Seven reigning Olympic champions from Tokyo 2021 and eighteen individual gold medallists from the 2022 European Athletics Championships will headline the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul from 2 to 5 March 2023.
The seven Olympic champions due to compete in the Turkish city are Marcell Jacobs from Italy (60 meters), Karsten Warholm from Norway (400 meters), Jakob Ingebrigtsen from Norway (1500 and 3000 meters), Miltiadis Tentoglou from Greece (long jump) and Pedro Pablo Pichardo from Portugal (triple jump) on the men’s side, Malaika Mihambo (long jump) and Nafissatou Thiam (pentathlon) on the women’s side.
Men’s events preview:
Defending champion Marcell Lamont Jacobs will seek his third consecutive major international indoor title after winning the 60 meters at the European Indoor title in Torun 2021 with 6.47 and at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade with a European record of 6.41. Jacobs won two Olympic gold medals in the 100m with a European record of 9.80 and in the 4x100 relay with a national record of 37.50 and the European 100m title in 9.95 in Munich last August despite a tough season plagued by injury problems. Jacobs started the 2023 indoor season with a win in Lodz in 6.57 and lost his first indoor race after 19 consecutive wins when he placed second in 6.57 to Ferdinand Omanyala in Liévin.
At this year’s Italian Indoor Championships in Ancona, Jacobs was surprisingly beaten by newcomer Samuele Ceccarelli, who won his first Italian title with his PB of 6.54m beating Jacobs by one-hundredth of a second. Samuele, a 22-year-old law student, started the season with a lifetime best of 6.72 and had dipped under 6.6 for the first time in his career, clocking 6.58 at the ISTAF Indoor meeting in Berlin.
Reece Prescod from Great set the European indoor seasonal best with 6.49 at the ISTAF Indoor meeting in Berlin and won the British Indoor title in Birmingham in 6.54. Prescod is unbeaten in his nine indoor races this year. The other British medal contender is European Under 23 champion Jeremiah Azu, who finished third in the 100 meters at the European Championships in Munich.
The medal hopes for the Turkish fans are carried by Kayhan Ozer, who improved his PB to 6.58 this year, and Emre Zafer Barnes, who holds the national record of 6.55.
The other final candidates are Alexandar Askovic from Germany, Dominic Kopec from Poland, and Henrik Larsson from Sweden, who holds the same PB of 6.56, Israel Olatunde from Ireland, who won the national title at 6.57, and Pascal Mancini, who set the Swiss record with 6.58.
Olympic 400 meters hurdles Karsten Warholm from Norway will chase his second European Indoor title in the 400 meters. Warholm won the gold medal in Glasgow in 2019 in 45.05, equalling the long-standing European Indoor record held by Thomas Schoenlebe since 1987.
Warholm set the two fastest times in Europe this year in his only two indoor races this winter, clocking 45.31 at the Karsten Warholm Invitational in his hometown Ulsteinvik and 45.52 at the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Liévin.
Warholm will face Oscar Husillos from Spain, seeking to retain the European indoor title two years after his gold medal in Torun 2021. Warholm beat Husillos in Glasgow 2019. The Spanish athlete improved his national record to 45.58 at the National Indoor Championships in Madrid.
Oscar Husillos: “The truth is that I am delighted that Karsten will be in Istanbul, and I will be able to compete against him and hopefully come out on top in the end. However, whatever happens, I will do my best, and may the best man win. I am determined to finish the season in the best possible way”.
The other strong medal candidates are Dutch 400 meters specialists Isayah Boers and Liemarvin Bonevacia, who finished first and second at the national championships in Apeldoorn, clocking 45.72 and 45.83 respectively, European outdoor silver medallist Ricky Petucciani and Lionel Spitz, who clocked 46”27 and 46.14 respectively this year, Carl Bengstrom from Sweden, who won the world indoor bronze medal in Belgrade and clocked a seasonal best of 46.15 this year in Torun, Benjamin Lobo Vedel from Denmark, fourth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade and third at the World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid with 45.98, and Inaki Canal, second at the Spanish Indoor Championships in Madrid with 45.89.
