Polish middle-distance ace Marcin Lewandowski will be targeting the national 2000m record at the 2nd Irena Szewinska Memorial, a World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze meeting, which will inaugurate the country’s athletics season on 19 August in Bydgoszcz.
Lewandowski, who raced to world indoor silver in 2018 and world bronze outdoors in 2019 over 1500m, will be gunning for the 5:01.7 mark set by Michal Bartoszak in 1991, just four years after Lewandowski was born.
“Attacking the Polish record for two kilometers will be something special in these strange times,” said Lewandowski, whose race will cap the evening’s 12-event programme. “The result has not been improved for many years and I believe that here, in front of my fans, I will be able to do it.”
The 33-year-old has never contested the distance, but given his 3:31.46 national 1500m record he set in Doha last year, and his announced retirement from the 800m to focus on longer distances, the record seems well within his capabilities. Lewandowski hasn't competed yet outdoors this season, but kept busy indoors with appearances at five consecutive World Athletics Indoor Tour meetings over a 17-day stretch in February.
Organisers have confirmed that many of Poland's leading athletes will compete, including 800m standouts Adam Kszczot and Joanna Jozwik, pole vaulters Pawel Wojciechowski and Piotr Lisek, sprinters Justyna Swiety-Ersetic, Iga Baumgart-Witan and Ewa Swoboda, shot putters Michal Haratyk and Konrad Bukowiecki and high jumper Kamila Licwinko.
"This will be my most important start, because I will start in front of my audience," said Wojciechowski, the 2011 world champion. "My goal will be victory, and I feel that my form is improving."
A minimum of two international athletes will compete in each of the events, organisers said. For now, due to travel restrictions, that means athletes from other European Union countries.
In accordance with current Covid-19 guidelines set by Poland's Ministry of Health, up to 5000 spectators will be allowed at Zawisza Stadium, the past host to the World U18 and World U20 Championships as well as several European Athletics championship events.
Organisers for World Athletics