Reigning Olympic champions from Tokyo 2021 Malaika Mihambo and Nafissatou Thiam and several individual gold medalists from the 2022 European Athletics Outdoor Championships will headline the European Indoor Championships women's events in Istanbul from 2 to 5 March 2023.
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Mujinga Kambundji will be looking to complete her collection of major indoor titles one year after winning the gold medal at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in her lifetime best of 6.96. Kambundji won the Swiss indoor title in St. Gallen this year, equalling the second-fastest time in her career with 7.03m. The Swiss star won the gold medal in the 200m with 22.32 and the 100m silver in 10.99 at the European Outdoor Championships in Munich 2022.
Kambundji will go head-to-head against Ewa Swoboda from Poland and Darryil Neita from Great Britain.
Swoboda set her seasonal best of 7.09 in Karlsruhe and came close to this time, clocking 7.11 at the Copernicus Cup in Torun and 7.10 at the Polish Championships. She broke the Polish indoor record with 6.99. at the National Championships last year.
Neita narrowly missed the British Indoor record clocking 7.05 at the ISTAF Indoor meeting, and won the British Indoor title in 7.17, one week before finishing second to Dina Asher-Smith in 7.13 in the World Indoor Tour Gold in Birmingham.
Asha Phillip won the European Indoor gold medal in Belgrade in 7.06 and finished runner-up to Neita at the British Indoor Championships in 7.21.
The other contenders for a spot in the final are N’Ketia Seedo from the Netherlands, who won the Dutch indoor title with a lifetime best of 7.18 in Apeldoorn, Jael Bestue from Spain, who narrowly missed the national record with her PB of 7.19m at the National Indoor Championships in Madrid, and Arialis Martinez from Portugal, who clocked 7.18 in Astana.
Femke Bol aims to retain her European Indoor title in the women’s 400 meters two weeks after breaking the long-standing world indoor record held by Jarmila Kratochvilova, clocking 49.26 at the Dutch Indoor Championships in Apeldoorn. Bol won two more races in Metz with 49.96 and in Liévin with 50.20 and improved her national record in the 200m with 22.87.
Femke Bol: “It’s still in my head. I still wonder how I managed to run so perfectly. It’s always nice to surprise yourself. If everything went well, I would run somewhere around 49.5. I did not expect to run 49.26. My status has changed, but I have not noticed it yet”.
Bol claimed the European Indoor gold medal in the 400m in Torun 2021 in 50.63 and won the Olympic bronze medal in the 400 meters hurdles in a European record of 52.03 in Tokyo. Last year the Dutch athlete won the world indoor silver in the 400 meters in 50.57, the world silver in the 400 meters hurdles in 52.27, and two individual European gold medals in the 400 meters in 49.44 and in the 400 meters hurdles in 52.67.
Bol’s training partner Lieke Klaver placed second to Bol at the Dutch Championships, improving her indoor PB to 50.34m. Klaver finished fourth at the World Championships in Eugene and sixth at the European Championships in Munich.
Lisanne De Witte is the third Dutch athlete in the line-up, with a PB of 51.90.
Anna Kielbasinka, a training partner of Bol and Klaver, won the Polish Indoor title in Torun in 51.33. Last year the Pole won the European outdoor bronze medal in 50.29.
The other medal contenders are Lada Vondrova from the Czech Republic, who set her PB of 51.57 in Ostrava, and Sharlene Mawdsley from Ireland, who clocked 51.91 in Metz.
The Netherlands won two gold medals in the 4x400 relay at the European indoor Championships in Torun in 2021 and at the European Outdoor Championships in Munich in 2022. The Dutch team will start as the favorite again in Istanbul. Bol, Klaver, and De Witte were part of the Dutch team, who won the European indoor title in Torun 2021 at 3:27.15 and the European outdoor gold medal in Munich 2022 at 3:20.87.
The other medal contenders are Poland and Great Britain, who finished second and third in Munich.
60 meters hurdles:
Reetta Hurske from Finland set a national record of 7.79 to win the 60 meters hurdles at the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Madrid. Hurske had a very consistent indoor season dipping under the 8 seconds 13 times in 2023 and also clocked 7.83 at the Finnish Championships in Helsinki and 7.81 at the Copernicus Cup in Torun.
Ditaji Kambundji, the younger sister of Mujinga, set the Swiss indoor record by clocking 7.81 at the National Indoor Championships in St. Gallen. Kambundji won the European Under 20 gold medal in Tallinn 2021 and the European outdoor bronze medal in the 100 meters hurdles in Munich.
