What To Watch At The 2024 World Indoor Championships: Athletes, Storylines And Key Matchups In Glasgow

By Owen Corbett

February 29, 2024

The indoor track season in an Olympic year can sometimes seem like a quick blip as the biggest stars focus their sights on August, but the newly-renamed “short track” scene has held its own and then some this winter. Events like Millrose Games and the USATF Championship delivered thrilling competition, and more than a few of the big names decided it was worth their time to put together an indoor campaign. As a result, we’re gearing up for the 2024 World Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, full of anticipation and excitement.

Hometown heroes like Josh Kerr, Laura Muir, and Jemma Reekie will be trying to rack up a few medals as part of a small-but-mighty U.K. team, and Team USA is sending a strong contingent headlined by Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman in the sprints. With world record holders like Femke Bol, Mondo Duplantis, and Grant Holloway on the start lists, the history books may be in for an update next week.

All the action kicks off on Friday, March 1st and wraps up Sunday, March 3rd. American fans better get used to waking up early, as the first events each day kick off at 5 am E.T., but most of the finals are relatively easy to watch as the afternoon sessions each day are between 2 pm and 5 pm E.T. A full timetable of events can be found here.

The whole championships is streaming live on Peacock (subscription required), but unfortunately, the only live TV window will be Sunday, 2-5 pm E.T., on CNBC. You can find a full streaming/TV schedule here.

Many thanks to Owen Corbett for the assist on breaking down these key races.

Christian Coleman and Noah Lyles after their 60m final at the 2024 USATF Indoor Track and Field Championships.Christian Coleman and Noah Lyles after their 60m final at the 2024 USATF Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Kevin Morris/@KevMoFoto

Christian Coleman and Noah Lyles after their 60m final at the 2024 USATF Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Men’s Sprints:

The men’s 60m will surely be the rematch everyone tunes in for. Noah Lyles vs. Christian Coleman lived up to the hype at USAs, with Lyles pipping his rival by 0.01 seconds in the final steps of the race, but Coleman is still the world record holder and 2x World Indoor medalist (gold in 2018, silver in 2022), and now he’s got a chip on his shoulder. Given that Lyles is the world leader and hasn’t lost a 60m final since the Millrose Games in January 2022, he has to be considered the favorite, but he’s only the fourth fastest man in the race by PB, as Coleman, Ronnie Baker, and Jamaican Ackeem Blake have all run faster in previous seasons. The last time the reigning World/Olympic 100m champion went to World Indoors, it was similarly thrilling, as Lamont Marcell Jacobs beat out Coleman by 3/1000ths of a second for gold. Although Jacobs is nowhere to be seen this indoor season, Lyles could bring the same fire to a similarly close matchup.

In the men’s hurdles, it’s once again the Grant Holloway show as the reigning world record holder is fresh off breaking his own record in the prelims of the U.S. championships. Holloway has never lost a 60m hurdles race at the professional height and is the reigning champ from 2022, so betting on him might be the safest money in the whole weekend. American hurdlers have a decent shot at a podium sweep too with four entrants, the top two seeds, and the only three competitors with sub-7.40 PBs, but Trey Cunningham, Cameron Murray, and/or Daniel Roberts will have to go through the likes of Swiss stalwart Jason Joseph and a pair of Frenchmen in the low 7.4s to pull it off.

The plot thickened this week in the men’s 400m with the late entry of world 400H champ Karsten Warholm, who’s yet to open up his 2024 season but was the 2023 European Indoor champion with an indoor best of 45.05. He’ll face off with reigning World Indoor champ (and World Indoor Tour champ) Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago, who has the fastest PB in the field at 45.00 but also has yet to race this year. The trio of Americans in the field will be angling for a medal as well, as they’re the top 3 seeds by season’s best, but don’t sleep on Jamaican Rusheen McDonald, who only has an indoor best this year of 47.08 but ran three full seconds faster last summer - the third fastest time in the world in 2023 at 44.03.

In the 4x400m, Team USA should be favored to win but it’s never a sure thing, as they didn’t even make the final last time out when an injury forced Isaiah Harris to limp the baton around. There’s no clear ascendant challenger entered, but Belgium and Poland are both known to put the pieces together well when it counts.

