Ewa Swoboda in action in Lodz (© Marta Gorczynska)
Ewa Swoboda kick-started her 2022 campaign in stunning fashion, powering to a 7.00 victory over 60m at the Orlen Cup – a World Athletics Indoor Tour Silver meeting – in Lodz on Friday (11).
The 2019 European indoor champion hinted that something special was to come when winning her heat in a world-leading 7.04, breaking the Polish indoor record of 7.07 that she had set back in 2016 when still an U20 athlete.
One hour later, the 24-year-old was back on the track for the final. Her start and pick-up was every bit as good as in the heats, and just as smooth looking. This time she managed to find a bit extra and stopped the clock at 7.00 to improve on her own world-leading national record from just 60 minutes prior.
Zaynab Dosso finished second in 7.19, equalling the Italian record, while Sweden’s Claudia Payton was third in a PB of 7.24.
Swoboda’s winning time elevates her to equal 10th on the world indoor all-time list and equal third on the European indoor all-time list. It was her first race since June last year, as her 2021 season was curtailed through injury. She’ll now head to the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade 22 as one of the favourites for the women’s 60m as she seeks to earn her first senior global medal.
Later this month, on 22 February, Swoboda will race at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Torun where she will be up against multiple Olympic gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah.
Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs returned to Lodz, looking to go one better than his runner-up finish from 2021. The Italian succeeded, winning the men’s 60m final in 6.49 – the second-fastest time of his career – after clocking 6.51 in the heats.
USA’s Mike Rodgers was second in 6.62 and Italy’s Ali Chituru was third in 6.63.
Swoboda wasn’t the only past European indoor champion from Poland to rediscover some form in Lodz. Konrad Bukowiecki won the men’s shot put with his opening effort of 21.39m, his best throw since February 2020. The 2017 European indoor champion had two other throws beyond 21 metres and finished comfortably ahead of Italy’s Zane Weir (21.02m).
Asian record-holder Ernest John Obiena cleared a season’s best of 5.81m to win the men’s pole vault. He got over 5.51m, 5.71m and 5.81m on his first tries, then had two attempts at a would-be PB height of 5.90m and one at 5.95m, but was unsuccessful.
Elsewhere on the track, Reetta Hurske won the women’s 60m hurdles in a PB of 7.93, just 0.02 shy of the Finnish indoor record, finishing 0.18 ahead of Klaudia Siciarz.
Brazil’s Rafael Pereira won the men’s race in 7.59 USA’s world indoor silver medallist Jarret Eaton had clocked a season’s best of 7.55 in the heats, but a scrappy race in the final meant he wound up just fifth in 7.70.