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News04 Feb 2015

Host of athletics stars will face Sweden’s best in Stockholm


Another victory for Czech sprinter Pavel Maslak (© Praha Indoor 2014 / Pavel Lebeda)

Some of the world’s top athletes will take on a handful of Sweden’s medal winners from recent major championships on 19 February at the XL-Galan, an IAAF Indoor Permit meeting.

World indoor 400m champion Pavel Maslak is back in form after missing most of 2014 through injury. Having won in Stockholm last year in 45.66, the Czech sprinter returns to the Globe Arena this year where he will line up against world indoor 4x400m record-holder Calvin Smith and Britain’s Rabah Yousif.

Sweden’s Meraf Bahta beat Sifan Hassan to the European 5000m title last summer, but in Stockholm the pair will race over Hassan’s preferred distance, the 1500m. Others in the field include world indoor silver medallist Axumawit Embaye, European under-23 bronze medallist Laura Muir, world junior silver medallist Gudaf Tsegay and Finnish steeplechase record-holder Sandra Eriksson.

World indoor long jump bronze medallist Michel Torneus had his XL-Galan winning streak broken at last year’s edition of the meeting, having won for the previous three years. This year, the Swedish record-holder will be up against world silver medallist Ignisious Gaisah, world leader Eusebio Caceres and European silver medallist Louis Tsatoumas.

Two-time world junior champion Angelica Bengtsson recently broke her own Swedish pole vault record with a clearance of 4.68m. The 21-year-old will aim to go even higher when she faces 2011 world champion Fabiana Murer, world indoor silver medallist Jirina Svobodova, Greek record-holder Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou and Finnish record-holder Minna Nikkanen.

European indoor bronze medallist Erica Jarder recently came within two centimetres of her long jump best with a 6.69m leap in Karlsruhe. In Stockholm, she will take on fellow Swede Khaddi Sagnia, who recently improved her best to 6.66m, as well as Romania’s Alina Rotaru and USA’s Funmi Jimoh.

Elsewhere, world junior champion Alfred Kipketer takes on Sweden’s world junior bronze medallist Anders Almgren over 800m, while world youth champion Irene Ekelund will contest the 200m against Michelle-Lee Ahye and European 400m bronze medallist Indira Terrero.

Other names previously announced for the meeting include Genzebe Dibaba, who will attempt to break the world indoor 5000m record, and world indoor 60m hurdles record-holder Susanna Kallur, who recently returned to action with an 8.14 clocking in Karlsruhe. In Stockholm, she will take on Belgian record-holder Anne Zagre and Finnish indoor record-holder Nooralotta Neziri.

Jon Mulkeen and organisers for the IAAF