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Cross Days 2015

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The first new ISTAF INDOOR record has already been set: 12,600 seats in stadium sold out in record time!

The third edition of the ISTAF INDOOR on 13th February 2016 is already sold out and the box office at the Mercedes Benz Arena is closed! Over 12,600 people are keen to witness at first hand the spectacular athletics bash featuring Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie’s attempt at the world pole-vault record and the comeback of Olympic discus champion Robert Harting. The capacity crowd means that the ISTAF INDOOR is again the best-attended international indoor athletics event.

Upwards of 12,500 spectators will watch 71 athletes from 18 nations compete in a total of eight disciplines featuring top-notch competitors. These include two Olympic champions, a Paralympic champion, 4 world champions, 5 European champions, one world record holder. Once again the successful show format and a special concert by chart-topping band Glasperlenspiel (“Geiles Leben”) will be gearing up athletes and spectators alike for the event. The eight disciplines are the 60-metre sprint (men and women), 60-metres hurdles (men and women), long jump (women), pole vault (men) and discus (men). For many athletes the ISTAF INDOOR is their most important test in the run-up to the World Indoor Championships in Portland/USA (18th – 20th March).


As with the first two editions of the event, all the show elements of a modern high-tech stadium (music, fog, lights and pyrotechnics) will be harnessed to introduce the athletes as they make their entrance onto the ISTAF INDOOR stage. The main programme of this year’s event will run from 5pm to 9pm. Masters of ceremonies will be ZDF presenters Wolf-Dieter Poschmann and Karsten Holland.

For the media, too, the ISTAF INDOOR is more and more of a pull. The Lagardère agency has acquired the international rights to the event and sold them on to TV stations in the USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Jamaica, South Africa, France, Holland, Belgium and the Middle East. In Germany ZDF will air its coverage of the proceedings in “das aktuelle sportstudio” on Saturday and Das Erste will present the highlights at 10am on Sunday in “Sportschau extra”.

Says meeting director Martin Seeber: “We promised that the third edition of the ISTAF INDOOR would top the previous tournaments, and 24 hours before the start of the event I’m quite certain that the promise will be kept. The stadium is completely sold out and a lot of the world’s best athletes arrived early in the week and are raring to go. They include world stars like Renaud Lavillenie, Robert Harting and Dafne Schippers. You can’t get much better than that.”

The key athletes at the ISTAF INDOOR in chronological order of discipline:

60m (men, paralympic); start: 16:52

The 60-metre sprint for athletes with handicaps is set to be a showcase of German medal hopes for the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. Top of the list is 2012 Paralympics champion and three-times world champion Heinrich Popow of Leverkusen. In a race with a mix of start categories, the thigh amputee is unlikely to be the first over the line, however. The visually impaired Thomas Ulbricht or calf amputee Johannes Floors have more of a chance to set the meeting record for this new competition.

Pole Vault (men); start: 17:15

France’s world record holder and Olympics champion, Renaud Lavillenie, will be looking to clear the highest bar of the year again at the ISTAF INDOOR and even raise the bar a little. Last year he won the competition with a vault of 6.02 metres but was defeated by the world-record height of 6.17m. “I’ll be back in Berlin next year and have another shot at the world record,” he promised. And he’ll be joined by another pole vaulter wanting to improve his performance: Raphael Holzdeppe is planning his first 6-metre+ jump and Berlin might be the place to achieve it. They’ll be up against stiff competition in the form of Tiago da Silva (personal best: 5.92m, Brazil), Piotr Lisek (5.82m, Poland), Robert Sobera (5.81m, Poland) and Jerome Clavier (5.81m, France), all of whom have cleared 5.80 metres or higher. German contenders are Tobias Scherbarth (5.73m), Carlo Paech (5.80m) and Malte Mohr (5.91m).

The ISTAF INDOOR pole-vault record (6.02 metres) was set by Renaud Lavillenie in 2015.

Long jump (women); start: 17:40

Shara Proctor, the current World Championships runner-up and British record holder, will be competing in Berlin alongside other world-ranked jumpers such as Erica Jarder (pb: 6.71m, Sweden) and Chantel Malone (6.45m, British Virgin Islands). Rising star Alexandra Wester (ASV Köln), who leapt 6.72m in Düsseldorf, the third-best jump in an IAAF tournament this year, will head a German trio that includes Xenia Stolz (Wiesbadener SV) and Melanie Bauschke of LAC Olympia 88 Berlin.

The ISTAF INDOOR long-jump record (6.74m) was set by Funmi Jimoh (USA) in 2015.

60m Hurdles (women); start: 18:30

All eyes will be on World Championships runner-up and last year’s ISTAF INDOOR winner Cindy Roleder. As in the hurdles final at the Peking World Championships, the Leipzig native will be competing against Sharika Nelvis. The American was the world’s fastest woman over indoor hurdles in 2015, and has a personal best of 7.83 seconds, although she only managed eighth place in Peking. Two places in front of her in Peking was 2012 junior World Championships runner-up Noemi Zbären (Switzerland). Two other young German women, Pamela Dutkiewicz and Franziska Hofmann, will be competing against the world’s top runners thanks to the ISTAF INDOOR format for promoting junior talent.

The ISTAF INDOOR 60-metres hurdles record (7.79 seconds) has been held by Sally Pearson (Australia) since 2014.

