World 1500m champion Abeba Aregawi will head to Stockholm on 6 February for the XL Galan, an IAAF Indoor Permit meeting, with the sole aim of breaking the World indoor record for the metric mile.
The 23-year-old Swede came agonisingly close to the mark earlier this year, clocking 3:58.40 – the second-fastest time in history and just 0.12 away from the World indoor record.
“I’ve been training hard in order to break the World indoor record at the XL Galan,” said Aregawi, who has been undefeated in the 1500m since 17 August 2012. “It was such a great atmosphere and now I’ll try everything I can to run even faster.”
Aregawi’s first victory at the XL Galan came at the 2011 when she clocked 4:01.47 while still a relative unknown. In 2012 she improved to 3:56.54 to set an Ethiopian record and the following year, having switched to represent Sweden, she set another national record for her adopted nation with 3:56.60.
As well as winning the World title in Moscow, earlier this year she also won the European indoor title over her specialist distance, competing in front of a home crowd in Gothenburg.
Aregawi, who has this autumn training around Addis Ababa, is now focused on winning another major title.
“I get good training conditions in Ethiopia, which is why I train down there, and then I’ll go back to Sweden for the XL Galan,” she said. “That is my big goal for the season, along with the World Indoor Championships in Poland.”
Joining Aregawi in Stockholm will be high jumper Emma Green Tregaro, the European bronze medallist indoors and outdoors.
After finishing second in Stockholm on three occasions, the 2005 World bronze medallist is keen to finally record a victory.
“The XL Galan is one of the highlights of the indoor season,” said Green Tregaro. “It’s always fun to compete in front of the home crowd and the atmosphere is usually always good.”
The training has proceeded as expected in the fall and after Christmas expects Emma to go to Tampa , Florida for training camp. First indoor tournament is in late January.
“My goal for the indoor season is much like Abeba’s – although it will be difficult for me to break the World indoor record at the XL Galan,” joked Green Tregaro, who will head to Florida after Christmas for a training camp before opening her indoor season in late January.
Green Tregaro finished fifth at this year’s World Championships in Moscow, but with World champion Svetlana Shkolina and Olympic champion Anna Chicherova set to give the 2014 World Indoor Championships a miss, the 28-year-old has a good chance of taking a medal in Sopot next March.
“I know I’m good at performing when it matters most, but I need to be more consistent at higher heights with more jumps around two metres,” she said. “Those are the kind of heights that will win medals at major championships.
“The World Indoor Championships are the big goal for me, but the XL Galan is also important,” she added. “With the crowd’s support I’ll do what I can to finally win.”
Organisers for the IAAF