European indoor 60m champion Ajla Del Ponte from Switzerland is confirmed for the Czech Indoor Gala in Ostrava on 3 February, a World Athletics Indoor Tour Silver meeting.
Del Ponte won gold in Torun last year in a world leading time of 7.03 and the Swiss translated that form to the outdoor stage by reaching the Olympic 100m final in Tokyo and lowering the national record to 10.90.
Del Ponte will be competing at the Czech Indoor Gala for the first time and she could challenge the meeting record of 7.10 which was set by Michelle-Lee Ahye from Trinidad & Tobago in 2016.
The line-up also includes Jamile Samuel from the Netherlands, the bronze medallist at the 2021 European Indoor Championships, and Klara Seidlova who won at this meeting in 2020 in an equal Czech record of 7.23.
One of Del Ponte’s training partners Lieke Klaver, who was part of the Netherlands’ gold medal-winning team in the 4x400m at the European Indoor Championships, headlines a strong continental line-up in the 400m.
Klaver takes on the Polish duo of Iga Baumgart-Witan and Anna Kielbasinska - the latter moved to second on the Polish all-time list behind Irena Szewinska with a 50.38 lifetime best - as well as Brit Jessie Knight and home favourite Lada Vondrova, the reigning European U23 champion.
The Dutch will also have strong representation in the men’s 400m courtesy of Olympic finalist Liemarvin Bonevacia and Jochem Dobber - both of whom won gold for the Netherlands in the 4x400m at the European Indoor Championships. Meanwhile the Czechs will be represented by relay stalwarts Michal Desensky, Vit Muller and Jan Tesar.
Slovakia’s 2019 European indoor 60m champion Jan Volko is due to compete in the 60m and 200m and he is expected to cross paths with 2016 European champion Bruno Hortelano from Spain, who is on the comeback trail from injury, in the latter event.
Olympic 1500m finalist Kriistina Maki, who smashed a 35-year-old national record to reach the final in Tokyo only seven months after giving birth to her first child, is also confirmed for the 1500m.
The sixth edition of the Czech Indoor Gala will take place in the Ostrava Athletics Arena and in case of a favourable situation regarding the evolution of the pandemic, ticket sales will open approximately two weeks before the meeting.