 8.39m in Habana 2021.

Men’s pole vault: 

World outdoor bronze medallist, Ernest John Obiena from the Philippines, will be looking to improve his Asian Indoor record of 5.91m set in Upssala last week. Obiena showed his excellent form last week in Lodz, where he won with 5.77m beating Sam Kendricks and Piotr Lisek. The Asian vaulter finished in the top three in his five competitions this year. Obiena will take on Olympic 2016 gold medallist and World Indoor silver Thiago Braz Da Silva and five-time world medallist and Polish record holder Piotr Lisek, Olympic fourth placer Emmanouil Karalis from Greece, who vaulted 5.83m in Karlsruhe, and 2019 world championships finalist Claudio Stecchi from Italy, who made a successful come-back from injury by clearing 5.70m in Lodz.

Men’s 800 meters:

Kenya’s Collins Kipruto will take on Sweden’s Andreas Kramer and Poland’s Patryk Dobek in the men’s 800 meters. Kipruto started his season with 1:45.89 in Luxembourg. Kramer ran just one-hundredths of a second slower with 1:45.90 on home soil in Stockholm.  

Dobek won the 2021 European Indoor gold medal in front of his home fans in Torun and the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo later that year. 

The line-up is completed by Guy Learmonth, who clocked his PB of 1:44.73 outdoors in London in 2018, and Jamie Webb, who set his indoor PB to 1:44.54 in Torun 2021 and won two European Indoor medals (second in Glasgow 2019 and third in Torun 2021), and European under 23 champion Simone Barontini from Italy, who finished seventh at the European Championships in Munich before improving his PB to 1:44.96 in Rovereto last summer.

Men’s 1500 meters: 

Former European Under 18 champion George Mills from Great Britain will be seeking his second consecutive win in this year’s World Indoor Tour after finishing first in Karlsruhe in his indoor PB of 3:35.88. Mills will take on European Indoor 1500m bronze medallist Jesus Gomez and Michal Rozmys from Poland, who finished eighth in the Olympic final in Tokyo in 3:32.67.

Women’s 3000 meters:

Reigning world indoor champion Lemlem Hailu from Ethiopia will aim to win her second World Indoor Tour Gold race in the women’s 3000 meters. The 21-year-old Ethiopian runner started her season with a convincing win in Karlsruhe in 8:37.55. She will face 5 km record holder Ejgayehu Taye, who won the 3000m world indoor bronze medal in the 3000m in Belgrade behind Hailu and set the world seasonal best in 2021 and the fifth fastest time in history in the 5000m with 14:12.98 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene.

The other top names are Werhuha Getachew, world 3000m steeplechase silver medallist in a PB of 8:54.61 and second to Hailu in Karlsruhe in 8:37.98, and world indoor 800m silver medallist Freweyni Hailu, who finished second in the 800m in Karlsruhe this year, Winnie Nanyondo from Uganda, who finished fourth in the 1500m at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, and Maureen Koster from the Netherlands, fourth in the 5000m at the European Championships in Munich 2022. 

Men’s high jump: 

World indoor bronze medallist, Hamish Kerr from New Zealand, will be seeking his second consecutive win after clearing 2.30m in Hustopece last weekend. Kerr will clash against 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Brandon Starc, who finished fifth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and set a seasonal best of 2.27m in Hustopece, and multiple Polish indoor champion Norbert Kobielski, who won in Lodz last weekend.

Men’s 60 meters hurdles:

World 110m hurdles fourth outdoor placer Damian Czykier will try to repeat his win at last year’s edition of this meeting, where he improved the Polish indoor record to 7.48.

Czykier will take on 2019 US outdoor champion Daniel Roberts, who set the second fastest time in the world this year with 7.46 in Boston last Saturday, European under 23 bronze medallist Enrique Llopis from Spain, who won in Karlsruhe this year in 7.57, former European Indoor champion Petr Svoboda from Czech Republic, who clocked a seasonal best of 7.56 in Ostrava last week, former world indoor medallist Dimitri Bascou, and David King from Great Britain, who finished sixth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade last year.

Women’s 400 meters

European 4x400 gold medallist Lieke Klaver will be looking to improve her fresh PB of 51.00 set last week in Ostrava. Klaver finished fourth in the 400m final in a national record of 50.33 and won the silver medal with the mixed relay at the World Championships in Eugene last summer. The Dutch athlete will go head-to-head against Olympic 4x400 silver medallist Natalia Kaczmarek from Poland, who improved her PB to 49.86 in the Diamond League meeting di Chorzow last year.

Men’s 400 meters

World indoor fourth placer Benjamin Lobo Vedel from Denmark will go head-to-head against European indoor gold medallist Oscar Husillos from Spain for the second time this season. Vedel beat his Spanish rival in Karlsruhe in 46.45 on 27 January. The line-up also features world indoor bronze medallist Carl Bengstrom from Sweden, who set a seasonal best of 46.26 in Gothenburg this year.

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