DÜSSELDORF - The city of Düsseldorf sets the stage for a grand athletics event: On Sunday, February 4, 2024, the ISTAF INDOOR Düsseldorf will draw a crowd of over 6,000 enthusiasts to cheer on both international elites and beloved German athletes. The PSD BANK DOME will host seven exciting events, kicking off with youth competitions at 12:30 pm, followed by the main events starting at 1:30 pm. The spectacle will reach audiences in over 80 countries, with ARD providing live coverage in Germany.
Martin Seeber, the event's director, shares his excitement: "We're eagerly awaiting the return of the ISTAF INDOOR season. With the support of numerous fans and exceptional athletes, Düsseldorf is set to shine as the athletics hotspot."
Highlighting the roster of talent are global stars like the two-time pole vault world champion Sam Kendricks from the USA, European champion Jeremiah Azu of Great Britain in the 4x100 meters, and Spain's Asier Martínez, the world's leading 60-meter hurdler. Germany's own Malaika Mihambo, the Olympic and world champion in long jump, is a standout attraction. Mihambo has set records at ISTAF INDOOR, claiming victory in Düsseldorf three times and four times in Berlin, with her personal best indoor leap of 7.07 meters in Berlin in 2020 and her longest jump of the year at 6.96 meters in Düsseldorf in 2022.
Mihambo, celebrating her 30th birthday just a day before the event, is optimistic about her return following a significant injury. "The ISTAF INDOOR offers an unparalleled atmosphere. Despite my recent challenges, I'm excited to compete again," she states, reflecting on her early season end in 2023 due to a muscle tear.
Local hero Bo Kanda Lita Baehre is also making a notable return to competition. After recovering from a meniscus injury, the German pole vault champion and European Championship silver medalist is poised to begin the Olympic season in his hometown, representing his new club ART Düsseldorf for the first time. "It's thrilling to make my comeback at the ISTAF INDOOR in Düsseldorf, marking a new chapter with ART Düsseldorf," he expresses.
In a historic first for the event, Paralympic athletes will compete, featuring champions like Johannes Floors from Germany and world champions Maxcel Amo Manu from Italy and Joel de Jong from the Netherlands. Martin Seeber, the meeting director, aims to spotlight these exceptional athletes in a year marked by the Paralympics. "Just as we've integrated wheelchair speed racing for juniors into our events, we're now excited to present Paralympic sprints to our audience in Düsseldorf and Berlin," Seeber comments, underlining the event's commitment to inclusivity and excellence in athletics.