Eleven global medalists and three world record-holders are set to compete at 38th WACT/Europe Silver Meeting Madrid 2021 – a World Athletics Continental Tour Silver meeting – on Saturday 19 June.
WACT/Europe Silver Meeting Madrid 2021 kicks off at Vallehermoso Stadium in a crucial phase of the season – just 10 days of the Olympics qualification deadline, so several athletes will be eager to get the standard or add as much points as possible for the World Ranking.
One of the biggest names looking for the Olympic standard will be South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk, the reigning 400m Olympic champion and world record holder, who has struggled since he tore his anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus cartilage in his right knee in October 2017.
On the other hand, both triple jump indoor world record-holders Yulimar Rojas and Hugues Fabrice Zango will try to break global outdoor bests – 15.50m for women and 18.29m for men.
Madrid2021: Event-by-event preview
Namibia’s Christine Mboma is one of the most promising sprinters of the world. At 18, she has already clocked 22.67 and set the best 400m time for a U20 athlete with 49.22 earlier this season. Gambian Gina Bass, who has a season best of 22.62, and Great Britain’s Bianca Williams will be Mboma’s main contenders to win a race with Spanish quartet formed by Jaël Sakura Bestué, María Vicente, Paula Sevilla and Cristina Lara.
Reigning European indoor silver and bronze medalists Great Britain’s Holly Archer and Germany’s Hanna Klein will clash again in Madrid. Marta Pérez missed the medals by the hair in Torun and now wants to take revenge. Solange Pereira and talented youngsters Marta García, Águeda Muñoz and Celia Antón complete the Spanish line-up.
Women’s 100m hurdles
Spain’s season leader Teresa Errandonea set sights on a good result that brings her closer to Tokyo via World Ranking. Her fellow countrywomen, in-form Caridad Jerez, and rising star heptathlete María Vicente will also stand on the starting blocks. France’s Cyrena Samba-Mayela and Italy’s Luminosa Bogliolo and Elisa di Lazzaro have broken 13 seconds in 2021.
Women’s 400m hurdles
Veteran Yadisleidy Pedroso from Italy owns the fastest personal best with 54.54, a national record set in 2013. However, the 34-year-old has not race since 2019. Fellow Italians Linda Olivieri and Eleonora Marchiando are in good form as their recent 55.63 and 55.68 show. Breaking 56 is the target set by Spain’s Sara Gallego after running 56.13 the last weekend.
Women’s 3.000m steeplechase
Spain’s Carolina Robles will aim to reach the Olympic standard (9:30.00) as she was less than 5 seconds shy of in her first race of the season (9:34.87). Fellow countrywomen Clara Viñarás, Blanca Fernández, María José Pérez, Lidia Campo and Marta Serrano are also included in the field. Argentinian Belén Casetta has the fastest seed time with 9:25.99.
Women’s triple jump
Indoor world record-holder Yulimar Rojas (15.43m) will attack the outdoor best of 15.50m. The Venezuelan is not the only big name of the contest as she will clash three European medalists – Spain’s Ana Peleteiro, Portugal’s Patricia Mamona and Germany’s Neele Eckhardt. In addition, Liadagmis Povea from Cuba could join the 15-meter club – she has leaped 14.93m in 2021.
Women’s hammer throw
Recent Spain’s record-holder Laura Redondo (70.66m) will face the former record-holder Berta Castells on her way to the Olympic Games via World Ranking. Redondo should also beat Italian Sara Fantini and Croatian Anamari Kozul as they are her direct contenders for a Tokyo spot. Venezuela’s Rosa Rodríguez already has the standard as she has throwed 73.60m this year.
South Africa’s Gift Leotlela and Olympic finalist Akani Simbine already have broken 10 seconds in 2021. The most recognizable name will be Panama’s Alonso Edward, who won silver medal in 200m at 2009 World Championship. Italian Filippo Tortu comes back to Madrid, where he broke the historical Pietro Mennea’s 100m record with 9.99 in 2018. With a personal best of 10.41 set this season, Daniel Rodríguez will lead the Spanish sprinters at Vallehermoso Stadium.
World record-holder and reigning Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk will aim to get the Tokyo standard (44.90) after more than two years struggling with injuries. The 28-year-old South African will face longtime rival Isaac Makwala. Botswana’s sprinter will come back to Madrid, where he became the first man in history to run a 200m within 20 seconds and a 400m within 44 seconds on the same day, in 2017. Current world silver medalist Anthony Zambrano and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Luguelín Santos will race too. Spain’s Bernat Erta, Óscar Husillos, Manuel Guijarro, Samuel García and Lucas Búa are in good form.
World silver medalist Amel Tuka from Bosnia and 400m European indoor runner-up Tony van Diepen from Netherlands will face a fully talented Spain’s line-up – world indoor bronze medalist Saúl Ordóñez, European indoor champion Álvaro de Arriba, national outdoor champion Mariano García and Spanish Club Championship winner Pablo Sánchez-Valladares.
Men’s 110m hurdles
World indoor champion Andrew Pozzi from Great Britain will clash local rising star Asier Martínez. The 21-year-old has broken the Spanish u23 record in 2021 (13.34) and is knocking the Olympic Games’ door. Hungary’s Balazs Baji, who took a bronce at 2017 World Championship, is also entered in the field, as young Enrique Llopis from Spain is.
Men’s pole vault
Greece’s Konstantinos Filippidis owns the best mark of the field with 5.91m, but he is far from it in 2021. Dutchman Rutger Koppelaar is the only participant who has cleared 5.70m this season, while Argentina’s Germán Chiaraviglio has topped 5.60m. Three Spanish-men will contest – Adrián Vallés, Isidro Leyva and Dídac Salas.
Men’s triple jump
Indoor world record-holder Hugues Fabrice Zango (18.07m) set sights on breaking the outdoors best too – Jonathan Edwards’ 18.29m since 1995. The Burkinabe, who took bronze at 2019 World Championship, already has improved his own African record to 17.67m this year. Zango will clash Portugal’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo, an 18-meter-man who only has managed to leap 17.01 in 2021. German Max Hess, French Melvin Raffin and Italian Simone Forte have jumped 17 meters so far this season, while Spain’s Pablo Torrijos will aim to do it in Madrid.
Men’s javelin throw
Reigning world champion Anderson Peters from Grenade will face India’s Neeraj Chopra, who has thrown 88.07m in 2021, Germany’s Julian Weber (84.51m) and Spain’s national record-holder Odei Jainaga (84.80m). Siblings Manu and Nicolás Quijera complete the most talented generation of Spanish javelin throwers.