Champions from Tokyo Olympics are set to compete in various World Indoors categories
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe has described the line-up for this week’s World Indoor Championships in Belgrade as one of an ‘incredibly high standard’.
The championship features a loaded field including 12 gold medalists from the Tokyo Olympics and a host of other world champions.
“Wherever you look, we’ve got some tasty head-to-heads,” Coe said, describing the likes of Swedish pole vault star Mondo Duplantis as one of the sport’s ‘rock stars’, with the personality to back up stellar performances and better promote athletics.
“The raw competition between two athletes at the top of their game is really what the fans want and they’re going to get that,” Coe said.
Belgrade’s Stark Arena plays host to the first major championship in a year that also features the World Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, and the European championships in Munich, Germany.
Here are some of the best head-to-heads:
Coleman v Jacobs - men’s 60m
Reigning outdoor 100m champion Christian Coleman will be defending his 60m title in the Serbian capital after making a comeback from an 18-month suspension for breaching anti-doping rules. As Coleman sat out Tokyo, Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs streaked to Olympic gold. The duo will be competing alongside Africa’s fastest man, Ferdinand Omanyala from Kenya who clocked 6.57 seconds at t Hauts-de- France Pas-de-Calais in February
The Italian, who competed in the long jump at the European indoors in Belgrade in 2017 before switching to sprints a year later, is on a four-race winning streak indoors, setting up what should be a memorable 60m final in Belgrade. “I’m very pleased that he’s there,” Coe said of Jacobs’ presence. “There will clearly be a desire to win a title. He’d also feel it’s a good opportunity to test himself in a championship in advance of the outdoor season.”
Miller-Uibo v Bol - women’s 400m
“That will be a terrific coupling,” predicted Coe of the showdown between Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the two-time Olympic 400m champion from the Bahamas, and Dutch youngster Femke Bol.
The versatile Bahamian is not a regular fixture at indoor meets, but Bol is the Dutchwoman, who won Olympic bronze in Tokyo, is undefeated indoors for the past two years.
Ingebrigtsen v Tefera - men’s 1500m
The men’s 1500m will see Olympic gold medallist Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway looking to depose Ethiopia’s Samuel Tefera as the world indoor champion.
“It warms my heart to see that,” said Coe, himself a two-time Olympic outdoor 1500m gold medallist for Britain.
Based on their recent clash in Lievin, where Ingebrigtsen broke Tefera’s world indoor 1500m record, clocking 3:30.60, the pressure and expectation will rest with the 21-year-old Norwegian. -AFP