A solid Dutch team will seek to retain their title won two years ago in Torun. The other strong medal contenders are Belgium featuring brothers Dylan and Kevin Borlée, who won gold medals at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade and at the European Championships in Munich in 2022, the Turkish team, which features European 400m hurdles bronze medallist Yasmani Copello and World under 20 400m hurdles champion Ismai Nezir.
60 meters hurdles:
Former European under 20 and under 23 champion Jason Joseph from Switzerland leads the European indoor list in the men’s 60 meters hurdles with his Swiss record of 7.44 set at the National Indoor Championships in St. Gallen. Joseph also holds the national outdoor record of 13.12 in the 110 meters hurdles.
Joseph will take on European Under 23 silver medallist Enrique Llopis, who won a close 60m hurdles race over Asler Martinez in 7.57 in Karlsruhe. Later this winter Llopis won the Spanish title equaling Orlando Ortega’s national record of 7.48 in Madrid, and placed second in 7.51 in the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in the Spanish capital.
Pascal Martinot Lagarde won the world indoor silver medal behind Grant Holloway in 7.50 and finished second to Asler Martinez in a very close photo-finish in the 110 meters hurdles at the European Championships in 13.14. In his previous four appearances at the European Indoor Championships, the Frenchman won gold in Prague in 2015, leading a French podium sweep ahead of Dimitri Bascou and Wilhelm Belocian, silver in Belgrade 2017, Glasgow 2019, and bronze in Goteborg 2013.
Bascou, who also won the world indoor bronze medal in Portland in 2016, will be in the French team in Istanbul after finishing third at the National Indoor Championships in Aubière in 7.58.
Paolo Dal Molin from Italy will pursue his third European Indoor medal after finishing second in Goteborg in 2013, a national record of 7.51, and third in Torun in 7.55.
Twenty-year-old Pole Jakub Szymanski won the national title in Torun with 7.53 and finished third at the Copernicus Cup in Torun with 7.58. Last year’s European 110 meters bronze medallist Just Kwaou Mathey from France won the French indoor title in 7.53 in Aubiére, defeating Martinot Lagarde.
Wilhelm Belocian will not defend his title due to injury. European, outdoor champion Asler Martinez has withdrawn from the European Indoor Championships due to a back injury.
Tibo De Smet from Belgium set the fastest time in Europe this season with his national indoor record of 1:45.04 set in Luxembourg last January. Only Noah Kibet ran faster than De Smet at the world level with 1:44.98 in New York. De Smet finished second to Elliot Crestan at the Belgian Championships in Gent last week.
Creston, who won the World under 20 bronze medal in Tampere 2018, could also fight for an award in a wide-open race.
Mariano Garcia from Spain will chase his third international title after winning gold medals at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade and the European, outdoor Championships in Munich. Garcia won a World Indoor Tour Gold race in Boston in 1:45.26, missing his PB by 14 hundredths of a second.
The other potential candidates for a medal are Amel Tuka from Bosnia and Herzegovina, two-time world outdoor medallist in Bejing 2015 and Doha 2019, Andreas Kramer from Sweden, 2018 European outdoor silver medallist, Mark English from Ireland, two-time European outdoor bronze medallist in Zurich 2014 and Munich 2022 and European indoor silver and bronze medallist in 2015 and 2019 respectively, Saul Ordonez from Spain, winner at the World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid in 1:45.88 (the second fastest runner in the field), Catalin Tecuceanu from Italy, who won the Italian Indoor title setting the second national indoor time in history with 1:45.98, two-time European Indoor 400m medallist and Olympic 4x400 relay silver medallist Tony Van Diepen from the Netherlands, who set an 800m PB of 1:44.14 in Paris last June.
Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen won his only indoor 1500 meters race this season in the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Liévin in a world seasonal best time of 3:32.38 after missing more than one month’s training due to illness.
The Norwegian star aims to retain his 1500 meters, and 3000 meters titles won in Torun two years ago. If he wins both races in Istanbul, Ingebrigtsen will take his tally to ten European senior indoor and outdoor medals. His collection already includes the “double-double” of European gold medals in the 1500m and 5000m in Berlin 2018 and Munich 2022, and four European Indoor medals (gold in the 3000m and silver in the 1500m in Glasgow 2019 and the double gold medal in the 1500m and 3000m in Torun 2021).