Cyrena Samba Mayela from France won the world indoor gold medal in Belgrade in 7.78 and finished second to Hurske in the World Indoor Tour in Madrid in 7.84, coming close to her PB.
Two-time European Indoor champion Nadine Visser was returning to her best shape after 2022, plagued by injury and clocked a seasonal best of 7.85 in Torun and 7.86 twice in Paris Bercy and Madrid. The Dutch hurdler is looking to become the first three-time winner in the 60 meters hurdles since Grazina Rabtzyn between 1974 and 1976.
Natalia Christofi from Cyprus set the national record of 7.92 in Luxembourg and will be aiming to become the first athlete from her country to reach the final in this discipline in the history of the European Indoor Championships.
Pia Skryszowska set the European Indoor lead of 7.78 in Lodz, but she has been sidelined for the rest of the season by a hamstring injury at the Copernicus Cup in Torun.
World and Olympic silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson won three World Indoor Tour Gold races in Torun in 1:57.87, Liévin in 1:57.71, and Birmingham improving her British indoor record at 1:57.18 and setting the World indoor 600m best to 1:23.41 on home track in Manchester. Hodgkinson, who will celebrate her 21st birthday during the European Indoor Championships, will try to defend the title she won two years ago in Torun. Later that year, she won the Olympic silver medal in a British outdoor record of 1:55.81. Last year she won the European gold medal in Munich and two silver medals at the World Championships in Eugene and at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The entry list also features four more athletes with a sub-2:01 seasonal best and four additional athletes with a sub-2:02. A strong medal candidate is Isabelle Boffey from Great Britain, who won gold medals at the 2019 European Championships and at the 2021 European Under 23 Championships. Boffey finished third in Birmingham in 2:00.25 this year.
Anita Horvat from Slovenia finished seventh in the World Championships in Eugene and continued her excellent form this winter, finishing second in Karlsruhe in 2:00.44 and fourth in Birmingham in 2:00.62.
World Under 20 silver medallist and European Under 20 silver medallist Audrey Werro from Switzerland improved her indoor PB to 2:00.57 in Val de Reuil.
Elena Bellò broke the 2:00 barrier for the first time outdoors last June, clocking 1:58.97 in Rome and setting the Italian indoor record in the 1000m with 2:37.09 in Birmingham.
Agnes Raharolahy from France improved her PB to 2:00.83 this winter.
Laura Muir won the 1500 and 3000 meters in Belgrade in 2017 and repeated the same double two years later on home soil in Glasgow in 2019. Muir has remained unbeaten this winter, winning three World Indoor Tour races in the 3000 meters in 8:40.34 in Boston, in the mile in 4:20.15, and in the 1000 meters in 2:34.53. She ran a split in 4:03.07 in the 1500 meters en route to her win in the mile in New York. Muir has two European outdoor gold medals in the 1500m in Berlin 2018 and Munich 2022, the Olympic silver in Tokyo 2021, and the world bronze in Eugene 2022.
Katie Snowden has the second fastest time among the entrants with her PB of 4:03.98 and finished third behind Muir in the Wanamaker Mile in New York.
Polish star Sofia Ennaoui won bronze and silver medals at the 2017 and 2019 editions of the European Indoor Championships and finished third in the World Indoor Tour 1000m race in Birmingham in 2:35.69.
The other top medal contenders are Esther Guerrero from Spain, who improved her 1500m PB to 4:06.70 en route to her Spanish indoor mile of 4:24.92 in Boston on 4 February, European under 20 and under 23 medallist Ellie Baker, who won the British Indoor title in with 4:06.73 and improved her PB to 2:00.86 in the 800m in the Birmingham World Indoor Tour meeting, Sintayehu Vissa, who broke the Italian indoor record with 4:24.54 after an intermediate split of 4:07.14 in the 1500m at the Wanamaker Mile, Ludovica Cavalli, who won two Italian indoor titles in the 1500m and 3000m in Ancona, and Romania’s Claudia Bobocea, who finished second in the 1000m in 2:35.35.
Yasemin Can carry the best medal chances for the Turkish team. The 26-year-old athlete of Kenyan origin took three European gold medals in the 5000m and in the 10000m in Amsterdam in 2016 and in the 10000m in Munich in 2022. She finished second behind Konstanze Klosterhalfen in the 5000m at the European Championships in Munich last summer.
