ATHLETICS Preview: Big names line up for Karlsruhe indoor meet on Saturday

There is nothing like a sell-out to warm the heart of a meet director.

“The Indoor Meeting has never sold out before Christmas in its 35-year history, it’s phenomenal,” said Martin Wacker, the managing director for the Karlsruhe (GER) indoor meet coming tomorrow. Seating has been increased to 5,000 at the Messe Karlsruhe, with more than 150 athletes from 30-plus countries expected to attend. The projected highlights:

Men’s High Jump:
The comeback of Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi, who lost his shot at the Rio Games in 2016 due to injury, is a really nice story and worth following. He set a national record at 2.39 m (7-10) in 2016 and was European Champion, but after the injury, he has made his way back up to 2.33 m (7-7 3/4) last year. This will be his debut for 2019, and he will be challenged by Andriy Protsenko (UKR: 2.40 m/7-10 1/2, fourth in Rio) and Donald Thomas of The Bahamas, who was World Champion back in 2007, but won the Continental Cup last season.

Men’s Long Jump:
There are some good jumpers in this field, notably Swede Michel Torneus (8.44 m/27-8 1/4 in 2016), but all eyes will be on Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria. He won the World Indoor title in 2018 and then set the track & field world on fire in June, reaching 8.83 m (28-11 3/4) with only the slightest wind-aid of 2.1 m/s. He then jumped 8.66 m (28-5) and 8.68 (28-5 3/4) in his next two meets, but didn’t jump after 5 July due to injury and he hasn’t been seen since.

What’s the world indoor record? It still belongs to Carl Lewis (USA) at 8.79 m (28-10 1/4) from way back in 1984!

Women’s Pole Vault:
Greece’s Katerina Stefanidi, the 2016 Olympic and 2017 World Champion won at the Pole Vault Summit at Reno and was second at the New Balance Indoor Games in Roxbury and has cleared 4.74 m (15-6 1/2) already. The winner in Roxbury was American Katie Nageotte, with a world-leading 4.86 m (15-11 1/4) clearance. Look for a challenge from Russian Anzhelika Sidorova, who cleared 4.85 m (15-11) on 12 January.

Women’s Triple Jump:
It’s early, but Venezuela’s Yolimar Rojas (2017 World Champion), Ukraine’s Olha Saladukha (2011 World Champion) and American Record holder Tori Franklin (14.84 m/48-8 1/4 in 2018) could produce something special.

There are some excellent women’s events, with two-time World 200 m Champion Dafne Schippers (NED) in the 60 m, Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay (2016 World Indoor 1,500 m bronze medalist) in the 3,000 m and local favorite and 2015 World Championships silver medalist Cindy Roleder in the 60 m Hurdles.

Look for results here.