Ingebrigtsen will take on Neil Gourley from Great Britain, who set the British indoor record in Birmingham last Saturday, clocking 3:32.48. During a successful indoor season, Gourley finished second behind Yared Nuguse in the mile in New York, improving his PB to 3:49.46.
Neil Gourley: “I have been talking about winning a major medal for a while because I have not done it, so that’s the first goal. I want to be challenged for the win. It’s going to be tough against Ingebrigtsen. It will be a case of trying to go head-to-head with him, which is immensely challenging, but a compatriot of mine, Jake Wightman, was able to do it last year at the World Championships in Eugene”.
The other two medal contenders are Andrew Coscoran, who clocked 3:33.49 in Birmingham, improving not only Marcus Sullivan’s Irish indoor record of 3:35.40 but also Ray Flynn’s outright national record by 0.01, and Michal Rozmys from Poland, who finished eighth in the Olympic 1500 meters final in 3:32.67 and holds an outdoor PB of 3:32.43, George Mills from Great Britain, winner in Karlsruhe in 3:35.88, Azzedine Habz from France, first in Torun in 3:35.59, Amos Bartelsmayer from Germany, who recently set the national indoor record over the mile distance with 3:50.45, and Pietro Arese from Italy, who finished eighth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade and fourth in his PB 3:35.00 at the European Championships in Munich.
Ingebrigtsen will chase his third consecutive European Indoor gold medal in the 3000 meters. He set his indoor PB over this distance, clocking 7:48.20 when he won his second European indoor title in Torun two years ago, but he ran faster outdoors, setting a national record of 7:27.05 in Rome.
Ingebrigtsen will take on Adel Mechaal from Spain, who won the European Indoor gold medal in the 3000 meters in Belgrade in 2017, beating Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s elder brother Henrik and the bronze medal in Torun 2021. Mechaal finished fifth in the 1500m at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 in 3:30.77. The Spaniard broke the national 1500m indoor record clocking 3:33.28 in Birmingham last Saturday.
Sam Parsons from Germany holds a seasonal best of 7:39.94, the fastest time in the field on this season’s times.
Reigning Olympic champion Miltiadis Tentoglou is chasing his third consecutive European Indoor gold medal in the men’s long jump. If the 24-year-old Greek jumper achieves this feat, he will equal Hans Baumgartner as the only male athlete to win three European indoor long jump titles.
Tentoglou won the gold medal at the past two editions of the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow 2019 with 8.38m and Torun 2021 with 8.35m. Last year he won the world indoor gold medal in Belgrade with a national indoor record of 8.55m, the European outdoor gold medal in Munich with 8.52m, and the Diamond League Trophy with 8.42m. He set the world indoor seasonal lead with 8.41m in Liévin and won three more competitions this year in Goteborg with 8.12m, at the Greek Indoor Championships with 8.20m, and in the World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid with 8.15m.
Tentoglou’s most prominent challenger is Thobias Montler, who won the silver medal at the past two editions of the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow and in Torun and finished second at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade with a Swedish record of 8.38m. Montler set a seasonal best in Stockholm with 8.19m last January.
Jaime Guerra from Spain is ranked third in the European indoor seasonal list, with his PB of 8.08m set in Madrid on 22 February.
The rising star to watch is Italy’s Mattia Furlani, who set the European under-20 indoor record with 7.99m in Stockholm last January. Furlani won a rare combination of two European Under 18 gold medals in the long jump with a national under 18 record of 8.04m and a high jump of 2.15m in Jerusalem last July.
The next generation is also represented by Bulgaria’s Bozhydar Saraboyukov, who also combines the high jump and long jump successfully. The Bulgarian athlete won the world silver in the high jump at the World Under 20 Championships in Cali 2022.
Jules Pommery from France and Gabriel BItan from Romania set seasonal best performances of 7.96m and 7.95m, respectively.
