This is Stuart Weir’s intro piece on the Indoor Meeting Karlsruhe 2021….it is a good piece, done late at night by the European senior writer! Thanks Stuart!
The World Athletics Indoor Tour got underway with the Indoor Meeting Karlsruhe – yes that really is its name. More than that its twitter handle is “Indoor Meeting”. A two hour program give us four field events and eight track events, which amounted to 15 races when the prelims and parallel finals are included.
There were standout performances by world-class athletes like Dina Asher -Smith, Beatrice Chepkoech and Renaud Lavillenie. There were tight finishes and surprise winners. There was even a triple jump competition following the year of prohibition – but don’t worry along with the women’s shot it was finished before the TV coverage started.
Elliot Giles set a new world record in 800m running 1:39. Sadly the record only lasted about a minute until his time was corrected to 1.45.50. At least Elliot did see the funny side of it.
Under Germany’s COVID regulations, only 199 people were allowed to be in the arena meaning no spectators and no media and very few coaches. I watched it on television with my computer alongside the TV giving me access to the virtual mixed zone. Sadly it is a way of watching track and field that we’ve had to get used to.
Let me say this once and I will not repeat it. A significant number of athletes achieved a world lead and even more a season’s best. But there again it is January and was for most athletes their first outing of the season.
There was a stellar interview with 2017 world 800 m champion Pierre-Amboise Bosse who began by asking the event interviewer why she was talking to him when he had only come third. She should, he told her, be talking to the athletes who finished first and second! He then explained how he had spent 2020 travelling around France to places he had never been because the government wasn’t going to tell him to stay at home! A talented runner and quite a character.
The nomination for the silliest question of the evening was Dina Asher-Smith be asked if Brexit has affected her preparation.
Then there was Asha Philip running in a Onesie – Cathy Freeman style. She was not, as the commentator suggested, running in her tracksuit! There was an American with a German name – Matt Ludwig. There was an international field. There were two German winners – Marvin Schlegel in the 400m and Katharine Trost in the 1500m. There were Swedish, Finnish, Portuguese and Filipeno records. And more than anything there was competitive track and field to watch.