The Stark Arena during the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22 (© Getty Images)
Three world records on the final day of competition, combined with a record number of countries qualifying for finals, ensured that the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22 ended on a high.
Over the three days of thrilling action in Belgrade, Serbia, from 18-20 March, 129 teams competed and athletes from 59 countries lined up in finals (57 countries contended for medals in 2017). Seven championship records and 17 area records were set.
A total of 31 countries won medals, 20 of those claiming gold, including the host nation as long jump star Ivana Vuleta’s victory sent the 6800-strong crowd into raptures on the final night.
This is the first World Athletics championship event with spectators since the pandemic began in 2020, and more than 20,000 spectators attended across the three days, despite a reduced stadium capacity due to Covid restrictions.
Additionally, some 2500 fans attended the Museum of World Athletics (MOWA) exhibition at the arena and merchandise available onsite was sold out, with the event logo T-shirt and mascots being the top sellers for international and domestic fans, athletes and their family and friends.
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said: "The World Indoor Championships in Belgrade had everything - three world records, an unforgettable home victory, an emotional gold medal for Ukraine which epitomised the exceptional spirit of the Ukrainian team, brilliant rivalries, close racing and the appearance of athletes from 59 different countries in the finals, again proving that athletics is the most global of all sports.
"The fans in Belgrade were loud, passionate and generous, welcoming athletes from all over the world. They created an outstanding atmosphere for our athletes, who responded by giving their all and making history. Belgrade has hosted a most successful and memorable championships. Thank you."
The first of Sunday’s world records came in the women’s triple jump, as Yulimar Rojas added to her legend with a sensational 15.74m* – an outright world record that improves on the 15.67m that she jumped outdoors to win the Olympic title in Tokyo last summer, and her previous indoor best of 15.43m recorded in Madrid in February 2020. With her win, the Venezuelan became the first athlete to claim three world indoor triple jump titles.
But there was still so much to come. As action resumed for the afternoon session, USA’s Grant Holloway secured his spot in the men’s 60m hurdles final in superb style, equalling his own world record of 7.29. The world 110m hurdles champion’s 56th consecutive 60m hurdles winning time matched the mark he established as the world record in Madrid in February 2021. Just an hour later he returned to the track to win his second world title in 7.39.
Then the spotlight moved to the men’s pole vault. Returning to the scene of his 6.19m world record set in the same arena on 7 March, Sweden’s Olympic champion Mondo Duplantis was intent on going even higher and after winning his first senior world title with a 6.05m clearance, he again duly delivered. After two years and 54 attempts at 6.19m, his improvement to 6.20m* took just two weeks and three attempts as he soared clear on his final try.
Ethiopia topped the medal table for the first time at the World Indoor Championships with four gold, three silver and two bronze, while United States – who will host the much-anticipated World Athletics Championships Oregon22 in July – finished second with a total of 19 medals (three gold).
Teams from five different areas won gold medals: Africa (4), Asia (1), Europe (11), NACAC (8) and South America (2).
After a four-year gap between the World Athletics Indoor Championships in 2018 and this weekend’s event, due to the pandemic, athletes and fans now only have one year to wait until the next, with Nanjing in China scheduled to host the event in March 2023.
The World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22 in numbers:
3 world records: (Yulimar Rojas VEN in the triple jump 15.74m; Grant Holloway USA in the 60m hurdles =7.29; and Mondo Duplantis SWE in the pole vault 6.20m)
7 championship records: (Jereem Richards TTO in the 400m 45.00; Samuel Tefera ETH in the 1500m 3:32.77; Grant Holloway in the 60m hurdles 7.29; Mondo Duplantis SWE in the pole vault 6.20m; Darlan Romani BRA in the shot put 22.53m; Gudaf Tsegay ETH in the 1500m 3:57.19; Yulimar Rojas in the triple jump 15.74m)
17 area records: (Marcell Jacobs ITA in the 60m 6.41; Chris Douglas AUS in the 60m hurdles 7.56; Thiago Moura BRA in the high jump 2.31m; Mondo Duplantis SWE in the pole vault 6.20m; Thiago Braz BRA in the pole vault 5.95m, Darlan Romani BRA in the shot put 22.53m; Ashley Moloney AUS in the heptathlon 6344 points; Vitoria Cristina Rosa BRA in the 60m 7.14; Zoe Hobbs NZL in the 60m 7.13; Aliyah Abrams GUY in the 400m 51.57; Eleanor Patterson AUS in the high jump 2.00m; Yulimar Rojas VEN in the triple jump 15.74m; Rafael Pereira BRA in the 60m hurdles 7.58; Grant Holloway USA in the 60m hurdles =7.29; Tomas Walsh NZL in the shot put 22.31m; Nadezhda Dubovitskaya KAZ in the high jump 1.98m; Chase Ealey USA in the shot put 20.21m)
72 national records
MEDALS AND PLACINGS
20 countries won gold medals
31 countries won medals
59 countries had athletes in the finals
Countries from five areas won gold medals: Africa (4), Asia (1), Europe (11), NACAC (8) and South America (2)
612 athletes took part from 129 different countries.
Average age of participants: 25 years
Average age of medallists: 26 years
Average age of winners: 26 years
Korea and Trinidad & Tobago had their first ever world indoor champions (Woo Sanghyeok in the men's high jump and Jereem Richards in the men's 400m)
Uganda and Korea won their first ever world indoor medals (Halimah Nakaayi with bronze in the women's 800m and Woo Sanghyeok with gold in the men's high jump)
Montenegro had its first ever world indoor finalist (Marija Vukovic with 4th in the women's high jump)
COMPETITION PERFORMANCE RANKINGS
The competition score is calculated by considering the actual results achieved, the level of the participating athletes and world records achieved in the competition. The competition with the highest score ranks top.
Belgrade (2022): 49348
Birmingham (2018): 48861
Portland (2016): 47778
Sopot (2014): 48365
Istanbul (2012): 48393
Doha (2010): 47659
Valencia (2008): 47818
The championships were broadcast live into more than 100 countries, with highlights shown in many others and more digital content available than ever before.
All countries without live broadcast or highlights had access to a live stream through the World Athletics YouTube channel.
*Subject to the usual ratification procedure