Olympic Champions Armand “Mondo“ Duplantis and Malaika Mihambo, European Champion Gina Luckenkemper and Olympic silver medallist Kristin Pudenz are among the stars who will compete in the ISTAF INDOOR in Berlin’s Mercedes Benz Arena on Friday evening. The unique athletics indoor meeting, which will see its 10th edition, should once more be the world’s biggest one day indoor meeting regarding the number of spectators. Organisers have already sold around 11,000 tickets with just little over 1,000 seats still available.
Seven events will be on the programme of the ISTAF INDOOR: The 60 m and the 60 m hurdles, both for men and women, the men’s pole vault and the women’s long jump plus a discus exhibition event, where a women’s and a men’s team compete against each other.
“When we started the ISTAF INDOOR in 2014 we could not have imagined that this innovative meeting would become such a success story. It is an athletics event in a great arena where the fans are as near to the athletes as possible. Show elements, music and fireworks thrill the crowd as well as the athletes,“ said Meeting Director Martin Seeber. “We are looking forward to this jubilee edition with outstanding athletes. The ISTAF INDOOR will once again show how fascinating our sport is.“
Sweden’s Armand “Mondo“ Duplantis, who currently is the reigning Olympic, World and European Champion, knows about the unique atmosphere of the ISTAF INDOOR. He returns as the defending champion and has chosen the meeting in Berlin as his only indoor competition in Germany this year. „This is a great place for pole vaulting and the spectators are simply fantastic. I hope to further improve the meeting record on Friday,“ said “Mondo“ Duplantis, who established the current meeting record of 6.03 m a year ago. Last week the world record holder opened his season with a superb 6.10 m clearance in Uppsala, Sweden. Duplantis, who holds the world indoor record with 6.20 m, then tried to improve this mark to 6.22 but failed on this occasion.
While anything else than a victory for “Mondo“ Duplantis would be a major upset the only athlete who managed to beat the Swede in 2022 will compete at the ISTAF INDOOR as well: Ernest John Obiena, the national record holder of the Philippines with 5.94 m, was ahead of Duplantis in Brussels last September. Germans Bo Kanda Lita Baehre, who won silver behind Duplantis at the European Championships in Munich last summer, and Torben Blech are also on Berlin’s start list.
The women’s long jump will be a rematch of the European Championships’ final. The top four from Munich have confirmed their start in Berlin. Ivana Vuleta, the reigning world indoor champion from Serbia, beat Malaika Mihambo in Munich and has started the season well with 6.76 m recently. This will be a first proper test this season for Germany’s Olympic and World Champion, who won the ISTAF INDOOR in Düsseldorf with 6.83 m less than two weeks ago. Mihambo holds the Berlin meeting record with her massive 7.07 m jump from 2020, which remains her personal best indoors as well. Britain’s Jazmin Sawyers, who was third in Munich, and fourth-placed Maryna Bech-Romantschuk of Ukraine, the European triple jump champion, will try to challenge the two favorites on Friday evening.
Another German crowd favorite returns to the ISTAF INDOOR in Berlin: European 100 m champion Gina Lückenkemper, who also won the gold with the sprint relay in Munich. She had a strong 60 m race at the ISTAF INDOOR in Düsseldorf where she clocked 7.18 seconds for second place in a very close race. “For me the ISTAF INDOOR ist the best indoor meeting worldwide,“ said Gina Lückenkemper, who will face Britain’s Daryll Neita in Berlin’s 60 m race. The 100 m bronze medallist returns as the defending champion to Berlin. Tristan Evelyn will also compete on Friday evening. She improved the national 60 m record of Barbados to 7.21 in Düsseldorf.
In the men’s 60 m Elijah Hall of the USA and Germany’s Kevin Kranz head the entry lists, both featuring personal records of 6.52 seconds. Britain’s Jeremiah Azu, who won the ISTAF INDOOR Düsseldorf with 6.60 and has a PB of 6.56, is in fine form and will be one to watch.
The 100m hurdles silver medallist of the 2022 World Championships will compete in the 60m hurdles event: For Britany Anderson it will be the first time she comes to an ISTAF INDOOR. The Jamaican is the 100 m hurdles national record holder with a superb PB of 12.31 seconds. Berlin might be the place to break her 60m hurdles PB of 7.82. In the same event Germany’s Cindy Roleder competes for a final time in an international meeting. The 33 year-old former European Champion (2016) and World Championships’ silver medallist (2015) in the 100 m hurdles will finish her career at the German Indoor Championships later this month. In the men’s hurdles the 2022 US champion Daniel Roberts of the USA has the fastest PB in the field with an impressive 7.41. He has already clocked 7.46 this season.
Once the main part of the programme will be finished the arena will be prepared for an indoor discus competition. It was back in 2019 and 2020 when there were women’s and a men’s teams competing against each other. In 2019 the women won the event, a year later the men were ahead. The women’s team will be led by Kristin Pudenz, who won silver medals at the Olympics in 2021 and European Championships last year. Fellow-German Mika Sosna, who is the world junior record holder, is among the men.