Julien Alfred wins the 60m at the 2024 Millrose Games in 6.99s.Julien Alfred wins the 60m at the 2024 Millrose Games in 6.99s.

Kevin Morris/@kevmofoto

Julien Alfred wins the 60m at the 2024 Millrose Games in 6.99s.

Women’s Sprints:

In 2022, one of the big surprises out of the World Indoors in Belgrade was Swiss sprinter Mujinga Kambundji taking the win in the women’s 60m from the outside lane, taking down Americans Mikiah Brisco and Marybeth Sant-Price. Kambundji isn’t entered this year and hasn’t raced in 2024 yet, but with a tight grouping of athletes around the 7.00 mark, the possibility of another runner pulling a similar upset is real. NCAA phenom turned Puma pro Julien Alfred of St. Lucia is the world leader and only sub-7 entrant in the field at 6.99, and considering that she is less than a year removed from her stunning NCAA-winning 6.94 performance, she’s probably the slight favorite. Right behind her, however, is Aleia Hobbs, the supremely talented but injury-prone American who was on fire all last indoor season but hasn’t quite had the same consistency in 2024. Hobbs did comfortably win the U.S. title, however, in a season-best 7.02, so she’s trending in the right direction. Of the other top entrants in the mix, Brisco can’t be counted out as the top returner from 2022, and Polish sprinter Ewo Swoboda is arguably better at the 60m than its outdoor 100-meter counterpart. Italian Zaynab Dosso also has a shot at the podium with her 7.02 season’s best, but she only finished second behind Swoboda in that race, and the competition is stiffer here.

The 60m hurdles looked to be set up for a clash between co-world record holders Devynne Charlton of the Bahamas and Tia Jones of the U.S., but with Jones not listed on the start list, it’ll be Charlton’s race to lose as she has the fastest seed by over a tenth of a second. The three women who beat Charlton outdoors at Worlds last summer – Danielle Williams, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, and Keni Harrison – have all elected to skip the indoor season, and while 100m hurdles world record holder Tobi Amusan raced earlier this year, she’s not entered here either. So it’ll likely be up to Dutchwoman Nadine Visser, American Masai Russell, and Pole Pia Skrzyszowski to fight over the silver and bronze medals unless someone else in the field makes a jump from the 7.8s to the 7.7s at just the right time.

The women’s 400m stands to be an absolute banger, as world indoor record holder Femke Bol only seems to get better week in and week out. Bol is responsible for the two fastest times in history and 6 of the 14 indoor sub-50s ever run, and the only other woman under 50 seconds since 2006 – Britton Wilson – isn’t competing this season. That isn’t to say that Bol won’t face a stiff challenge, as her Dutch teammate Lieke Klaver has been knocking on the door of sub-50 for a while, most recently running 50.10 for second behind Bol’s latest record at their national championship. And U.S. champ Alexis Holmes has looked fantastic all season, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her or Talitha Diggs factoring into the medal season. And, of course, the talented long sprinters each country has will be back to face off in the women’s 4x400m, where the Netherlands took silver in 2022 but Team USA finished a disappointing 4th.

2022 World Indoor Championship silver medalist Noah Kibet at the 2024 Millrose Games.2022 World Indoor Championship silver medalist Noah Kibet at the 2024 Millrose Games.

Kevin Morris/@KevMoFoto

2022 World Indoor Championship silver medalist Noah Kibet at the 2024 Millrose Games.

Men’s Distance:

In the 800m, we are in for a rematch battle royale, with six of the eight finalists from the 2022 World Indoor Championships, including all three medalists, returning to defend their podium spots. Reigning champ Mariano Garcia is rounding into form at just the right time with a win at the Spanish National Championships two weeks ago, while Noah Kibet and Bryce Hoppel, who earned silver and bronze in 2022 respectively, are coming off a duel at the Millrose Games. There, Hoppel took the win, and less than one week later, he added to his already hefty collection of U.S. 800m titles. In Albuquerque Hoppel finished just ahead of Isaiah Harris, also returning from the 2022 final, who surely is hungry for some global hardware of his own. One wild card to watch may be three-time Italian champ Catalin Tecuceanu, fresh off the fastest time in the world this year. Since 2021, only the 19-year-old Kibet has run faster indoors.

