Marcell Jacobs wins the 60m in Lievin (© Jean-Pierre Durand)
Three Olympic champions will be in action at the ISTAF Indoor – a World Athletics Indoor Tour Silver meeting – in Berlin on Friday (4): sprinter Marcell Jacobs, pole vaulter Armand Duplantis and long jumper Malaika Mihambo.
It will be Jacobs’ first competition since the Olympic Games in Tokyo, where he won gold in the 100m and 4x100m. The 27-year-old returns to Berlin with fond memories of last year’s ISTAF Indoor. Although narrowly beaten by Arthur Cisse of the Ivory Coast, Jacobs clocked a personal best of 6.56, which he then improved to 6.47 when winning the European indoor title.
Cisse will also be back in Berlin, so Jacobs won’t necessarily have an easy path to victory. Germany’s Kevin Kranz, who has a personal best of 6.59, and Jimmy Vicaut (6.48) of France are also on the start list.
Duplantis will be making his first ever appearance at the ISTAF Indoor meeting, though he too has enjoyed great past success in the German capital. It was where, in 2018, he won the European title with a world U20 record of 6.05m. He also won at the outdoor ISTAF meeting in Berlin in 2019 and 2020.
“I have great memories (of Berlin), so I am really looking forward to competing at the ISTAF Indoor for the first time,” said the Olympic pole vault champion and world record-holder.
While Berlin’s meeting record stands at 6.02m, set by Renaud Lavillenie in 2015, the Swede may well aim higher on Friday. “It really is time for a world record in Germany,” said Duplantis, who won in Karlsruhe last week with a world-leading 6.02m.
USA’s Olympic fourth-place finisher KC Lightfoot and Poland’s multiple major championships medallist Piotr Lisek will also be competing. Both have indoor PBs of 6.00m.
Mihambo initially planned to contest just the 60m in Berlin, but the world and Olympic long jump champion had a last-minute change of heart and will now compete in the long jump.
“My training is going really well, and that’s why, together with my coach, I decided to switch to the long lump in Berlin,” said Mihambo, who will be jumping off a full run-up. Her strongest rival could be Sweden’s European indoor bronze medallist Khaddi Sagnia, who has an indoor PB of 6.92m.
Elsewhere, Germany’s European 100m silver medallist Gina Luckenkemper returns to indoor racing for the first time in three years and will contest the 60m. North American indoor record-holder Sharika Nevis will take on Finland’s Reetta Hurske and Germany’s Cindy Rohleder in the women’s 60m hurdles, while world indoor bronze medallist Aurel Manga of France heads the men’s 60m hurdles entries.
Usually this meeting would attract a crowd of about 12,500 spectators, but due to the current Covid restrictions in Berlin organisers were only allowed to sell 1500 tickets for the event. The meeting will be streamed online at SPORT1.de from 5.15pm and will be shown in more than 80 countries.
“We are thrilled that we are able to celebrate such an event with outstanding athletes and that it is possible for us to welcome back spectators during these difficult times,” said meeting director Martin Seeber. “While we will not have 12,500 fans, I am sure that the Berlin crowd will still create a special atmosphere to push the athletes to great performances.”
Organisers for World Athletics