International indoor athletics returns to Stockholm on 4 February when the Sparet 100 GP takes place in the Sätra Sports Hall in the suburbs of the Swedish capital.
The event is part of the 2019 Folksam Grand Prix series and it is the first time an event in the series has been held indoors. The event is also a European Athletics Indoor Permit Meeting and will be headlined by last year’s European 800m silver medallist Andreas Kramer who will be there to race his specialist distance.
In 2017, Kramer broke the national outdoor 800m record at the Folksam GP meeting in Karlstad with 1:45.13. He improved the record to 1:45.03 at the same meeting twelve months later before equalling that mark to win silver at the European Championships in Berlin.
His goals for this year’s indoor season are clear: the Swedish indoor record and a medal at the Glasgow 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships.
“I’ve been in South Africa for a few weeks and training has gone perfectly. I ran a 400m race in Norway last weekend which gave me the confirmation I was looking for. I’m not exactly a rocket out of the blocks but once I was underway, it was fast,” said Kramer who will run his first 800m of the season at the weekend at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Karlsruhe.
“It will be two 800m races in just a couple of days, but I think it’s good preparation for Glasgow where I’m obviously aiming for as good a race as in Berlin last year. I broke the Swedish record last summer and even if the Swedish indoor record is tough [1:45.91 by Martin Enholm], I know that it’s within reach. If I can just get a good race, it could be broken on Monday in Sätra.”
The strongest opposition on Monday will come from Australians Peter Bol who won the 800m at the Stockholm Diamond League meeting last year in a lifetime best of 1:44.56, and Joseph Deng who holds the Australian record of 1:44.21.
The Sparet 100 GP commemorates athletics club Sparvagen FK’s 100-year jubilee which is being celebrated throughout 2019. The meeting will be broadcast live on Sweden’s TV12, starting at 7:00pm local time.
The start-list features many of Sweden’s biggest names in athletics including Angelica Bengtsson, Michel Torneus, Khaddi Sagnia and Fabian Delryd. Another standout event on the programme is the 400m featuring Poland's European 400m champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic against European fourth-placer Laviai Nielsen from Great Britain.