60m Hurdles (men); heats: 17:20 / 17:30; final: 18:40

Three of the world’s quickest hurdlers will be vying for the 60m title: Orlando Ortega (Spain), the fastest person over 60m and 110m hurdles in 2015, Dimitri Bascou (France), European Championships runner-up in 2015 over 60m hurdles, and Garfield Darien, twice European Championships runner-up over 110m hurdles. Due to the world-class field at the ISTAF INDOOR, there will be a qualifying round of two heats, as with the 60m dash over the flat. The six fastest hurdlers will go forward to the final. German aces Erik Balnuweit (pb 7.54 secs) and Alexander John (7,65 secs) will struggle to make the final six. Balnuweit, the German indoor champion, has the best chance after reaching the final of the European Indoor Championships last year.

The ISTAF INDOOR 60m hurdles record (7.51 seconds) was set by Orlando Ortega (Spain) in 2015.

60m (women); heats: 17:50 / 18:00; final: 18:50

200-metre world champion Dafne Schippers is the reigning star among women sprinters. She will have strong competition at the ISTAF INDOOR in the form of Asha Philip (pb 7.08 secs), Swiss record holder Mujinga Kambundji (7.11 secs), Ivorian Marie Josée Ta Lou (7.12 secs), South African Carina Horn (7.20 secs) and American Jeneba Tarmoh (7.22 secs). Anything other than a victory for the ‘flying Dutchwoman’ would be a surprise. As with the men’s sprint, there will be two heats to decide the six finalists on the blue track. In view of the world class a place in the final for either of the young German sprinters Lisa-Marie Kwayie and Chantal Butzek would represent a great achievement. The ISTAF format is designed to give young German athletes a shot at top honours.

The ISTAF INDOOR 60m sprint record (7.09 seconds) was set by Dafne Schippers (Netherlands) in 2015.

60m (mens); heats: 18:10 / 18:20; final: 19:00

The ISTAF INDOOR is gearing up for Berlin’s fastest-ever race over 60 metres. Five weeks before the World Indoor Championships in Portland (USA) and six months before the Olympic Games in Rio the world’s top sprinters want to know where they stand. The field includes three sub-10-second 100-metre runners: Henricho Bruintjies (South Africa), Kim Collins (St Kitts & Nevis) and European champion James Dasaolu (GB). They will be hustled by Luca Jakubczyk (10.07 secs), Christian Blum (10.20 secs) and the two-times German record holder Julian Reus (6.53 secs over 60m and 10.05 secs over 100m), the quickest Germans over short distances. This will be three out of three ISTAF INDOORs for Kim Collins and he is looking forward to the event hugely: “This meeting is different. It’s like a concert or a disco with 12,500 spectators. I love the ISTAF INDOOR.”

The ISTAF INDOOR 60m sprint record (6.50 seconds) was set by Kim Collins (St. Kitts & Nevis) in 2015.

Discus (men); start: 20:15

He’s back at last! After an 18-month lay-off due to injury Olympic discus champion Robert Harting is making his comeback at the ISTAF INDOOR. And in his very first competition he will face some sobering adversaries. Four of the seven discus throwers competed in the final of the 2015 Peking World Championships. They include Belgian World Championships runner-up Philip Milanov, Swede Daniel Stahl (fifth-placed in Peking), Jamaican Fedrick Dacres (7th) and Robert’s younger brother, Christophe Harting (8th). Another contender is Martin Wierig (Magdeburg), twice discus champion at the ISTAF INDOOR. Robert Harting: “I can’t wait for my comeback and to start roughing it with other throwers. It’ll be really important for me to get back into competition and get used to the tension of the event again. Winning is not the most important thing for me. My body is like a car after it’s been in the repair shop for a while. It’s got a whole lot of new parts that have to be put to the test.”

The ISTAF INDOOR discus record (64.82m) has been held by Martin Wierig (Magdeburg) since 2014.

ISTAF INDOOR – the sponsors

As with almost all large sporting events, the ISTAF INDOOR would not be possible without its sponsors. Martin Seeber: “I would like to thank our sponsors and partners for their magnificent support. First and foremost I would like to express my gratitude to the DKB, Nike, Spielbank Berlin, AOK, Lotto, Getränke Hoffmann, Laserline, Messe Berlin and Volkswagen for their many years of assistance. This year we are also delighted to have the backing of two new sponsors, Allianz-Versicherung and the Swiss company UsedSoft. We are also grateful to our many helpers, without whom we would not be able to transform the arena so quickly into an athletics stadium and return it to its former state afterwards.”

ISTAF INDOOR – the blue track

The 85-metre-long track (7.32m wide and 13mm thick) was poured, marked and cut into strips specially for the ISTAF INDOOR in the Mercedes Benz Arena. It weighs a total of eight tons (13kg per square metre) and is 622 square metres in area. The track will be rolled up after the event and stored in the multi-storey car park of the Mercedes Benz Arena until ISTAF INDOOR 2017.

The blue track

            Length                         85 m

            Width                           7.32 m

            Thickness                    13 mm

            Weight                         8000 kg

            Lanes                          6

FACTS:

Number of athletes                  71

Nations                                    22

German competitors                23

Furthest journey to Berlin        Fedrick Dacres, Jason Morgan (Jamaika)

Shortest journey to Berlin       Melanie Bauschke, Christoph Harting, Robert Harting, Lisa Marie Kwayie, Lucas Jakubczyk (all from Berlin)

Number of spectators             12,627 (sold out)

Volunteers                         400

13/02/2016