The men’s 1500m represents an exciting medal pickup opportunity for two talented young Americans, with Hobbs Kessler and Cole Hocker having strong seasons. But they’ll have to go through Ethiopia’s Samuel Tefera, the two-time reigning World Indoor Champion, and his gold medals suggest he can win the race no matter how it plays out. In 2022, Tefera outkicked Jakob Ingebrigtsen down the final stretch en route to a championship record time, yet in 2018 he won the slowest final in World Indoor Championship history, in a race where some laps were closer to 6-minute mile pace than 4-minute mile pace. Tefera has the fastest indoor PB in the field by over two seconds but a third title isn’t guaranteed: contenders range from Ingebrigtsen’s countryman Narve Nordås, to On Athletics Club teammates Mario García Romo and Geordie Beamish, and, of course, the Americans. Baltimore-based Brit Adam Fogg will also be one to watch, hoping for some host-nation advantage and coming off a big 3:49 mile PB at the Millrose Games.

And then there’s the stacked men’s 3000m. With only 14 starters, the medals will be decided by a single, straight-final race on Saturday afternoon, but don’t confuse the small field with lack of depth. Ethiopians Selemon Barega and Getnet Wale come into this race with the two fastest times of the year by a wide margin, thanks to 7:25.82 and 7:26.73 clockings a few weeks ago at the World Indoor Tour stop in Toruń. Either Ethiopian or their teammate, Telahun Haile Bekele, could factor for the win. Barega is reigning champ as well as the reigning Olympic 10,000m champ and Wale, primarily a steeplechaser outdoors, ran 7:24.81 in 2021. Ethiopia has produced five gold and silver medalists in the last three editions of the event, so even with two mile world record holder Josh Kerr and 3:43 miler Yared Nuguse in the race, history suggests they’ll rack up multiple medals. Kerr and Nuguse are both stepping up in distance from the 1500m, but given Kerr’s 8:00.67 two-mile and Nuguse’s 7:28.23 3000m PB from last year, there’s no reason to suggest they won’t be in contention at any pace.

Great Britain's Jemma Reekie all smiles after winning the 2023 NYRR 5th Avenue Mile.Great Britain's Jemma Reekie all smiles after winning the 2023 NYRR 5th Avenue Mile.

Kevin Morris/@KevMoFoto

Great Britain's Jemma Reekie all smiles after winning the 2023 NYRR 5th Avenue Mile.

Women’s Distance:

Since 2006, only four women have broken 1:58 indoors: two Ethiopians and two Brits. Keely Hodgkinson is skipping World Indoors this year, and Gudaf Tsegay is the favorite in the 3000m, which leaves Jemma Reekie and Habitam Alemu to battle it out for gold in the 800m. Alemu is the world leader this year at 1:57.86, but she’s had a tough go in championship settings. In nine World indoor/outdoor/Olympic appearances, her highest finish was fourth at 2018 World Indoors and she didn’t make the final at 2023 or 2022 Worlds outdoors. The home team might have their best shot at gold in Reekie – in four races this year, her lowest finish was second (in her season opener), and she likely faces slightly lighter competition than Kerr. Ugandan Halimah Nakaayi is the only woman to beat Reekie this season, so she and someone like Natoya Goule-Toppin of Jamaica or Allie Wilson of the U.S. could be a real medal threat too.

Of all the track events, the most likely event for a podium sweep will be the women’s 1500m, as Ethiopia gets three entrants and the trio of Freweyni Hailu, Diribe Welteji, and Birke Haylom have been on another level from the rest of the world this year. It’s in their interest to keep things blazing fast as they’re the only three entrants with sub-4:00 marks on the season, and they’ve gotten somewhat lucky that the fastest milers from other countries – American Elle St. PIerre, Australian Jessica Hull, and Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech – have prioritized the 3000m. If it’s tactical or if a hot early pace takes its toll on one or more of the leaders, U.S. champ Nikki Hiltz, runner up Emily MacKay, Australian Linden Hall, or even ascendent Canadian Regan Yee (the Flagstaff-based steeplechaser who ran a 4:24.95 mile in February) could kick into the medals.

