The 2019 IAAF World Indoor Tour, a series of the six finest indoor meetings on the planet, kicks off one week from today with the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston on 26 January.
Staged over the course of 26 action-packed days, the series includes stops in Karlsruhe (2 February), Torun (6 February), Madrid (8 February) and Birmingham (16 February) before reaching its final destination Düsseldorf on 20 February where the series winners will be crowned, awarded their US$20,000 prize bonuses and handed the first wildcard entries for the IAAF World Indoor Championships Nanjing 2020.
2019 marks the series' fourth edition, but it's already showing its widespread appeal. The Karlsruhe, Birmingham and Dusseldorf fixtures have sold out well in advance, the Polish meeting is on target to host yet another sell-out crowd of 5200 at Torun Arena, and Madrid is set for a near-capacity crowd.
While many of the fields are still being finalised, several are filling out nicely.
World indoor champion Yomif Kejelcha, Olympic medallists Clayton Murphy and Hagos Gebrhiwet and IAAF Rising Star award winner Sydney McLaughlin are just a few of the stars who will help get the series underway on the US east coast.
Karlsruhe will feature Cuba's rising long jump sensation Juan Miguel Echevarria, world and Olympic pole vault champion Ekaterini Stefanidi in the pole vault, and European high jump champion Mateusz Przybylko.
Echevarria returns to action in Torun four days later on a slate that includes double European champion Laura Muir, world indoor champions Pawel Maslak and Andrew Pozzi and three world champions in the pole vault: Sam Kendricks, Shawn Barber and Pawel Wojciechowski.
Later in the series, Birmingham will feature a gathering that includes four reigning world indoor champions and a further 11 world indoor medallists, including Pozzi, Muir and Echevarria. A strong men's 60m showdown will include world indoor silver medallist and Asian indoor record holder Su Bingtian taking on European 100m silver medallist Reece Prescod and twice European indoor 60m champion Richard Kilty.
Meanwhile, some of the featured showdowns in Dusseldorf include Pozzi taking on Olympic silver medallist Orlando Ortega in the 60m hurdles, Stefanidi facing 2015 world champion Yarisley Silva in the pole vault, and the Ingebrigtsen brothers, double European champion Jakob, European silver medallist Henrik and 2017 world bronze medallist Filip in the 1500m.
Disciplines and scoring
The tour will feature 11 point-scoring disciplines (those that were not part of this year’s tour programme), five for men – 400m, 1500m, 60m hurdles, high jump, long jump – and six for women – 60m, 800m, 3000m/5000m, pole vault, triple jump and shot put.
Each athlete’s best three results will count towards their point score and the athlete with the most points in each discipline at the end of the tour will be declared the winner at the finale in Dusseldorf.
New competition order rule introduced in jumping and throwing events
The series will also introduce a rule change this year in the jumping and throwing events. In addition to the re-order in reverse ranking after the first three rounds, another re-order will be added after the fifth round.