Reigning Olympic, World, and European champion Pedro Pablo Pichardo from Portugal aims to win his second European Indoor title. Pichardo won the gold medal in the previous edition in Torun 2021 with 17.30m, and later that year, he won the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo with 17.98m. Last year the Portuguese jumper won the World gold medal with 17.95m in Eugene and completed the “Grand Slam” of major international titles by winning the European gold in Munich with 17.50m. He jumped beyond the 18 meters twice in Habana with 18.08m and Doha with 18.06m.
Pichardo jumped 17.12m in his only competition this year in Pombal.
The favorites for a spot on the podium are Benjamin Compaoré from France, Max Hess from Germany, and Tobia Bocchi, who have all jumped beyond the 16.80m barrier this year.
Hess won three European Indoor bronze medals in Belgrade 2017, Glasgow 2019, and Torun 2021, the European outdoor gold in Amsterdam 2016, and the World Indoor silver medal in Portland 2016. The German jumper won the national indoor title in Dortmund with 16.73 m.
Compaoré from France won the European gold medal in Zurich 2014 with 17.46m and the national indoor title with 16.95m.
Bocchi finished fourth at the European Indoor Championships in Torun 2021 and at the European Championships in Munich 2022 and won the Italian indoor title this year with a seasonal best of 16.83m.
In the absence of world record holder Armand Duplantis, who has decided to skip the European Championships to focus on his preparation for the outdoor season, the men’s pole vault is shaping up as a wide-open competition. Nine vaulters are entered with seasonal best performances between 5.80m and 5.91m.
Menno Vlonn from the Netherlands leads the entry list with his seasonal best of 5.91m set last Saturday in the All-Star Perche Meeting in Clermont Ferrand, where Duplantis improved his world record to 6.22m.
Sondre Guttormsen from Norway improved the national record to 5.90m in Albuquerque on 4 February. Guttormsen, a student at Princeton University in the United States, won the NCAA outdoor title with 5.75m in Eugene and placed sixth at the European outdoor Championships in Munich last year.
Emmanouil Karalis from Greece, who finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, cleared 5.83m in Karlsruhe and improved his national record to 5.86n to win the national indoor title in Athens.
Five vaulters are entered with a seasonal best of 5.82: Ben Broeders from Belgium, Claudio Stecchi from Italy, Torben Blech from Germany, Paul Haugen Lillefosse from Norway, and Rutger Koppelaar from the Netherlands.
Broeders improved his national record to 5.82m in Torun and won the national indoor title with 5.80m in Gent.
Stecchi, who finished fourth at the European Championships in Glasgow and eighth at the World Championships in Doha in 2019, cleared 5.82m in Liévin, equalling the Italian indoor record held by his coach Giuseppe Gibilisco.
Lillefosse won the European under 20 gold medal in Boras 2019 and the European bronze medal in Munich with 5.75m. The Norwegian jumper cleared 5.82m in Uppsala and 5.80m at the National Championships in Baerum.
Koppelaar placed fourth at the European Championships in Munich with 5.75n and improved his PB to 5.82m in Torun.
Blech won three consecutive German indoor titles in 2020, 2021, and 2022 and cleared 5.82m in Dortmund.
Piotr Lisek went to the podium at the last four editions of the European Indoor Championships (gold in Belgrade 2017, silver in Glasgow 2019, and bronze in Prague 2015 and Torun 2021). The Polish outdoor record holder set a seasonal best of 5.72m in Torun and Osjiek.
Andriy Protsenko is chasing his first major championships gold medal. The 34-year-old Ukrainian jumper won two silver medals at the European outdoor Championships in Zurich in 2014 and at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow in 2019, two bronze medals at the World Outdoor Championships in Eugene and at the European outdoor Championships in Munich in 2022. Protsenko set the third-best performance in the World this winter with 2.32m in Banska Bystrika.
Tobias Potye from Germany, who won the European outdoor silver medal in his home city Munich, is second on the entry list with his seasonal best of 2.28m set at the National Indoor Championships in Dortmund.
