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As storm Emma looms, stage set for IAAF World Indoor Championships

Storm Emma has done little to lower the excitement and participants from over 140 nations are gearing up for the IAAF World Indoor Championships with the men’s and women’s high jump kicking off the four-day event

other sports Updated: Mar 01, 2018 23:43 IST
Birmingham
IAAF World Indoor Championships,storm Emma,Sebastian Coe
Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece answers questions alongside athletes Katarina Johnson-Thompson of Great Britain , Marie-Josée Ta Lou of Ivory Coast, Sally Pearson of Australia, Sandi Morris of USA, Richard Bowker Chair of UK Athletics, Sebastian Coe the IAAF President , Councillor Ian Ward and Iaaf Ambassador Stacey Dragila during a press conference ahead of the IAAF World Indoor Championships at Arena Birmiingham on Thursday.(Getty Images)

According to the meteorological calendar, March 1 should be the first day of spring this year in the United Kingdom. But with severe conditions crippling major parts of Britain for the past three days, the UK Met office has issued a red alert over storm Emma, which is expected to hit later on Thursday. Blizzard-like conditions, coupled with the wind left hundreds of drivers stranded on the road with quite a few trains and flights cancelled.

However, that has done little to lower the excitement and participants from over 140 nations are gearing up for the IAAF World Indoor Championships with the men’s and women’s high jump kicking off the four-day event.

“We feel we are in the home of British Athletics. It is the UK Athletics headquarters and most of us remember very fondly the 2003 championships here. We have had World Half Marathon Championships, the Diamond League and indoor tour. So we are in very safe hands. We are in a city that really does get athletics. We are delighted to be here. The UK has been a trusted and regular host to our events. We had an epic World Championships in London only a few months ago,” IAAF president Sebastian Coe said.

Along with Coe, councillor Ian Ward was present with some women athletes, including home favourite Katarina Johnson-Thompson who would represent Great Britain in pentathlon. Having missed out on Ukranian Nataliya Dobrynska’s world record of 5013 at the 2015 European Indoor Championships in Prague by 13 points, the 25-year-old hopes to go a notch better this time.

“Long jump makes a major difference for me. It is one of my strongest but both jumps would be key events for me and hopefully I will get enough points to get a good result,” Johnson-Thompson said. “I think I had better chance in the past but I will try to compete and do as well as I can. I hope the crowd will be extra loud indoors and will help me to push it forward.”

Australian Sally Pearson, who clinched the women’s 60m hurdles at the London 2017 World Championships, reiterated that although she would want to bag a podium finish, her main focus is the Commonwealth Games slated for April.

“I wasn´t the favourite coming to these championships but I believed in myself. To take the victory, I think it was the proudest moment of my entire athletics career,” she said, before adding: “We have already had the national championships and on April 4, we have the Commonwealth Games – we are all preparing for that. I feel physically and mentally ready for this but my main focus is the Commonwealth Games now, partly because it will take place just 10 minutes from where I live.”

First Published: Mar 01, 2018 23:21 IST