Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen will be one of a host of Olympic gold medallists defending titles at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Istanbul ©Getty Images

Fanfares for the European Athletics Indoor Championships, due to start here tomorrow, are understandably muted given the horrendous loss of life caused by the recent earthquakes.

European Athletics has acknowledged that these Championships "will not be the same as others", adding: "We are all mourning with our Turkish friends, and we want to pay tribute to the lives lost and everyone affected by the earthquake, as well as show our appreciation to the Local Organising Committee…

"The usual celebratory side-events and activities will be at a minimum this year, and there will be no local promotion for the Championships.

"European Athletics will also donate €1 (£0.90/$1.05) for every ticket sold for the Istanbul 2023 European Athletics Indoor Championships since 7 February."

What can also be said of this Championship, which are due to concluded on Sunday (March 5), like no other is that the gathering of talent at least matches that of any previous edition.

Olympic champions such as Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Karsten Warholm, Marcell Jacobs, Miltiadis Tentoglou, Pedro Pichardo, Malaika Mihambo and Nafissatou Thiam are all eager to lay down a golden marker ahead of this summer’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

Ingebrigtsen, the Tokyo 2020 1500 metres champion, missed more than a month’s training this year due to a virus, but an impressive, if testing run-out at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Lievin last month, where he won in 3min 32.38sec, the fastest time this year, was enough to tell him he was fit enough to defend his 1500 and 3,000m titles in Turkey's biggest city.

Since then Britain’s Neil Gourley has broken the national indoor 1500m record in Birmingham, clocking 3:32.48 and he will be seeking to confound the 21-year-old Norwegian in the same way that his compatriot Jake Wightman did in winning the world title in Oregon last summer.

If Ingebrigtsen is going to be vulnerable it may be in the later 3,000m, where his lack of solid training may tell against him.

Do not bet on it, however.

Warholm, the 400m hurdles Olympic champion and world record holder, is sharpening up over the 400m flat as part of his plan to regain the world title this year.

Ingebrigtsen’s 26-year-old compatriot did well to make last year’s world final having recovered from a hamstring tear in his first race of the season, and followed up by retaining his European title in Munich.

Now he is back to full fitness and will be seeking to better the European record of 45.05sec - shared with East Germany’s Thomas Schoenlebe - that he set in winning the European indoor 400m title in Glasgow four years ago.

Jacobs, winner of a  surprise 100m title for Italy at Tokyo 2020, has not been in dynamic form so far this season but should have more than enough in hand to defend the title he won in Torun in 2021, effectively introducing himself to the world as a sprinter after a career primarily dedicated to the long jump.

Greece's Tentoglou has been almost as dominant a figure in the men’s long jump this season as Duplantis has been in the pole vault.

In Lievin, on the day he heard his 2023 world lead of 8.40 metres had been annulled because he had not been wearing regulation spikes, he got very angry and then got very busy, winning in…8.41m.

Tentoglou subsequently put up the spikes that had been ruled illegal up for auction with all proceeds going to the Turkish earthquake rescue cause.

Femke Bol of The Netherlands will defend her European indoor 400m title in Istanbul having just beaten the world indoor record - the oldest in the books ©Getty Images
Femke Bol of The Netherlands will defend her European indoor 400m title in Istanbul having just beaten the world indoor record - the oldest in the books ©Getty Images

Pichardo, the Olympic, world and European men’s triple jump champion representing Portugal, has only competed once this year, recording 17.12m, and a repeat of that would most likely allow him to defend his title successfully.

Mihambo, Germany’s Olympic, world and European women’s long jump champion, could face a tougher time than Pichardo as her opponents include Serbia’s formidable indoor specialist Ivana Vuleta - nee Španović - who has won this title three times, recording a huge 7.24m in winning the first of them in her native Belgrade six years ago.

Thiam, Belgium’s double Olympic heptathlon champion, admitted she is curious to see where she stands after months of hard training and will seek a third pentathlon title, although that will be no foregone conclusion given the presence of her compatriot Noor Vidts, winner of the world indoor title in her absence last year, breaking her Belgian record.

Like Thiam, Kevin Mayer, France’s double world champion and decathlon world record holder, will be seeking a third European indoor title in the men’s heptathlon.

Femke Bol of The Netherlands, who broke the oldest track world record with a 400m time of 49.26 that eclipsed the 49.59 set by Czech runner Jarmila Kratochvilova in 1982, will be pushing the envelope once again in defence of her title.

Like Warholm, the 22-year-old is sharpening for the 400m hurdles, in which she won world silver last year in Oregon while being an effective spectator as home athlete Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone improved her own world record to a stunning 50.68.

Bol is also working on her hurdling technique, seeking to lessen her strides between the hurdles from 15 to 14 for as long as is feasible in an attempt to get closer to her American rival - but her speed is improving too…

Britain’s 800m runner Keely Hodgkinson is another top talent seeking to catch up with an American who beat her to the world title last year - and the Olympic title the year before - in the form of 20-year-old contemporary Athing Mu.

Hodgkinson lowered her British indoor record to 1:57.18 in Birmingham and was manifestly disappointed not go have gone faster - a measure of her continuing ambition.