World Indoor Championships: Awards and hopes from Glasgow

The 2024 World Indoor Championships has come and gone with so much to unpack from an athletic and aesthetic perspective. Stars were born, tears flowed, and there were sumptuous athletics and great head-to-head of men and women of equal stature. We saw performances for the ages that will be forever etched in history.

A total of 586 athletes from 128 countries across all six continental areas competed in Glasgow, watched by more than 22,000 ticketed spectators from 37 countries, and produced two world records, five championship records, 10 area records, and 54 national records.

Deji’s peronsl number at the WIC Glasgow 2024, March 1-3, 2024

It was my first world indoor championships, and having covered perhaps one of the biggest outdoor championships in Budapest last year, this was a bit different from what I was used to outdoors.

These were my highs and lows of the three tumultuous days at the Glasgow arena.

Biggest star

Femke Bol—There is a big argument to be made about Femke Bol being the biggest superstar in Athletics at the moment. Sure, she might not have the grandeur of Noah Lyles or the home support of Josh Keer, but the Dutch woman undoubtedly made everyone stand on their feet whenever she took to the track to compete.

Every time she stepped on the track, there was an accompanying noise and cheer as she waved to the fans, almost as if they knew she would take down another record. How about her race? It’s poetry in motion. It’s almost as if she dictated the pace at which her competitors should follow her. Such a beauty to behold.

Femke Bol wins 400m, and sets WR, photo by Martin Bateman

Femke Bol is accustomed to tackling a demanding schedule, as evidenced by her participation in five(!) 400m races over the course of three days this weekend. She competed in three rounds of the open 400m and two rounds of the 4x400m relay. Bol’s perseverance paid off handsomely, earning her two gold medals a world record and the biggest cash prize from Glasgow.

It’s rare to see a smaller nation like the Netherlands, with a population of 17.5 million, outperforming sprint powerhouses like the United States. However, Bol’s remarkable efforts in the relay events and the return of silver medalist Lieke Klaver in the 4x400m final propelled the Dutch women to victory. This triumph secured the win and marked an improvement from their silver medal performance in 2022.

The home crowd cheers for Josh Kerr.

While the reigning Olympic champion recuperates from an Achilles injury, he engages in discussions with the Norwegian press, his absence paving the way for his rivals to shine. Seattle-based Scot Josh Kerr, making a spontaneous decision to compete at the World Indoors, delivered a thrilling performance on his home turf. Securing Great Britain’s sole track gold of the weekend, Kerr triumphed in the men’s 3000m amidst a roaring crowd. His victory came through a well-timed surge, overtaking Ethiopian Selemon Barega with a blistering final 200m clocked at 25.19 seconds. Despite a relatively modest winning time of 7:42.98, Kerr’s recent accomplishments, including a world-record two-mile run at the Millrose Games, attest to his formidable combination of strength and speed as he enters 2024. With his current form, contenders like Ingebrigtsen will face a formidable challenge in the Paris 1500m final.

Josh Kerr, WC gold medalist at 3,000 meters, with his manager, Ray Flynn, photo by Deji Ogeyingbo, March 2, 2024, Glasgow, Scotland

Surprise package

Alexandre Boom- You’ve got to be special if you can take down the great Karsten Warholm and stop the mighty United States men’s 4x400m team from winning Gold in their specialist event. Boom surely has made a mark for himself in two days as he carted home two Gold medals.

Karston Warholm, Alexander Doom, Rusheen McDonald, photo by Dan Vernon for World Athletics

At the mixed zone, he was visibly tired and didn’t seem like the kind of person who likes attention, but he would surely have to get used to it. At 26, Doom hasn’t achieved much outdoors, which will serve as a springboard to do bigger things.

Tears and heartbreak

It was a tragic turn of events for Spain’s Maria Vicente, and it underscores the harsh realities of competitive sports, where injuries can occur suddenly and derail even the best-laid plans. The pentathlon demands peak physical performance across multiple disciplines, and an Achilles tear is a devastating setback for any athlete.

However, Vicente’s resilience and determination to bounce back stronger are admirable qualities that speak to the spirit of many athletes who face adversity. Surgery and rehabilitation will undoubtedly be challenging, but with the right support and mindset, she no doubt will be back in full force. Her talent is just too good for her to go out on a whimper.

Stories like Vicente’s serve as powerful reminders of the unpredictability of fate and the fragility of athletic careers. For some, it’s a heartbreaking moment that ends their Olympic dreams, while for others, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate incredible resilience and determination in the face of adversity.

A filled-up Glasgow arena

Very rarely do you find top athletes turn up for the World Indoor Championships. Many see it as a tune-up event to get themselves in good shape, while others refuse to attend. Also, considering this is an Olympic year, it serves as the perfect excuse for them.

GLASGOW, UK—MAR 3: Image of Mondo DUPLANTIS at the World Athletics Indoor Championships on March 3, 2024, in GLASGOW, UK (Photo by Dan Vernon for World Athletics).

All of these excuses did not affect the turnout of fans at the Glasgow Arena. It was almost sold out on the first two days and filled to the brim on the third day. Maybe the star attraction of home stars like Josh Kerr and Laura Muir brought them on board, but you can’t deny that the Scottish people love athletics.

Noah Lyles turns up the style.

We are already getting used to the star appeal of multiple World Champion Noah Lyles. Before now, athletes have been used to just showing up and running, but Adidas and Noah Lyles have different ideas as they continue to change the preconception of how athletes should behave on race day.

Before his 60m semis and then final, Lyles showed up at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow in his green and white blouson jacket and white detailed pants. A series of cameras swarmed in to try and capture every pose and best shot of his flamboyant Adidas sneakers and denim Tear outfit. It was a beauty to behold, and it brought a different dimension to our sport.

Noah Lyles, 60 meter silver medalist, styling, photo by Deji Ogeyingbo, Glasgow, Scotland, March 1-3, 2024