Another strong medal contender is Thomas Carmody from Belgium, who won the European Indoor bronze medal in Torun 2021 and cleared a seasonal best of 2.27m in Hustopece. Germany’s Julian Wagner and Italy’s Stefano Sottile also jumped 2.27m in Weinheim. Sottile, who holds an outdoor PB of 2.33m, recently won his second Italian indoor title with 2.26m.
Mateusz Przybilko from Germany and Marco Fassinotti from Italy cleared a seasonal best of 2.24m, but they hold a lifetime best of 2.35m. Przybilko won the European outdoor gold medal in Munich in 2022 and the world indoor bronze medal in Birmingham in 2018.
Bob Bertemes from Luxembourg leads the European Indoor seasonal list with his national indoor record of 21.93m and holds an outdoor PB of 22.28m. The 2015 European under 23 silver medallist is aiming to win his first continental senior medal.
Tomas Stanek defends the European Indoor title he won in Torun. The Czech shot putter set his indoor seasonal best of 21.69m in Kladno last January and won the national indoor title in Ostrava with 21.43m.
The other top contenders are Croatia’s Filip Mihaljevic, Serbia’s Armin Sinancevic, and Poland’s Michal Haratyk.
Mihaljevic won the European outdoor gold medal in Munich 2022 with 21.88m and the European indoor bronze in Torun 2021 with 21.31m. The Croatian shot putter set his seasonal best of 21.42m in Belgrade.
Sinancevic claimed the European silver medal in Munich behind Mihaljevic with 21.39m.
Haratyk won the European outdoor and indoor gold medals in Berlin 2018 and Glasgow 2019, respectively.
Ukraine’s Roman Kokoshko set the third-best performance in Europe this season with 21.66m in Pombal (Portugal).
Italy has solid medal chances with the trio formed by Leonardo Fabbri, Zane Weir, and Nick Ponzio. Fabbri has remained unbeaten this indoor season, winning all of his four competitions in Val de Reuil (21.33m), Parma (21.49m), Belgrade (21.53m), and at the Italian Indoor Championships in Ancona, where he missed Zane Weir’s national indoor record by seven cm with his indoor PB of 21.60m.
Weir has returned from injury with three competitions beyond the 21 meters (21.32m in Rochlitz, 21.45m in Sassnitz, and 21.46 at the Italian Indoor Championships in Ancona). The Italian shot putter of South African origin placed fifth in the Olympic final in Tokyo 2021 with 21.41m and sixth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade with a national indoor record of 21.67m.
Ponzio placed seventh at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, ninth at the World Championships in Eugene, and fourth at the European Championships in Munich in 2022. He placed third with 20.60m at the Italian Indoor Championships in Ancona.
Olympic champion Kevin Mayer aims to win his third European Indoor gold medal after his triumphs in Belgrade in 2017 and Torun in 2021. The Frenchman set the still-standing European Indoor record of 6479 in Belgrade six years ago. Mayer won the gold medal two years ago with 6392 points with a margin of 234 points. Mayer won his second world decathlon title in Eugene last summer with 8816 points.
Mayer will go head-to-head with Swiss record holder Simon Ehammer, who won the world indoor silver medal in the heptathlon in Belgrade, the world bronze medal in the long jump, and the European silver medal in the decathlon with a national record of 8468 points. He set the World outdoor all-time best of 8.45m in the long jump. Ehammer leads the European seasonal list in the heptathlon with 6242 points.
The youngest athlete in the line-up is Sander Skotheim from Norway, who set a Norwegian record of 6255 points and improved his high jump PB to 2.20m.
Jorge Urena from Spain is chasing his fourth European Indoor medal, following finishing second in 2017 and 2021 and first in 2019.
Maicel Uibo, who leads a solid Estonian contingent of three athletes, aims to win his third international medal after finishing second in the decathlon at the World Championships in Doha 2019 and third in the heptathlon at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham 2018. Uibo finished second with 6120 in the combined events meeting in Tallinn this year.
The other athlete to watch is Dario Dester, who set the Italian indoor record with 6038 points last year and finished sixth in the decathlon at the European Championships in Munich, improving the national record with 8218 points.