Irena Szewinska Memorial Preview

Posted by: Watch Athletics

Many of Poland’s best will take on some of the world’s leading athletes when the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold continues with the Irena Szewinska Memorial in Bydgoszcz on Thursday, June 20. Among the Polish and international stars are European champions such as sprinter Natalia Kaczmarek and hammer thrower Wojciech Nowicki from Poland, along with Italian shot putter Leonardo Fabbri. This prestigious event promises thrilling competitions featuring top-tier athletes, showcasing their talents in various track and field disciplines​.

Women’s 400 metres:

The Bydgoszcz meeting is named after late Polish legend Irena Szewinska, who won two Olympic gold medals in the 200 metres in Mexico City 1968 and in the 400 metres in Montreal 1976 breaking the world record with 49.28. That mark remained the Polish record until 10 June 2024, when Nataliya Kaczmarek smashed it to 48.98 to win the European gold medal.

Kaczmarek also won the world silver medal behind Marileidy Paulino in 49.57 in Budapest 2023. This year she won in Chorzow in 50.42 and in Ostrava in 50.09 and finished second to Paulino in two Diamond League in Xiamen in 50.29 and Oslo in 49.80.

Kaczmarek will face her compatriots Justyna Swiety Ersetic, European gold medallist in the 400 metres and 4x400 relay in Berlin 2018, Iga Baumgart Witan, Olympic silver medallist in the 4x400 relay in Tokyo 2021, Andrea Miklos from Romania, fifth in the European Championships final in 50.71, and Ama Pipi from Great Britain, world bronze medallist in the 4x400 relay in 3:21.04 in Budapest 2024.

Men’s hammer throw:

All three medallists from the recent European Championships in Rome Wojciech Nowicki, Bence Halasz from Hungary and Mykhaylo Kokhan from the Ukraine will clash again in Bydgoszcz. Nowicki won the Olympic gold medal with 82.52m in Tokyo 2021, his third consecutive European gold medal in Rome 2024 with 80.95m and two world silver medals in Eugene 2022 and Budapest 2023. Nowicki won at the Bydgoszcz meeting in 2022 with 80.28m and in 2023 with 79.52m.

Halasz won two world bronze medals in Doha 2019 and Budapest 2023 and the European silver medal with 80.49m in Rome 2024. Kokhan won the European bronze medal with 80.18m and finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 and fifth at the World Championships in Budapest 2023. The line-up also features five-time world champion Pawel Fajdek and Denzel Comenentia, who set the Dutch record with 79.09m at the Los Angeles Grand Prix.

Men’s shot put:

Italian shot put star Leonardo Fabbri has remained unbeaten in all of six competitions this year. He broke Alessandro Andrei’s national record with 22.95m in Savona and won his first European outdoor gold medal in Rome with 22.45m in front of his home fans. Fabbri also won four more competitions in Modena (22.88m), Lucca (22.59m), Asti (22.91m) and Ostrava (22.40m).

Fabbri will face Rajindra Campbell, who improved the Jamaican record to 22.22m in Madrid and set a seasonal best of 22.16m in the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in the Spanish capital last February. The line-up also features Polish shot putters Michal Haratyk (European bronze medallist in Rome) and Konrad Bukowiecki (European silver medallist in Berlin 2018), Scott Lincoln from Great Britain, who finished fourth at the European Championships in Rome and improved his PB to 21.31m in Ostrava, and Tomas Stanek from Czechia, European bronze medallist in Munich 2022 with 21.28m.

Men’s pole vault:

Three-time world outdoor medallist Piotr Lisek from Poland will face two-time world medallist Ernest John Obiena from the Philippines and this year’s world indoor silver medallist Emmanouil Karalis from Greece. 

Obiena won the world silver medal in Budapest 2023  setting the Asian record of 6.00m. He cleared a seasonal best of 5.93 at the ISTAF Indoor meeting in Berlin and won at the Continental Tour Gold meeting in Los Angeles with 5.80m last May. 

Karalis won the European silver medal in Rome clearing 5.87m and the Fly Athens pole vault meeting with 5.82m last weekend.

