The Czech Indoor Gala, an illustrious event in the athletic calendar, is poised to captivate sports enthusiasts on Tuesday, 30 January, as it hosts some of the world's most decorated athletes in Ostrava. This prestigious gathering marks the second leg of the World Indoor Tour Gold, following its successful inauguration in Astana last Saturday. The spotlight shines on a roster of acclaimed international stars, including Greece's Miltiadis Tentoglou, the reigning Olympic long jump champion; Ewa Swoboda of Poland, the European 60 metres indoor silver medallist; New Zealand's Tom Walsh, celebrated for his 2017 world outdoor gold medal in shot put; and Freweyni Hailu from Ethiopia, the world indoor 800 metres silver medallist.
Men’s long jump:
World, Olympic and European champion Miltiadis Tentoglou will open his 2024 indoor season in the men’s long jump at the Czech Indoor Gala in Ostrava. The Greek jumper is aiming to improve the meeting record of 8.21m set by Tobias Montler in 2022. Tentoglou took two wins at the Czech meeting in 2018 when he was a teenager and in 2020.
Tentoglou won the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo 2021, the world outdoor title in Budapest 2023, two European outdoor titles in Berlin 2018 and Munich 2022 and the world indoor title in Belgrade 2022, three European indoor titles in Glasgow 2021, Torun 2022 and Istanbul 2023 and the Diamond League Trophy in Zurich in 2022.
Tentoglou will face Czech record holder Radek Juska, last year’s European under 20 silver medallist Bozhidar Saraboyukov (PB 8.22m), European bronze medallist Jules Pommery from France and Czech rising star Petr Meindlschmidt.
Miltiadis Tentoglou: “I am looking forward to a successful start to the indoor season, which I would like to crown with my world indoor title”.
A women’s mile race will be held for the first time in the history of the Czech Indoor Gala. World indoor 800 metres silver medallist Freweyni Hailu from Ethiopia will go head-to-head against her compatriot Hirut Meshesha, who won the world indoor bronze medal in the 1500 metres.
Hailu also won the world silver medal in the mile at the World Road Running Championships in Riga and finished fourth in the 1500 metres at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 in 3:57.60 and at the World Championships in Eugene 2022 in 4:01.28. Hailu had previously won in the 1500 metres at the Golden Spike outdoor meeting in Ostrava in 4:04.20 in 2021. She holds an outdoor mile PB of 4:14.79 at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco.
Meshesha set her mile outdoor PB clocking 4:20.00 at the Bislett Games in Oslo last June.
Hailu and Meshesha will be joined by Elise Vanderelst from Belgium, European indoor champion in the 1500 metres in Torun 2021, Claudia Bobocea from Romania, European indoor silver medallist in Istanbul 2023, Sofia Thorgesen from Denmark, European under 20 silver medallist in the 1500 and 3000 metres in Jerusalem 2023, and Simona Vrzalova, Czech indoor record holder with 4:05.73 in Ostrava in 2019.
Men’s shot put:
Tom Walsh from New Zealand leads a star-studded line-up in the men’s shot put. Walsh won the world outdoor gold medal in London 2017, two world indoor titles in Portland 2016 and Birmingham 2018 and two Olympic bronze medals in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and Tokyo 2021. Walsh set the Oceanian record of 22.90m at the World Championships in Doha 2019, when he won the bronze medal.
Walsh will compete in his first indoor competition outside the World Indoor Championships. He competed many times at the outdoor Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava, where he won in 2019 with 22.27m and finished second twice in 2022 with 21.88m and in 2023 with 22.15m.
Walsh will take on Filip Mihaljevic from Croatia, European outdoor champion in Munich 2022, Tomas Stanek from Czech Republic, European indoor champion in Torun 2021, Michal Haratyk from Poland, European outdoor champion in Berlin 2018, and Konrad Bukowiecki from Poland, European indoor champion in Belgrade 2017. The line-up will also feature Rajindra Campbell, Jamaican outdoor record holder with 22.22m in Madrid last July, Chukuebuka Enekwechi from Nigeria, national record holder with 21.80m in Shifflange (Luxembourg) in 2019, and NACAC champion Roger Steen from the USA, who finished second in Astana with 20.58m last Saturday. Enekwechi took second place behind world silver medallist Leonardo Fabbri with 21.14m at the World Indoor Tour Bronze meeting in Lodz, but he beat Campbell and Mihalievic, who finished second and third respectively in the Polish indoor meeting with 21.13m and 21.08m.
Women’s 60 metres:
Ewa Swoboda from Poland could threaten the women’s 60 metres meeting record of 7.10 set by Michelle Lee Ahye eight years ago. Swoboda won at the Orlen Cup in Lodz last Saturday setting the fastest time in the world this year with 7.04.
Swoboda improved her national record to 6.99 in the 60 metres in Torun in 2022 and won three medals at the European Indoor Championships (gold in Glasgow 2019, silver in Belgrade 2017 and Istanbul 2023) and finished fourth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade 2022 in 7.04. Swoboda won the 60m at the Czech Indoor Gala in 7.21 in 2018 and used the Ostrava track for training. She improved the national record to 10.94 in the 100 metres at the Diamond League meeting in Chorzow last July.
Swoboda will face in-form Patrizia Van der Weken from Luxembourg, who improved the national record to 7.09 at the World Indoor Tour Bronze meeting in Luxembourg on 21 January, two-time NCAA indoor champion Remona Burchell, Rani Rosius from Belgium, fourth at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul and third at the Orlen Cup in 7.17 and Czech record holder Karolina Manasova.