The women’s 3000m title is, quite simply, Gudaf Tsegay’s to lose. In the last two years, Tsegay won World titles at 5000m and 10,000m outdoors and 1500m indoors, and she finished off her 2023 season by setting a world record of 14:00.21 in the 5000m. She’s had some “bad” luck in the 3000m the past few seasons, missing Genzebe Dibaba’s world record by less than a second twice in the last two years, but her 8:17.11 season’s best is still 7+ seconds clear of Hull’s World #2. U.S. champ Elle St. Pierre won silver at this race in 2022, and she’ll surely want to upgrade. While she’s generally considered a strength-based runner, her best shot at gold will likely be kicking off a slower, but not pedestrian, pace. Jessica Hull or Brit Laura Muir would benefit from a similar strategy, and Muir, as the Scottish hometown favorite, will have the roar of the crowd behind her. A faster pace would likely benefit Ethiopians Lemlem Hailu or Hiruit Meshesha, and you never quite know what you’re going to get from Chepkoech, the steeplechase world record holder.

South Korea's Woo Sang-hyeok soared to victory at the 2022 World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia and returns to defend his title in Glasgow.South Korea's Woo Sang-hyeok soared to victory at the 2022 World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia and returns to defend his title in Glasgow.

Johnny Zhang/@jzsnapz

South Korea's Woo Sang-hyeok soared to victory at the 2022 World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia and returns to defend his title in Glasgow.

Men’s Field:

In the high jump, Korean Woo Sang-hyeok is the favorite as the defending champion and highest jumper in the world this year – tied with U.S. champ Shelby McEwen, who’s making his World Indoors debut but finished seventh and fifth at the last two outdoor championships. Other podium threats include the 2022 co-bronze medalist Hamish Kerr and 35-year-old Ukrainian Andrii Protsenko, one of the few active jumpers who is a member of the 2.40m club.

When it comes to the pole vault, the question isn’t whether Mondo Duplantis will defend his title. The question is: will he break his own world record in the process like he did in 2022? Duplantis has improved his world record three times since Belgrade and came agonizingly close to doing it again just over a week ago in France. If Duplantis does have a rare off day, there are four other six meter jumpers in the field including multiple time global medalists EJ Obiena, Chris Nielsen, and Sam Kendricks.

2022 long jump champion Miltiadis Tentoglou’s favorite status is rock-solid as he’s reigning World Indoor, reigning World Outdoor, and reigning Olympic champ. Over and over, Tentoglou has shown he can bring his best stuff in a championship setting. Each of the last three outdoor World champions will be jumping in Glasgow as Jianan Wang and Tajay Gayle are also entered. Gayle, the Jamaican, is the only man in the field to jump further than Tentoglou. American Jarrion Lawson will be trying to improve upon his fourth place finish in 2022 to put a U.S. man on the podium for the fourth straight championships. Similarly, Jamaican Carey McLeod will really want a medal after settling for fourth in Budapest. But none of these men are the current world leader: that’s 19-year-old Mattia Furlani, coming off a 8.34m performance at the Italian Indoor Championships that left him one centimeter short of the world U20 record.

In the triple jump, Burkina Faso’s Hugues Fabrice Zango also comes in as the overwhelming favorite as the reigning outdoor World champion and world indoor record holder. Zango’s biggest competition in name may come from Cuba’s Lázaro Martínez, who is the defending World Indoor champ and the silver medalist behind Zango outdoors; however, he has only finished fifth in each of his last two competitions. World Indoor Tour champion Yasser Mohammed Triki will also be a factor coming off a 17.18m season’s best, looking to become Algeria’s first World Indoor medalist since 1991.

