Ewa Swoboda’s hot streak continued on Saturday (5) at the Polish Indoor Championships in Torun where she became just the third European in history to break the seven second-barrier with 6.99.
After a season which was ruined by illness and injury, Swoboda made an emphatic statement on her season’s debut with a 7.00 clocking at the Orlen Cup in Lodz and the Pole has crested the wave of this newfound form all the way through the indoor season.
Swoboda is unbeaten in eight races, including heats and finals, in 2022 and the former European indoor champion also has ownership of the four fastest times in the world this year with the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia from 18-20 March fast approaching.
From a historical context, Swoboda moves to third outright on the European all-time list behind Irina Privalova (6.92) and Ekaterini Thanou (6.96) and her time is the fastest by a European this century. Swoboda also moves to tenth on the world indoor all-time list but she is by no means resting on these laurels ahead of the World Indoor Championships.
"I don't understand what happened. I am so happy. I am writing in the pages of history. If everything would be perfect, there is still room for improvement. I have finally learned to run and that makes me happy. But I do not want to predict what will happen in Belgrade," said Swoboda.
And Swoboda won't be Poland’s only medal contender in the 60m in Belgrade. Better known as a sprint hurdler, European U23 100m hurdles champion Pia Skrzyszowska improved her lifetime best once more to 7.12 to follow Swoboda home in second.
The first world leading mark of the weekend was set by European U23 heptathlon champion Adrianna Sulek who regained her position at the top of the 2022 world pentathlon list with a score of 4756 points.
Sulek set individual lifetime bests in four of the five events - including a standout 1.89m clearance in the high jump - and her total puts her more than 100 points clear on the 2022 world list ahead of Anna Hall from the United States with 4618 points.
Justyna Swiety-Ersetic provided another weekend highlight with victory in a high octane and high quality women’s 400m final, prevailing in a national indoor record of 51.04.
Anna Kielbasinska led at the break from Swiety-Ersetic but the reigning European outdoor champion’s signature strength showed off the final bend as she edged past Kielbasinska, relieving her not only of the victory but also her national indoor record which she set earlier this season with 51.10.
Kielbasinska held off a late challenge from Natalia Kaczmarek to capture the runner-up spot with the second and third placers clocking 51.20 and 51.24 which augurs well for Poland's 4x400m chances at the World Indoor Championships.
"Now I am healthy, I want to continue to achieve more and more. I assumed that whoever won today would improve the Polish record. I can boldly say that with a better tactical run, the 51 second-barrier would have been broken," said Swiety-Ersetic.
Elsewhere, European indoor champion Konrad Bukowiecki defeated reigning European outdoor champion Michal Haratyk in the shot put - 21.53m to 21.09m - and Angelika Cichocka achieved victories in both the 800m (2:07.55) and 1500m (4:20.12).
Many favourites prevailed in Torun but two also faltered. Patryk Sieradzki upset European indoor champion Patryk Dobek in a tactical 800m, 1:51.59 to 1:51.87, while Jakub Szymanski just edged out Damian Czykier in the 60m hurdles final with both athletes timed at 7.60.
The fast Sportflex Super X 720 K39 installed by European Athletics Parner Mondo in the Arena Toruń was famously first installed in the Ergo Arena in Sopot, 190 kilometres away, ahead of the 2014 World Athletics Indoor Championships in that city and then moved to Torun seven weeks after that event was concluded.
The modular system employed by Mondo meant that the track can annulally be disassembled and assembled through a quick coupling system for the duration of the indoor athletics season, when it stages many major domestic events including the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting, the Copernicus Cup,, before the arena is used for other purposes for the rest of the year.
The track is Poland's only World Athletics Certified Indoor Track and the arena staged the Torun 2021 European Athletics Indoor Championships.
Fast 400m finals highlight Czech Indoor Championships
At the Czech Indoor Championships in Ostrava on Sunday, European U23 champion Lada Vondrova won the women’s 400m final in a season’s best of 51.90 ahead of Tereza Petrzilkova who set a lifetime best of 52.64.
In the men’s 400m final, Patrik Sorm clocked a fast 46.36 to defeat reigning three-time world indoor champion Pavel Maslak (46.70) and Vit Muller (46.73).
In other events, European U23 pole vault champion Amalie Svabikova cleared 4.55m and Lukas Hodbod won the 800m in 1:47.10.
Türkiye topped the medal table on home soil at the Balkan Indoor Championships in Istanbul on Saturday (5) with seven gold medals.
Home victories included Ilyas Canakci winning the men’s 400m in a lifetime best of 46.58 and Tugba Danismaz setting a national record of 14.14m in the triple jump.
Other highlights included Bulgaria’s former Olympic silver medallist Mirela Demireva clearing 1.92m in the high jump, Romania’s Anamaria Nesteriuc winning the 60m hurdles in 8.07 and Georgia’s Giorgi Mujaridze winning the shot put with 20.22m.