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Tuwei and Kszczot set to clash in Madrid tonight

ATHLETICS By Jonathan Komen and World Athletics | February 21st 2020
Athletics - IAAF World Indoor Championships 2018 - Arena Birmingham, Birmingham, Britain - March 2, 2018 Ethiopia's Selemon Barega and Kenya's Davis Kiplangat compete during the Men’s 3000m heats. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Kenya’s Cornelius Tuwei and Adam Kszczot of Poland will battle in 800m at the Villa de Madrid meeting, the final stop of the World Athletics Indoor Tour, tonight.

Kszczot landed his first 800m victory of the year in Glasgow last weekend, overtaking Tuwei in the closing stages to consolidate his position at the top of the World Athletics Indoor Tour standings.

But in Lievin, he was not so fortunate as he crashed to the ground with one lap to go, so he will be fired up for the final World Athletics Indoor Tour meeting of the year.

Kszczot and Tuwei will duel again in Madrid, but Collins Kipruto – winner in Torun and Lievin – will also be on the start line, along with Kenyan compatriot Michael Saruni, the second-fastest indoor performer of all time, and world 1500m bronze medallist Marcin Lewandowski.

The men’s 3000m in Madrid could be one of the most hotly contested events of the night.

World silver medallist Selemon Barega heads to the Spanish city off the back of PBs in Dusseldorf, Val-de-Reuil and Lievin, his most recent 3000m best being 7:33.19.

World indoor bronze medallist Bethwel Birgen, meanwhile, has also been in impressive form, having won in Boston, Karlsruhe, and Glasgow.

But in a loaded field, they’re not the only contenders. Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew, who clocked an Asian indoor record of 7:34.58 in Lievin, will also take to the start line, so too will 2019 world 5000m leader Telahun Haile Bekele, who ran 7:38.85 on his indoor debut in Lievin, and Spain’s 2017 European indoor champion Adel Mechaal.

The women’s 1500m line-up is also of high quality. World bronze medallist Gudaf Tsegay, who came close to breaking four minutes in Torun and Lievin, leads the entries

Fellow Ethiopian Lemlem Hailu, who broke Tsegay’s world U20 indoor record in Torun with 4:01.79, will have another opportunity to improve on that mark.

Axumawit Embaye, the 2014 world indoor silver medallist, and Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo will also take to the start line, while Spain’s Marta Perez carries Spanish hopes.

Andrew Pozzi, Christina Clemons and Ronnie Baker – who, between them, own a full set of World Indoor Championships medals – will start as the favourites for their respective events.

Pozzi, the world indoor 60m hurdles champion, has been undefeated this year with victories in Paris, Torun, and Glasgow.

But Kuwait’s Yaqoub Mohamed Al Youha and Poland’s Damian Czykier, both of whom have clocked 7.54 this year, will challenge the Briton, as will Greek record-holder Konstantinos Douvalidis.

World indoor silver medallist Clemons is the class of women’s 60m hurdles field and has a best this year of 7.89.

But the fast-improving Cyrena Samba-Mayela of France will try her best to stick with the US sprint hurdler.

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