News24 Jan 2024

World record-holders and global champions head to Lievin


Femke Bol in Lievin (© Baptiste Daniel)

Femke Bol, Grant Holloway, Gudaf Tsegay and Hugues Fabrice Zango are the latest stars announced for the Meeting Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais – this season’s fifth World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting – in Lievin on 10 February.

Bol ran a 400m meeting record of 50.20 in Lievin last year and went on to set a world short track record of 49.26 at the Dutch Championships four days later. Now she returns to the Arena Stade Couvert as the world 400m hurdles champion, having claimed gold in Budapest in August.

Joining her in Lievin will be USA’s Holloway, the three-time world 110m hurdles champion who holds the world 60m hurdles record of 7.29 and the world indoor title in that event. He is back for his fourth consecutive Meeting Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais, on the hunt for a fourth consecutive victory.

Another world record-holder at the event is Ethiopia’s Tsegay, who returns to the scene of her world 1500m short track record from 2021, when she clocked 3:53.09. This time, the world indoor 1500m champion, who won the world 10,000m title in Budapest last year, races the 3000m. 

Zango will also be looking to make a statement in Lievin. Burkina Faso’s world triple jump champion achieved the farthest ever indoor leap with his 18.07m performance in Aubiere in 2021 and went on to claim world silver in 2022 and then world gold in 2023.

This quartet joins the recently announced Lamecha Girma, who heads back to the track on which he set his world 3000m short track record last year.

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Eyes will also be on the women’s mile at the Czech Indoor Gala – this season’s second World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting – in Ostrava on 30 January.

Hosting a women’s mile race for the first time, the meeting welcomes Ethiopia’s world indoor 800m silver medallist Freweyni Hailu and her compatriot Hirut Meshesha, the world indoor 1500m bronze medallist.

Hailu also claimed silver at the World Athletics Road Running Championships Riga 23 in October, finishing second in the mile, and both athletes have experience of racing in Ostrava having previously competed at the outdoor Golden Spike meeting.

Joining them on the start line at the Atleticka hala will be Belgium’s 2021 European indoor 1500m champion Elise Vanderelst, Romania’s Claudia Bobocea, Sofia Thogersen of Denmark and Czech record-holder Simona Vrzalova.

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The athletes who will look to challenge USA’s Yared Nuguse in the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games – the sixth World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting of 2024 – have been announced as Spain’s Mario Garcia Romo, Britain’s Neil Gourley and George Mills, Ireland’s Andrew Coscoran, USA’s Hobbs Kessler and Sam Prakel, Australia’s Adam Spencer and Canada’s Charles Philibert-Thiboutot.

Nuguse won last year’s Wanamaker Mile in 3:47.38, the second-fastest indoor performance in history, and he will take aim at Yomif Kejelcha’s world short track record of 3:47.01.

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At the ORLEN Copernicus Cup – this year's fourth World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting – in Torun on 6 February, home star Ewa Swoboda will race Patrizia van der Weken of Luxembourg in the 60m.

Swoboda is the Polish record-holder with her best of 6.99 set in Torun in 2022, while Van der Weken has run a PB of 7.09 already this year. 

In the 400m, Dutch world 4x400m gold medallist Lieke Klaver will face Poland's Justyna Swiety-Ersetic and Britain's Laviai Nielsen.

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