20th February 2019
BRITS GOING IN SEARCH OF GLORY ON FINAL LEG OF IAAF WORLD INDOOR TOUR
The IAAF World Indoor Tour draws to a close tonight in Dusseldorf with six British athletes in action at the final meeting of the 2019 season.
Two British athletes are in with a chance of walking away with titles, but all eyes will be on defending world indoor and European indoor champion Andrew Pozzi (coach: Santiago Antunez; club: Stratford-upon-Avon), who opens his season in Germany.
The 26-year-old will reignite his rivalry with Jarret Eaton (USA), whom he pipped to the world indoor title. The American has already secured the world indoor title following wins in Madrid, Boston and Birmingham and will be confident of adding a fourth victory to that list.
Orlando Ortega (ESP), the fastest European in the world over the hurdles this season, will look to take a second victory of the season after winning in Torun.
Pozzi missed out on the chance to race at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix Birmingham due to injury but will have the chance to race competitively for the first time in the 60m hurdles in nearly a year.
Meanwhile, middle-distance specialist Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Jon Bigg; Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) will look to fine-tune her preparations for the European Indoor Championships as she faces off against fellow Briton Lynsey Sharp (Terrence Mahon; Edinburgh AC) in the women’s 800m.
Oskan-Clarke front-ran herself to victory in Birmingham to join Habitam Alemu (ETH) and Raevyn Rogers (USA) at the top of the indoor tour standings on 10 points and with Rogers absent, it could be a fight to the line between the Ethiopian and the Brit for the title.
Sharp, who finished fifth in Birmingham, sits fourth in the standings on seven points and could take the title herself if either Alemu or Oskan-Clarke fail to finish in the top two.
European Championship silver medallist and European Indoor Championship bronze medallist Sofia Ennaoui will also look to snatch the title from the grasp of the aforementioned trio, before going for a second consecutive European indoor medal in Glasgow.
In the men’s equivalent, which is not a tour event, Guy Learmonth (Henry Gray; Lasswade) will look to put his fall at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix Birmingham behind him and put himself in the best possible form before heading to Glasgow.
The Lasswade athlete will race in a hand splint following his injury on Saturday, but will have the chance to race against Joe Deng (AUS), who set the Australian 800m indoor record in Birmingham, and Andreas Kramer (SWE), silver medallist at the European Championships in Berlin over the distance.
After narrowly missing out on setting a new 60m personal best in Torun, Imani-Lara Lansiquot (Steve Fudge; Sutton & District) will look to go one better and take victory in the final tour meet of 2019.
The 21-year-old clocked 7.23s a fortnight ago in Poland to finish third and will once again have a stacked field up against her as she looks for another strong performance in her indoor campaign.
Poland’s Ewa Swoboda, who is undefeated in her three circuit runs this season, will be just one of those challenging Lansiquot, with Marie-Josee Ta Lou (CIV) and Dafne Schippers (NED) also in contention for the win. Schippers is Swoboda’s closest rival at the top of the standings, 14 points adrift.
Sophie McKinna (Mike Winch; Great Yarmouth) makes her debut on the World Indoor Tour in Dusseldorf and will hope to achieve the World Championships qualifying standard of 18.00m when she enters the circle in Germany.
The 24-year-old threw the biggest effort by a British athlete since the year 2000 when she propelled the 4kg weight out to 17.97m at the SPAR British Indoor Championships earlier this month, claiming her first British Indoor title in the process.
McKinna will be up against 11-time Swedish champion and European Indoor fourth-placer from Belgrade, Fanny Roos (SWE), along with Belarus’ Aliona Dubitskaya, who can tie with Schwanitz at the top of the standings with a win.
The action commences from 17:15 and is available to watch live on the IAAF YouTube channel.