2021 World Athletics Indoor Tour: Liévin

5 Biggest Questions About The Lievin World Indoor Tour

5 Biggest Questions About The Lievin World Indoor Tour

Sifan Hassan is back, Mondo Duplantis faces a tough field, Jakob Ingebrigtsen takes on a world record holder and Grant Holloway's chance at history.

Feb 8, 2021 by Kevin Sully
5 Biggest Questions About The Lievin World Indoor Tour

The World Athletics World Indoor Tour makes its next stop in Lievin, France on Tuesday with strong fields featuring Olympic champions and world record holders.  

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The limited racing schedule has made it difficult to figure out just how fit many of the top athletes are, but the quality of the names alone will make this meet worth watching. With so much uncertainty, there are questions across the board. Here are the five of the biggest for Tuesday’s meet.

Can Sifan Hassan Recapture Her 2019 Form?

Even by 2020 standards, Hassan had a strange season. She dropped out of the 5000m in Monaco, the first sign of vulnerability we’d seen from her in recent memory. Then, she broke the world record in the one hour run, which is a hard thing to quantify because none of us know quite what to do with a one-hour world record. She closed out her season with a definitive 29:36 in the 10,000m. That race, in poor conditions in Hengelo, was a clear sign that the Hassan from the 2019 World Championships in Doha was very much still with us. 

Hassan was racing at such a high level that it is both appropriate and unrealistic to expect her to continue on that path. Tuesday’s meet won’t answer that completely, though competition from steeplechase world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech means this race won’t be a training run for Hassan.

Will Grant Holloway Break The 60m Hurdles World Record?

I’m not sure if the mark of 7.30 (from Colin Jackson in 1994) is on Holloway’s radar, but it’s got my attention. Two weeks ago he opened with a 7.35, equaling his American record. Holloway thrives indoors and has always been good at the 60m distance (see his 60m/60m hurdle sweep from the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships). 

Fractions of a second are hard to come by when you are already moving that fast, but I don’t need much convincing that Holloway can be .05 seconds faster than he was two years ago when he was competing in four events and rarely seemed to have time to take a breath. He will face Andrew Pozzi, Orlando Ortega and Wilhem Belocian on Tuesday—all capable of running in the 7.4s.

Will Mondo Go Full Mondo?

Mondo Duplantis’ 2020 had everything short of a major championship. The 2020 World Athletics Men’s Athlete of the Year made six meters look routine in the pole vault and set the world record on three occasions (twice indoors and once outdoors). Unfortunately for him, it came in a season that did not offer the chance at a gold medal. 

Thus far, his 2021 is living up to last year. He cleared 6.01m in Dusseldorf and 6.03m in Rouen, both in victory. Lievin will be a step-up in competition with Sam Kendricks, Renaud Lavillenie, Piotr Lisek and Thiago Braz on the start list. The veteran Lavillenie has already looked sharp, jumping 6.02m in Karlsruhe. 

Other field events to watch include newly minted world record holder Hugues Fabrice Zango in the men’s triple jump, Juan Miguel Echevarria in the men’s long jump and Holly Bradshaw in the women’s pole vault. 

Can Keely Hodgkinson Back Up Her Sub 2?

American track fans have been closely following the exploits of 18-year-old Athing Mu in the 400m and 800m. 

Great Britain, meanwhile, has a teenager half-mile star of their own in Hodgkinson. Just 18-years-old, she ran 1:59.03 in Wien. The mark is the fastest time in the world. 

Waiting for her on the start line in Lievin will be her country’s best 800m runner in Jemma Reekie. Reekie ran 1:57.91 in a massive breakout performance indoors at the beginning of 2020. The pandemic cut short her rise, but the 24-year-old will have plenty of opportunities to re-introduce herself to the running world.

What Will Jakob Ingebrigtsen Look Like In His Debut?

The 20-year-old from Norway will jump into the deep end in the 1500m, squaring off against the world record holder in the indoor 1500m, Samuel Tefera of Ethiopia. 

Neither man has a recorded result so it’s anyone’s guess who is fitter right now. Ingebrigtsen rarely has a bad race and Tefera obviously has an affection for racing indoors. Ingebrigtsen’s brother, Filip, will join him in the race as will Marcin Lewandowski of Poland, the bronze medalist in this event from the 2019 World Championships.