National record and meeting record: Dina Asher-Smith sets highlight to kick off World Indoor Tour Gold / One meeting record, one national record and seven world best performances / Live broadcast in over 70 countries worldwide
The INIT INDOOR MEETING Karlsruhe 2023 could not have had a better ending. Because the last act at the opening of the World Indoor Tour Gold was the highlight of the 39th edition of the Karlsruhe meeting in front of 3,000 spectators in a completely sold-out athletics arena in Messehalle 3. Karlsruhe, as an athletics location, thus once again provided a platform for further exciting competitions within the framework of the World Indoor Tour Gold, which still has stops in Boston (USA), Torun (Poland), New York (USA), Liévin (France), Madrid (Spain) and Birmingham (Great Britain).
It was the highlight of the evening and it belonged to the British Dina Asher-Smith. “I came to Karlsruhe to run fast and somehow I hoped it would end up being a British record,” she said after her race in the 60 metres. In the end, that was exactly what happened for the sprint queen from Great Britain. With a blazing time of 7.04 seconds, she not only set a British record, but also equalled Irina Privalova's 27-year-old meeting record, thus making Karlsruhe history. She relegated Poland's Ewa Swoboda (7.09 seconds) and Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji (7.11 seconds) to second and third place. “I love coming to Karlsruhe. I love running in Germany, and Karlsruhe is one of my favourite meetings,” the Englishwoman raved in advance at the press conference. In her fifth start in Karlsruhe, Asher-Smith won the INIT INDOOR MEETING Karlsruhe for the third time following 2015 and 2021.
In the men’s pole vault, there was still a trio at 5.88 metres. But neither the American KC Lightfoot, Kurtis Marschall from Australia nor Emmanouil Karalis from Greece managed the 5.88 metres. Thanks to no misses up to 5.88 metres, the day’s victory went to the American KC Lightfoot. The men’s 60-metre hurdles were a thrilling event. In the Spanish duel, Enrique Llopis secured victory in 7.57 (.561) seconds, just two thousandths of a second faster than his compatriot and European champion Asier Martínez.
The decision in the women’s 800 metres was just as close. Anita Horvat from Slovenia and Freweyni Hailu from Ethiopia crossed the finish line almost exactly at the same time. Anita Horvat decided the duel in the end with a personal best of 2:00.44 minutes and was just two hundredths of a second faster than the Ethiopian Hailu, who also ran a personal best. This year, the men competed for points in the World Indoor Tour’s 400 metres. Benjamin Lobo Vedel from Denmark crossed the finish line in 46.45 seconds to win the two arena laps. The women’s triple jump at the INIT INDOOR MEETING 2023 advanced to become a Cuban affair. Liadagmis Povea increased her personal best by ten centimetres to 14.64 metres, relegating her fellow countrywoman Leyanis Perez-Hernandez to second place with a distance of 14.41 metres and thus celebrating her second meeting victory. Almost as expected, the women’s long jump was won by Ivana Vuleta, better known by her maiden name Španović. At her season debut in Karlsruhe, 6.76 metres was enough for the Serbian to win. “It was my first start this year and even from a shortened run-up,” Vuleta said after her competition. “I am very happy to be back in Karlsruhe after four years and thank everyone for the excellent atmosphere,” Vuleta continued.
As in previous years, the women’s 3,000 metres were dominated by Ethiopian athletes. The only 21-year-old reigning European indoor champion Hailu Lemlem secured victory in a final sprint of 8:37.55 minutes ahead of Werkuha Getachew (8:37.98 minutes) – also from Ethiopia. The men’s 3,000 metres were also on the programme. And in the men’s race, too, it was an Ethiopian athlete who secured the day's victory. Abdisa Fayisa, just 17, stormed to victory in 7:40.35 minutes, just 18 hundredths of a second ahead of Belgium’s Robin Hendrix (7:40.53 minutes), thanks to a strong final sprint down the home straight. The best German in the field was U23 European champion Mohamed Abdilaahi. In the men’s 1,500 metres, George Mills not only went on to win the day, but also improved his personal best indoors with his time of 3:35.88 minutes. In the women’s shot put, the old meeting winner from 2021 is also the new one. In the end, 18.90 metres stood at the top of the scoreboard for the European silver medallist from Munich and reigning world indoor champion Auriol Dongmo from Portugal. Second place went to Sarah Mitton from Canada (18.88 metres).
The organisers of the INIT INDOOR MEETING Karlsruhe could look back on a successful start of the World Indoor Tour Gold after the end of the competition. “We are back after two difficult years with Corona,” said sports director Alain Blondel. “A hall that has never been sold out so early, highly motivated athletes – what more could you want,” Blondel continued. And Martin Wacker, meeting director and managing director of the organising Karlsruhe Marketing und Event GmbH, was also very satisfied. “Karlsruhe celebrated a festival of athletics. We saw a super atmosphere with lots of emotions in the hall and the athletes paid us back with world-class performances.”
The World Indoor Tour Gold continues its journey across the pond next weekend. The athletes will then compete at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston before the overall winners of the tour are crowned in Birmingham after further stops in Torun, New York, Liévin and Madrid.