Katerina Stefanidi has won almost all there is to win in the pole vault and has competed at most top-level meetings on the international circuit, but the 28-year-old from Greece will make her Indoor Meeting Karlsruhe debut when she appears at the IAAF World Indoor Tour fixture on 2 February.
Exactly two weeks later, she will head to Arena Birmingham for the Muller Indoor Grand Prix, the penultimate stop on the IAAF World Indoor Tour.
Stefanidi is the reigning world, Olympic and European champion. The world indoor title is the one major accolade that has so far eluded her, but her main focus for the 2019 indoor season will be to retain her European indoor crown in Glasgow.
Before that, though, she will head to Karlsruhe where she will face Lisa Ryzih, the German vaulter who took silver medals behind Stefanidi at the 2016 European Championships and 2017 European Indoor Championships.
Ryzih won in Karlsruhe in 2017 but had to miss most of 2018 – including the European Championships on home soil in Berlin – after sustaining a partial tear of her achilles.
The six-time German champion is now back in form and is ready to face Stefanidi, renewing a rivalry that dates back to the 2005 IAAF World U18 Championships.
Stefanidi will face another of the host nation’s top vaulters when she competes in Birmingham two weeks later, taking on European bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw.
“2018 was a big year for our sport and the pole vault as an event with some strong results across the men’s and women’s competitions,” said Stefanidi. “It’s a really exciting time for the event and I really hope I can be at the fore when it comes to pushing the women’s field on to literal new heights.”
Organisers for the IAAF