News & Updates

29 February 2024 • High Performance

World Athletics Indoor Championships preview

Tom Walsh is chasing a fifth successive World Indoor medal at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow

New Zealand launch their quest at the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow in the early hours of Saturday morning optimistic of a positive showing from their record-sized ten-strong team.

The first athlete in action in the Black Singlet is Commonwealth shot put bronze medallist Maddi Wesche, who will look to perform with distinction in what will be her first competitive appearance since placing seventh at the 2023 World Championships with a PB of 19.51m.

Wesche, who finished sixth at the Tokyo Olympics, boasts an uncanny knack of delivering her best when it counts, and she will seek to continue the streak in Scotland in the final of the women’s shot at 00.06 on Saturday. In a formidable line up the one-two from the 2023 World Championships in Budapest – Chasey Ealey of the US and Canada’s Sarah Mitton – in addition to world number one Jessica Schilder of the Netherlands are all entered.

Competing later in the opening session are New Zealand number one James Preston, who lines up in the heats of the men’s 800m from 01.22 on Saturday. The 26-year-old athlete, who competed at the 2023 World Championships, has enjoyed an excellent start to the season clocking his third best mark of 1:45.50 in Adelaide and a fastest ever time in New Zealand for the two-lap distance with a 1:45.89 time to win in Hastings. With heats, semi-final and final taking place across the three-day programme it is a challenging schedule. Italian record-holder Catalin Tecuceanu heads the entries following his world-leading 1:45.00 in Madrid.

Sprinter Tiaan Whelpton is the last of the Kiwis involved in the first session as he takes to the start line in the men’s 60m heats from 2.10am. Whelpton, who has prepared for Glasgow from his South African base, set a 60m PB of 6.66 in Pamplona, Spain in December.

One of the blue riband events on the programme features a star-studded field including World 100m and 200m champion Noah Lyles and his US team-mate Christian Coleman, the World 60m record-holder and former World Indoor champion. The heats, semi-finals and final of the men’s 60m all take place on Saturday (NZ time).

Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill mount a powerful two-pronged Kiwi assault in the men’s shot final at 9.20am on Saturday both fuelled by the confidence that both are in 22m-plus shape. Walsh has prepared with a busy indoor campaign in Europe, hurling the shot out to a season’s best of 22.16m and has been rewarded with overall victory in the men’s shot on the World Indoor Tour.

A four-time World Indoor medallist (two gold and two bronze), Walsh, who celebrates his 32nd birthday on competition day (in the UK), will be bidding to match Dame Valerie Adams as a five-time World Indoor medallist for New Zealand.

Gill, who is competing at his second World Indoor Championships, fired the shot out to 22.07m at North Shore on 21 February the second longest throw of his career to show he could also be in the mood to bank a podium spot.

In a powerhouse line up, World and Olympic champion Ryan Crouser of the US will present formidable opposition as he seeks to add the one major title missing from his glittering CV.  Also competing are World silver medallist Leonardo Fabbri of Italy, defending champion Darlan Romani of Brazil and Jamaican Rajindra Campbell, who powered the 7.26kg shot out to 22.16m when narrowly defeating Walsh in Madrid last Saturday.

Walsh said: “I’m happy with how I’m throwing. I haven’t thrown this far, this consistently this early in the season. I feel like I haven’t really lined one up in the comps so far this season, so I’m really looking forward to throwing some big bombs and executing a great comp at World Indoors.”

Both of New Zealand’s 1500m representatives will open their quest on Saturday morning in the heats with George Beamish entered in the men’s event and New Zealand debutant Maia Ramsden in action in the women’s equivalent. Beamish, who last year finished fifth in the men’s steeplechase at the World Championships, has enjoyed a fantastic indoor campaign, which included breaking the long-standing national 5000m record with a 13:04.33 clocking in Boston.

The 27-year-old athlete steps down in distance in Glasgow but he will not be fazed about the challenge. Samuel Tefera of Ethiopia is bidding for a hat-trick of World Indoor 1500m titles while the World Road Mile champion Hobbs Kessler of the USA is also entered. 

Ramsden, a Harvard University student, fresh off her breakout 4:24.83 mile at the Millrose Games, a performance which elevated her to number two on the all-time NZ women’s mile lists, will be looking to mark her mark in her debut in the Black Singlet.

The 21-year-old Kiwi faces a stellar field led by a three-strong Ethiopian challenge led by World Championships 1500m silver medallist and World Road Mile champion Diribe Welteji. The final of both 1500m take place on Monday.

Zoe Hobbs will open her account in the women’s 60m on Sunday at 00:20 bidding to go one step further than the 2022 World Indoor Championships when she exited at the semi-final stage. The 26-year-old Auckland-based athlete has a season’s best of 7.16 and faces a stellar cast of top-level sprinters including world number one Julien Alfred of St Lucia (6.99), Poland’s former European 60m gold medallist Ewa Swoboda and US champion Aleia Hobbs.

Eliza McCartney competes in the women’s pole vault final at 8.05am on Sunday with genuine medal chances after enjoying an excellent start to 2024. The world number two flipped over a season’s best of 4.84m in Lievin and she will be all out to better her fifth and fourth place finishes on her two previous World Indoor outings in 2016 and 2018.

The 27-year-old Kiwi will up against Great Britain’s world number one Molly Caudery (4.86m), Sandi Morris, who is bidding for a hat-trick of World Indoor titles, and her fellow American Katie Moon, the World and Olympic champion.

The tenth and final Kiwi to make their bow in Glasgow will be Hamish Kerr who is gunning for a second successive World Indoor medal in the men’s high jump on Monday at 0:50. Two years ago in Belgrade, the Christchurch-based athlete made history to become the first New Zealander to win a global high jump medal and once again he will have podium aspirations.

Defending World Indoor champion Sanghyeok Woo of South Korea and World and Olympic finalist Shelby McEwen of the USA will also expect to be prominent.

***For a full list of when the Kiwis compete go here

***For a full list of entries go here

***For the full event timetable go here

***All the action at the World Athletics Indoor Championships will be livestreamed at World Athletics Inside Track. Sign up to follow the livestream and live results here