Klosterhalfen and Can will renew their rivalry in Istanbul. The German athlete won the German indoor title in the 3000 meters in Dortmund in 8:34.89 and finished second in Birmingham in 8:35.14 last Saturday. She won two European Indoor silver medals in the 1500m in Belgrade in 2017 and in the 3000m in Glasgow in 2019.
Nadia Battocletti from Italy will pursue her first European Indoor medal after winning three continental under 23 titles in the 5000m in Tallinn in 2021 and the cross country in 2021 and 2022. The Olympic 5000m seventh placer improved her PB to 8:45.32 in Liévin. The other Italian athlete in the field Ludovica Cavalli set the second-best Italian time in history in the 3000 meters with 8:44.40 in Metz.
Hanna Klein from Germany won the European Indoor bronze medal in the 3000 meters in Torun 2021 and improved her PB to 8:36.42 in Val de Reuil earlier this month.
The other top contenders are Melissa Courtney Bryant from Great Britain, who finished second to Laura Muir in the 3000m in Boston in 8:41.09 this season, and Marta Perez from Spain, who clocked 8:44.91 in Karlsruhe.
German long jump star Malaika Mihambo will chase the European Indoor gold medal, the only title that is missing in her trophy cabinet, which includes the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo 2021, two world outdoor titles in Doha 2019 with her PB of 7.30m, and in Eugene 2022, two European, outdoor awards (gold in Berlin 2018 and Munich 2022). She finished second to Maryna Beck Romanchuk in the previous edition of the European Indoor Championships in Torun 2021.
Mihambo set the second-best performance in the World this year with 6.83m in Dusseldorf and has remained unbeaten this season with two more wins in Berlin with 6.81m and at the German Indoor Championships in Dortmund with 6.66m.
Ivana Vuleta from Serbia won the European outdoor gold medal in Munich with 7.06m beating Mihambo, who recovered from a Covid-19 infection in time to win a silver medal with 7.03m in front of her home fans.
Vuleta is aiming to win her fourth European Indoor gold medal. She highlighted the 2017 edition of the European Indoor Championships on home soil in Belgrade, where she set the Serbian record and the third-best performance in history with 7.24m in front of her home fans. The Serbian star also won two world indoor gold medals in Birmingham 2018 and Belgrade 2022 with a world-leading 7.06m and the Olympic bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro 2016.
Serbian 24-year-old jumper Milica Gardasevic won the Serbian indoor title with a world seasonal best of 6.90m in Belgrade, beating Vuleta, who set a seasonal best of 6.81m.
The other medal candidates are Jazmin Sawyers from Great Britain, who won the European bronze medal in Munich and set a seasonal best of 6.75m, and Larissa Iapichino, who set the World under 20 indoor record with 6.91m in Ancona in 2021 and holds a seasonal best of 6.72m, and European Indoor bronze medallist Khaddi Sagnia, who leaped to a seasonal best of 6.66m but set a career best of 6.95m outdoors in Eugene last year.
Reigning European Indoor champion Maryna Beck Romanchuk has pulled out of the European Championships due to a leg injury.
Defending champion Yaroslava Mahuchuk is seeking her second consecutive European Indoor gold medal two years after her triumph in Torun 2021 with 2.00m. Last year, she won an emotional world indoor gold medal in Belgrade with 2.02m. She had to flee from her native city Dnipropetrovsk at the start of the Russian terror and bombardment and made a three-day journey to Belgrade. Last summer, she won her second consecutive world outdoor silver medal in Eugene with 2.02m, one year after winning the Olympic bronze in Tokyo in 2021, and won the European outdoor gold medal in Munich with 1.95m completing the full set of major European titles.
Mahuchik improved her outdoor PB to 2.05m in Brussels and her indoor PB to 2.06m in Banska Bystrika in 2022.
The Ukrainian team also features 2017 world outdoor silver Yuliya Levchenko and Katheryna Tabashnyk, who cleared 1.96m this year. Olympic and World fourth placer Iryna Geraschenko has not been selected after finishing third at the Ukrainian Championships.
Mahuchik was joined on the World Championships podium by Elena Vallortigara from Italy, who cleared 2.00m to win a bronze medal in Eugene. The Italian jumper set her seasonal best of 1.95n to place second to Mahuchik in Banska Bystrika on 14 February and won the national title in Ancona with 1.90m.
Marija Vukovic from Montenegro will seek another medal after winning the European outdoor silver in Munich.
Serbian 17-year-old rising star Angelina Topic will aim to add another continental medal to her collection after winning the European under 18 gold in Jerusalem and the European award in Munich. The daughter of 1990 European champion Dragurtin Topic set a national indoor record of 1.94m this year.