Men’s 60 metres:
Italy’s Samuele Ceccarelli will make his second appearance this indoor season after finishing fourth at the World Indoor Tour Bronze meeting in Dortmund in 6.65 on 20 January. Ceccarelli made a major breakthrough last March when he won the European Indoor gold medal in Istanbul in 6.48 beating Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs after improving his PB to 6.47. Ceccarelli returns to Ostrava where he finished second in 10.15 at the Golden Spike outdoor meeting last June.
The Italian sprinter will face European 100 metres champion Jeremiah Azu from Great Britain, who won the 60 metres at last year’s edition of the Czech Indoor Gala in 6.58 missing his PB by 0.02.
Home fans will cheer on Jan Veleba, who won at the Czech Indoor Gala in 2022, and national indoor champion Zdenek Stromskik, 2019 European Indoor champion Jan Volko from Slovakia. The line-up also features Yoshihide Kiryu from Japan, Olympic silver medallist in the 4x100 relay in Tokyo 2021.
Men’s 200 metres:
Israel’s Blessing Afrifah will run the second indoor 200 metres race of his career. The 20-year-old sprinter of Nigerian origin ran 20.95 on his debut in Metz last year. Afrifah, who won the world under 20 gold medal in Cali 2022, will take on Czech record holder Ondrej Macik.
Women’s pole vault:
Slovenia’s Tina Sutej will take on Angelica Moser in the women’s pole vault. Sutej won for the third time in her career at the Czech Indoor Tour in 2023 setting a national record and a meeting record with 4.82m. Sutej won bronze medals at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade and at the European outdoor Championships in Munich in 2022 and finished fourth at the World Championships in Budapest. She will compete for the fifth time in her career in Ostrava.
Moser equalled her PB 4.75m at the World Championships in Budapest to finish fifth, one spot behind Sutej. The Swiss pole vaulter won the European indoor gold medal in Torun 2021 and finished fourth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade 2022.
Czech vaulter Amalie Svabikova finished second behind Sutej at last year’s edition of the Czech Indoor Gala and set a national record with 4.72m at the Czech Indoor Championships in the same arena.
Italian indoor record holder Roberta Bruni will compete for the second time this year after winning in Zaragoza with 4.53m. Bruni, who is now coached by Cuban coach Alexandre Navas in Spain, held the national outdoor record until last September with her 4.72 PB set in Rovereto in 2022 and cleared the Italian indoor record with 4.62m in Ancona last year.
Women’s 60 metres hurdles:
Alaysha Johnson from the USA won the women’s 60 metres hurdles in 7.87 at last year’s edition of the Czech Indoor Gala in Ostrava and the national indoor title in Albuquerque improving her PB to 7.82. Johnson won the Panamerican Games bronze medal in 2023 and set her outdoor PB with 12.35 in the 100 metres hurdles at the US Championships in Eugene in 2022.
Johnson will face Pia Skrzyszowska, who won the European outdoor gold medal in Munich 2022 and set PBs of 7.78 in the 60 metres hurdles and 12.51 in the 100 metres hurdles. Skrzyszovska clocked 7.85 twice in the heats and final at the Orlen Cup in Lodz.
The line-up also features Reetta Hurske from Finland, European Indoor champion with 7.79 in Istanbul, Nadine Visser from the Netherlands, two-time European Indoor champion in Glasgow 2019 and Torun 2021 and Ostrava meeting record holder with 7.86m, and Sarah Lavin from Ireland, who improved her PB twice to 7.93 in the heats and 7.91 at the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Astana last Saturday.
Women’s 400 metres:
Lieke Klaver from the Netherlands will return to Ostrava, where she set the meeting record with 51.00 in 2023. The Dutch athlete went on to win the European indoor silver in Istanbul 2023 behind her friend and training partner Femke Bol and reached two world outdoor finals in the 400 metres finishing fourth in Eugene 2022 and sixth in Budapest 2023. She won gold medals at the European Championships in Munich 2022 and at the World Championships in Budapest 2023. Klaver improved her outdoor PB to 49.81 at the Diamond League meeting in Chorzow last year.
Klaver will face Justyna Swiety Ersetic from Poland, 2018 European champion in the 400m and in the 4x400 relay, British 400 metres hurdler Jessie Knight from Great Britain, 2020 Czech Indoor Gala Lada Vondrova world mixed 4x400 relay bronze medallist Tereza Petrzlikova and reigning European under 20 champion Lurdes Gloria Manuel from Czech Republic.
Men’s 1500 metres:
Jake Heyward from Great Britain, European silver medallist in 2022, will face Portugal’s Isaac Nader and Czech record holder Filip Sasinek. The goal could be the meeting record of 3:35.93 set by Elliott Giles in 2022.
Men’s 400 metres:
Three-time world indoor champion Pavel Maslak will go head-to-head against Attila Molnar, Hungarian record holder with 44.84, world mixed relay bronze medallist Patrik Sorm and Czech Republic’s Matej Krsek. Sorm and Maslak finished in the top two in 47.01 to 47.70 respectively at the World Indoor Tour meeting in Astana.
Men’s 800 metres:
European indoor silver medallist Mateusz Borkowski will face last year’s European Indoor finalist Catalin Tecuceanu, who improved his outdoor PB to 1:44.79 in the World Championships in Budapest, Jakub Dedycha, European under 20 champion in Jerusalem last year, British champion Daniel Rowden, who improved his PB to 1:43.95 at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco, and Botswana’s Tshepiso Masalela, who finished sixth in the World Championships final in Budapest and improved his PB to 1:44.03 in Brussels last year.