Women’s 1500 metres:

Freweyni Hailu has a fond memory of Poland. The Ethiopian middle distance runner set her indoor PB of 3:55.28 at the World Indoor Tour in Torun last February one month before winning the world indoor gold medal in Glasgow. During the outdoor season she finished fifth at the Diamond League meeting in Xiamen in 3:58.18 and second in the Los Angeles Grand Prix in 3:55.48.

Hailu will go up against Australian middle distance runners Linden Hall, Abbey Caldwell, Sarah Billings and Reeve Walcott- Nolan from Great Britain. Hall finished sixth in the Olympic final in Tokyo and fifth in the Diamond League final in Eugene in a lifetime best of 3:56.92. Billings improved her PB to 3:59.59 in Xiamen this year.

Men’s 800 metres:

World indoor silver medallist Andreas Kramer won a close 800 metres race at the Continental Tour Gold meeting in Turku in 1:44.65 and is aiming to continue his winning streak against a field featuring Mohamed Ali Gouaned from Algeria, who improved his PB to 1:44.42 at the Memorial Kusocinski in Chorzow, Dutch champion Ryan Clarke, who improved his PB to 1:44.83 in Oslo on 30 May, and Mateusz Borkowski, European indoor silver medallist in Torun 2022.

Men’s 1500 metres:

Australian 18-year-old rising star Cameron Myers will go up against Italy’s Federico Riva and Daniel Munguti from Kenya. Myers set a world under 18 record in the 1500 metres at the Diamond League in Chorzow with 3:33.26.

Riva set the Italian indoor record with 3:36.74 in Miramas and won his first Continental Tour Gold meeting race in Ostrava with 3:33.53 on 28 May. Munguti finished third at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi in 3:33.71.

Women’s 100 metres:

Oceanian record holder Zoe Hobbs from New Zealand will chase her third win in this year’s Continental Tour Gold after finishing first in Melbourne in 11.34 and Tokyo in 11.17. Hobbs finished fourth in the 60 metres at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow in 7.06 and set the area record of 10.96 in La Chaux de Fonds last year.

Women’s 100 metres hurdles:

Sarah Lavin from Ireland is the favourite in the women’s 100 metres hurdles. Lavin finished fifth at the World indoor Championships in 7.91, seventh and the European Championships in Rome and third at the Continental Tour Gold in Turku in 12.66. The Irish hurdler will go head-to-head against Polish heptathlete Adrianna Sulek Schubert, who will make her come-back after the birth of her son last February. Sulek Schubert won the European silver medal in Munich and finished fourth at the World Championships in Eugene in the heptathlon. The line-up will also feature Viktoria Forster from Slovakia, 2023 World University Games champion in Chengdu, and NACAC under 23 champion Crystal Morrison from Jamaica.

Men’s 110 metres hurdles:

Polish rising star Jakub Szymansky will clash against his compatriot Damian Czykier. Szymansky improved Czykier’s national indoor record to 7.47 in Dusseldorf and finished fifth at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow with 7.53 in the 60 metres hurdles.

The line-up will also feature 2019 European indoor champion Milan Trajkovic from Cyprus, Roger Iribarne from Cuba, who won at the Diamond League meeting in Chorzow in 13.25 last year, and Brazil’s Eduardo Rodrigues.

Men’s 400 metres hurdles:

Matheus Lima from Brazil will clash against Thomas Barr from Ireland. Twenty-one year-old Lima improved his PBs to 48.55 in Bracanca Paulista in the 400 metres hurdles and to 44.52 in the 400 metres in Sao Paulo. Barr won the European gold medal in the 4x400 mixed relay in Rome on 7 June, finished third at the European Championships in Berlin 2018 and fourth at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 in a national record of 47.97.

Women’s 400 metres hurdles:

Nicholeta Jichova from Czechia will clash against Sarah Carli from Australia and Zeney Geldenyus from South Africa. Jichova finished fourth at the European Championships in Rome in 54.91. Geldenyus won world titles at under 18 level in Nairobi 2017 and under 20 level in Tampere 2018.

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