Morgan Lake improved Katarina Johnson Thompson’s British record to 1.99m in Hustopece this year and is third in the world seasonal list.
A surprise could come from Germany’s Christina Honsel, who cleared 1.98m in Weinheim, 19-year-old Britt Weerman, who won the World under 20 silver medal in Cali and improved the Dutch record to 1.96m this season, and Estonia’s Karmen Bruus, who finished seventh at the World Championships in Eugene with 1.96m at the age of 17 and won the gold medal at the World Under 20 Championships in Cali.
Finland’s Wilma Murto will be seeking to complete the collection of major continental medals after winning the European, outdoor gold in Munich 2022 with her PB of 4.85m. The Finnish vaulter set the national indoor record with 4.75m in Kuortane last January.
Tina Sutej leads the European indoor seasonal list with her national record of 4.82m in Ostrava on 2 February. The 34-year-old Slovenian vaulter won two bronze medals at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade and at the European Championships in Munich in 2022.
Former Olympic and world champion Ekaterini Stefanidi wants to add another European medal to her trophy cabinet. The Greek vaulter won the European indoor title in 2017 and two European outdoor in Amsterdam in 2016 and Berlin in 2018. She set a seasonal best of 4.62m at the Millrose Games in New York.
Roberta Bruni improved her own Italian indoor record to 4.62m at the National Indoor Championships in Ancona and backed up this result with 4.61m in Birmingham.
Amalie Svabikova set the Czech record clearing 4.72m at the National Indoor Championships in Ostrava and won the women’s competition in Clermont Ferrand with 4.66m.
Defending champion Angelica Moser from Switzerland will aim to retain her European indoor title won in Torun 2021. Moser finished fourth with 4.60m at the World Indoor Championships and cleared a seasonal best of 4.56m in Clermont Ferrand.
Portugal’s Patricia Mamona attempt to win her second consecutive European indoor title two years after her triumph in Torun. Mamona leads the entry list with 14.41 m.
Italian hopes are carried by Dariya Derkach and Ottavia Cestonaro, who finished first and second with 14.12m and 14.11m at the National Indoor Championships in Ancona. Derkach holds the second-best performance with her seasonal best of 14.25m last January.
European under 23 Tugba Damismaz from Turkey is another candidate for the podium with her seasonal of 14.13m.
Auriol Dongo will defend her first European indoor title in Torun 2021 in her first appearance for Portugal after switching allegiance from Cameroon. Dongmo went on to finish fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo with 19.75m. Last year she won the world indoor gold medal in Belgrade with her indoor PB of 20.43m.
Dongmo set her seasonal best of 19.24 in Rochlitz (Germany) on 5 February.
In Madrid, Jessica Schilder from the Netherlands improved Dongmo’s European seasonal lead with 19.25m. Schilder won the European outdoor title in Munich with her national record of 20.24m.
European silver medallist Fanny Ross from Sweden is third on the entry list with her seasonal best of 19.17m set in Madrid. The other medal candidate is Germany’s Sara Gambetta, who produced a seasonal best of 18.57m in Karlsruhe.
Nafissatou Thiam has completed her second “Grand Slam” of major heptathlon titles, which includes two Olympic gold medal medals in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2021, two world titles in London 2017 and Eugene 2022, and two European gold medals in Berlin 2018 and Munich 2022. The Belgian combined events star is seeking her third European Indoor gold medal after her triumphs in Belgrade 2017 with 4870 points and Torun 2021 with 4904. She is currently training under her new coach Michael Van der Plaetzen.
In Torun, Thiam led a Belgian double European indoor medal beating her compatriot Noor Vidts.
Vidts won the World Indoor gold medal in Belgrade last year with 4929 points improving Thiam’s Belgian indoor record to move up to sixth on the all-time world list. Vidts’ preparation for the European Championships in Istanbul has been affected by a bout of flu.
European heptathlon silver medallist Adrianna Sulek won two pentathlon competitions this year in Tallinn with 4702 points and at the Polish Championships in Torun with 4860 points. Sulek has set the goal to break Natalya Dobrinska’s world indoor record of 5013 points set at the World Indoor Championships at the Atakoy Arena in Istanbul.
The rising star to watch is 19-year-old Saga Vanninen, reigning World and European under 20 champion. The Finnish athlete, who holds a pentathlon PB of 4541 points, smashed her PBs in the 60m hurdles to 8.25m and in the shot put to 16.12m.
Read More: European Indoor Championships men's event by event preview