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News11 Mar 2023

Ten memorable moments from Istanbul 2023 European Athletics Indoor Championships


Jakob Ingebrigtsen wins the European indoor 1500m title in Istanbul (© Getty Images)

Istanbul hosted the European Indoor Championships on the first weekend of March. The four-day continental event brought many memorable moments from the athletes who will probably be making their mark at the World Outdoor Championships in Budapest this summer.

1) Two world records in six seconds

The pentathlon was decided amid incredible excitement. Poland's Adrianna Sulek, who set the individual record in all five events, collected 5014 points to beat the world record held by Ukraine's Nataliya Dobrynska since 2012.

Still, that was not enough for her to win. Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium, who finished a few seconds later, jumped ahead of her with 5055 points, and took the gold medal and the best ever pentathlon result.

The first two days of the 2023 World Championships in Budapest will see a rematch between Sulek and Thiam in the heptathlon. It's worth buying a Flying start - opening weekend package for the opening weekend. Thus, you won't miss a single moment of the two-day duel.

2) Femke Bol, the unstoppable

Femke Bol has had an amazing indoor season. Two weeks after breaking one of the oldest world records in the 400m, she was all over the Istanbul news. After the Indoor European Championships two years ago, she was able to double again, defending her title in the 400m with the Dutch relay.

In the winter, she ran the distance three times in under 50 seconds, an almost unprecedented feat on an indoor track. So there is a good reason to expect her competing not only in hurdles but also in the flat. What will Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone say about this in the 400m hurdles? We'll find out on Thursday 24 August!

3) Jakob Ingebrigtsen doubles again

Still at 22, he already has enough gold medals from various events for a full career. Since 2018, Jakob Ingebrigtsen has lost only once at the European Indoor and Outdoor Championships. That was in the 1500m final of the 2019 European Indoor Championships, when he was beaten by Marcin Lewandowski.

He has done the 1500-5000m double in Berlin (2018) and Munich (2022) in outdoor, the 1500-3000m double in Torun (2021) in indoor and now in Istanbul. The Norwegian world star said in the autumn that he would consider the possibility of competing in Budapest in the 10,000m distance as well as the 1,500m and 5,000m. With the triple title he would make history. But African classics like Joshua Cheptegei and Timothy Cheruiyot will have a say in this too. 

4) The Olympic champion sprinter was beaten by his compatriot

Marcell Jacobs, the most successful sprinter in recent years, arrived in Istanbul as the Olympic and European 100m champion and the world 60m champion. Shortly before, he was surprisingly beaten by Samuele Ceccarelli at the Italian indoor championships, so he was not the clear favourite anymore.

Jacobs had been the fastest in the heats, but his compatriot ran 6.47 in the semi-finals to finish five hundredths better overall. The two then went head-to-head in the final, with Ceccarelli emerging victorious in a close race, one of the biggest sensations of the event. The Italian double success could be good news for the 4x100m relays in Budapest which will take place on 25-26 August.

5) Karsten Warholm back to his old self

Based on his performance in Istanbul, it looks like Norway's Karsten Warholm is fully recovered from his 2022 injury that saw him lose the 400m hurdles world title last summer. The 27-year-old world record-holder has proved during the indoor season that it will be worth to watch him on the evening of 23 August at the National Athletics Centre.

After 2019 we won the 400m again as the favourite. He had to fight hard for the win, as he started with a blisteringly fast first lap of 21 seconds, followed by a painful second lap. In the end, he survived an attack by Julien Watrin to go into the summer undefeated.

6) One of the closest 800m finals ever

As usual, there was no clear favourite in the men's always thrilling 800 metres. Reaching the final was a huge fight, then the Sunday's final surpassed everything. 

France's Benjamin Robert was the first to turn into the finish line and for a long time it looked like he was out of reach. But then came Spain's Adrián Ben, who threw himself into the last few centimetres to win the gold medal. The difference between the two was just three thousandths of a second(!). We expect a similarly unpredictable race at the World Championships, not only in the final on 26 August, but also in the semi-finals on 24 August.

7) Keely Hodgkinson in increasingly formidable form

The field is somewhat clearer in the women's 800m. Keely Hodgkinson may have celebrated her 21st birthday only a few days ago, but she has already established herself as a dominant force in Europe. There was no doubt about the British athlete's success, running 1:58.66, which gave silver medallist Anita Horvat nearly two seconds.

In her current form, Hodgkinson could even stand a good chance against Olympic and world champion Athing Mu on the final night of the World Championships. Of course, the American, who has been training under Bob Kersee since the winter, will have a few words to say about that...

8) Pedro Pichardo's triple jump dominance

With the 'boom' of the last few years, we are so spoiled with world star athletes in 2023 that one of the geniuses of the men's triple jump, Pedro Pichardo, hardly gets any attention. Yet the Cuban-born Portuguese athlete triumphed in Istanbul with the best result in the world this year (17.60m).

He is currently the holder of the Olympic, world and European titles in the outdoor event and will be the man to beat on Monday evening, 21 August.

9) Turkish miracle after the national tragedy

On 6 February 2023, a massive series of earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria, killing more than 45 000 people and injuring many more. The tragedy even prompted the organisers to consider postponing the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul. In the end, the Turks decided to take on the hosting of the event.

The Turkish athletes had to compete with all their pain, but they did their best to bring at least a little joy to their people in the midst of national mourning. In the women's triple jump final, Tugba Danismaz surprised everyone by winning the gold medal with a new Turkish record, a testament to her tremendous strength.

10) Top Hungarians are already preparing for the World Championships at home

Hungary, the host of the 2023 World Championships in Budapest, has sent a team of 16 to Istanbul. Among them were a number of athletes who will be making the home fans happy at the National Athletics Centre from 19 to 27 August.

Xénia Krizsán finished 5th in the pentathlon, Anita Márton 6th in the shot put, Gréta Kerekes 7th in the 60 m hurdles final, Péter Bakosi 9th in the high jump and Bianka Bartha-Kéri 10th in the 800 m. They all have the potential to finish with even better results in Budapest, fuelled by the home crowd.

More than 120,000 tickets have already been sold for the biggest Hungarian sporting event of all time. So if you want to cheer on our best from the best seats or experience the superhuman performances of our superheroes first hand, CLICK HERE to buy your tickets or season tickets now!

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