In the only throwing event of the championships, world record holder Ryan Crouser will be looking to finally capture the one title he doesn’t yet have. The double Olympic and World outdoor shot put champion was upset in his first World Indoor Championships by Brazil’s Darlan Romani, who set a championship and South American record in Belgrade. Romani will be back to defend his title, but he’ll be up against stiff odds. Romani has thrown over 22m just once since his title two years ago, a barrier that Crouser has eclipsed in 25 of his 27 competitions since Belgrade. 2022 bronze medalist Tom Walsh of New Zealand is also returning to the ring, as well as 2023 outdoor silver medalist Leonardo Fabbri of Italy. Jamaican Rajindra Campbell, the only other man to throw 22 meters so far this year, also has momentum after beating Walsh and Fabbri in Madrid just last week.

Ukraine's Yaroslava Mahuchikh celebrates winning the 2022 World Indoor Championships high jump just weeks after the Russian invasion of her home country.Ukraine's Yaroslava Mahuchikh celebrates winning the 2022 World Indoor Championships high jump just weeks after the Russian invasion of her home country.

Johnny Zhang/@jzsnapz

Ukraine's Yaroslava Mahuchikh celebrates winning the 2022 World Indoor Championships high jump just weeks after the Russian invasion of her home country.

Women’s Field:

The women’s high jump features a high-profile rematch between reigning World Indoor and Outdoor champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh and Olympic and World medalist Nicola Olyslagers. In the last six competitions featuring both jumpers, one of the two has come out victorious. Mahuchikh holds an 18-4 all-time advantage head to head, but they split their four matchups evenly last year. Olyslagers’s teammate Eleanor Patterson was the runner-up to Mahuchikh in Belgrade, but she hasn’t finished higher than fifth in either of her first two competitions of the year. And 14-time U.S. champ Vashti Cunningham will be looking for her third World Indoor medal, but she hasn’t beaten Mahuchihk or Patterson in competition since 2019.

In the pole vault, longtime ringers Katie Moon and Sandi Morris return to the world stage looking to add to their hefty medal count. We haven’t seen a global championship without either of them medaling since 2015, although Moon, the U.S. champ, has mentioned nursing a sore ankle this week. While they’ll be the on-paper favorites, 23-year-old Brit Molly Caudrey has won six of her last seven competitions and has the highest jump in the world this year. The only woman to beat Caudrey this year is Eliza McCartney, who is looking to return to the podium after finishing third in the Rio Olympics as a 19-year-old.

Without the reigning Olympic champion (Malaika Mihambo) or reigning world champion (Ivana Vuleta) in the field, the long jump title is up for grabs and the athlete to watch is 2023 outdoor silver medalist Tara Davis-Woodhall. Davis-Woodhall’s top competition will come from Ese Brume, who finished runner-up at both the indoor and outdoor World Championships in 2022, and the up-and-coming Larissa Iapichino, who holds the world U20 indoor record at 6.97m and sits just one spot behind Davis-Woodhall at No. 3 in the world rankings.

In the women’s triple jump, 3x reigning champ Yulimar Rojas is absent, which leaves the door open for a breakthrough from an athlete like Leyanis Pérez Hernández, last year’s bronze medalist in Budapest and current world leader. Without Rojas or fellow 15-meter jumper Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk in the field, athletes like Dominica’s Thea LaFond or American NCAA legends Keturah Orji and Jasmine Moore have a great shot at the podium.

It’s rematch time in the shot put: Six of the top seven finishers from 2022 are back two years later to throw. Newly married Chase Jackson (née Ealey) is the reigning silver medalist and comes into the competition with the last two outdoor World titles and the top PB. Behind Jackson, the second farthest outdoor best in the field belongs to her compatriot Maggie Ewen, who beat her at last year’s U.S. outdoor championships. Other former medalists in the competition include Canada’s Sarah Mitton, Jamaica’s Danniel Thomas-Dodd, and world leader Jessica Schilder of Germany.

So if you can’t make it to Scotland on short notice, kick back, fire up your Roku or streamer of choice, and follow along with us on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for a virtual front-row seat to the action. We can’t wait!

Owen Corbett

Huge sports fan turned massive track nerd. Statistics major looking to work in sports research. University of Connecticut club runner (faster than Chris Chavez but slower than Kyle Merber).