(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
The 2012 World Indoor Track and Field Championships get underway this Friday in Istanbul, Turkey. As always, the US has a fantastic field of favorites looking to bring home some hardware. This year, a record breaking 172 countries will be competing and with the 2012 Olympics just months away, this weekend’s competition is sure to be a great barometer for what the field will look like come July.
In addition to 400m outdoor world record holder Sanya Richards-Ross, newly crowned indoor high jump national record holder Chaunte Lowe will be competing, as well as current Sullivan Award nominee shot putter Jillian Camarena-Williams, who will be looking to improve on her 2011 outdoor world championship bronze.
Check out this Press Release from USA Track and Field for more on the US women to watch:
ISTANBUL, TURKEY – When the 2012 edition of the IAAF World Indoor Track & Field Championships begin Friday at the Atakoy Athletics Arena, a deep women’s squad will work for a repeat performance from 2010 when it helped Team USA win the overall medal table with 17 medals. Competition begins Friday and runs through Sunday.
The squad will be bolstered by reigning World Indoor long jump champion Brittney Reese and American outdoor 400-meter record holder Sanya Richards-Ross. After her gold medal in 2010 in Doha, Reese will be attempting to become the first ever female to repeat as World Indoor champion while Richards-Ross, competing in her first indoor season since 2006, takes a world-leading time of 50.71 into competition. Two of the more accomplished American track and field athletes of their era, Reese will be looking for her fourth consecutive World Championships gold medal (she also won World Outdoor titles in 2009 and 2011) while Richards-Ross is in search of her seventh overall World Championships medal. Richards-Ross will also be a member of the women’s 4x400m.
Reese teams with Janay DeLoach to create a chance for a pair of American medals in the long jump. DeLoach won the event at the recent USA Indoor Championships as well as last year’s USA Outdoor Championships. Her personal best this season of 6.89m/22-7.25 is currently the second best jump in the world this year.
Richards-Ross also teams with Natasha Hastings in the 400m. The 2004 World Junior champion carries a season best of 51.66 into the meet, which is currently fifth fastest in the world.
In the women’s shot put Jillian Camarena-Williams will be given her first chance to follow up on an international stage after her bronze medal from the 2011 World Outdoor Championships. Camarena-Williams bettered her existing American record to 19.89m/66-2.25 earlier this season at the USATF Classic. That mark currently sits second farthest in the world and she owns three of the four farthest throws in the world this year. Camarena-Williams won her eighth consecutive USA Indoor title this year and will compete with Michelle Carter, who currently holds the fifth best mark in the world at 19.27m/63-2.75.
Tianna Madison and Barbara Pierre currently own two of the top three spots in the world this indoor season in the 60m and currently pose the biggest danger to Jamaican two-time 200m Olympic gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown. Madison owns a season-best of 7.02 and has run the three fastest times in the world this season. She defeated Campbell-Brown head-to-head at the USATF Classic February 11 in Fayetteville, Ark.
Kristi Castlin leads a fast crop of American women in the 60m hurdles. Castlin, the current owner of the fastest time in the world for 2012, and Vanniesha Ivy, currently sixth fastest in the world, give Team USA a shot at a pair of World Indoor medals.
Fresh off her American indoor record and indoor Visa Championship Series title, Chaunte Lowepresents a solid chance at a medal in the high jump. Lowe won a bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships in 2010 and her American record jump of 2.02m/6-7.5 is currently the second best jump in the world. Lowe is also the American outdoor record holder and will be joined in the event byInika Mcpherson, who placed second at the recent USA Indoor Championships.
The 2008 Olympic Games silver medalist, Jenn Suhr is in the midst of an indoor season that saw her extend her existing American indoor record to 4.88m/16-0. Also the American outdoor record holder, Suhr sits second in the world behind only Russia’s Elena Isinbaeva, who is the current world record holder. Mary Saxer, who placed second at the recent USA Indoor Championships, will also represent Team USA in the pole vault.
Amanda Smock makes her second consecutive World Championships team after also making the trip to the 2011 World Outdoor Championships. The 2011 USA Outdoor and recent USA Indoor champion will compete in the triple jump.
In the 4x400m relay Team USA will be looking to defend its gold medal from 2010. Richards-Ross will lead a squad that will also include Hastings, Leslie Cole, Jernail Hayes, Shelise Williams andJessica Cousins to field a group to run both the preliminary round and the finals. Hastings is the lone athlete who also ran on the gold medal team from 2010.
A mix of experience and new faces fill Team USA roster spots for the distance and middle-distance events. In the 800m, Erica Moore is fresh off her first USA Indoor title and will toe the line withPhoebe Wright, who took the USA Indoor championship in 2011. At 1500m, Brenda Martinez will look to continue with her 2012 indoor success which led to a win in the mile at the U.S. Open at Madison Square Garden, along with Sara Vaughn, who placed third at February’s USA Indoor Championships, will look to contend for Team USA. And the 3000m representatives will be Jackie Areson, who placed second at the 2012 USA Indoor Championships, and Sara Hall, who is making her third appearance at the World Indoor Championships.