The biggest and most important track and field meet this week is the European Athletics Championships in Munich. The event starts on Monday, August 15, and will run through Sunday, August 21. A number of Olympic and World champions will line up at the Munich Olympic Stadium.
Women's 100m and 200m:
Dina Asher Smith won the 100 and the 200 metres and anchored Great Britain to gold medal in the 4x100 relay at the European Championships in Berlin in 2018. The British sprint star will make her attempt to repeat the same achievement in Munich. At last month’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene Asher Smith placed fourth in the 100 metres equalling her PB with 10.83 and won the bronze medal in the 200 metres in 22.02.
Asher Smith pulled a harmstring on the third leg in the 4x100 relay at the World Championships in Eugene and decided to skip the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as a precaution, but she is now fit for the European Championships in Munich where she starts as the favourite.
Asher Smith’s compatriot Darriyl Neita clocked 10.97 in the 100m semifinal at the World Championships missing out on a place in the final by just 0.01 and won the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 11.07 after improving her lifetime best to 10.90 in the semifinal. Neita is also entered in the 200 metres, where she has the seventh fastest time among the entrants.
Mujinga Kambundji won the world indoor gold medal in the 60 metres setting the Swiss record and the fourth fastest time in history with 6.96 and reached both the 100 and 200 metres finals at the World Championships in Eugene. The Swiss sprinter finished fifth in 10.91 in the 100m and broke the 200m national record in the semifinal with 22.05 before finishing eighth in the final in 22.55.
Gina Luckenkemper carries the German hopes for a medal four years after winning the silver medal behind Asher Smith in Berlin. Luckenkemper set her seasonal best breaking the 11 seconds barrier with 10.99 at the German Championships in Berlin and clocked 11”08 in the semifinal of the World Championships.
Asher Smith leads the entry list in the 200 metres with her seasonal best of 21.96 ahead of Kambundj (22.05). The other candidates for a spot in the final are Corinna Schwab from Germany (22.51), European under 20 100m and 200m champion Rhasidat Adeleke from Ireland (22.59), Ida Karstoff from Denmark (22.67), Lieke Klaver (22.71) and Darriyl Neita (22.81).
Femke Bol (women’s 400 metres and 400 metres hurdles):
European 400m hurdles record holder Femke Bol from the Netherlands will make the attempt to win two gold medals in the women’s 400 metres and in the 400 metres hurdles.
Bol won the world silver medal in the 400 metres hurdles in a European leading time of 52.27 behind world record holder Sydney McLaughlin. Last year the Dutchwoman won the Olympic bronze medal setting the European record with 52.03.
Anna Ryzhykova from thye Ukraine finished fifth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and was the only other European hurdler to reach the World Championships in Eugene in 54.93. The other top medal medal contender is Ryzhykova’s compatriot Viktoriya Tkachuk, who finished sixth at the Olympic Games and set a seasonal best of 54.24 in the semifinal of the World Championships. Tkachuk clocked 54.27 in the Monaco Diamond League meeting last Wednesday to beat Ryzhykova.
The other top candidates for a spot in the final are Italy’s Ayomide Folorunso, who improved the national record to 54.34 in the semifinal of the World Championships and ran her leg in 50.77 in the 4x400 relay, Sara Gallego from Spain, who won the European Under 20 silver medal and improved the national record to 54.49 in the semifinal of the World Championships in Eugene, Line Kloster from Norway, who improved the national record to 53.91 in La Chaux de Fonds last July and Jessie Knight, who set her PB of 54.09 in Oordegem and finished fifth at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Bol also leads the European list in the 400 metres with her national record of 49.75 set at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Chorzow. The 22-year Dutch athlete won the European Indoor title in the 400 metres in Torun 2021 and the world indoor silver medal in Belgrade last March.
Bol will face her compatriot Lieke Klaver, who finished fourth in the World Championships final in Eugene in 50.33 after improving the national record to 50.24 in the heats and 50.18 in the semifinal.
Natalia Kaczmarek from Poland is ranked second in the European seasonal list with her PB of 49.86 set in the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Chorzow and is the only 400m European sprinter other than Bol to have broken the 50 seconds barrier. She has become the second Polish athlete in history after legend Irena Szewinska to dip under 50 seconds.
Kazmarek’s compatriot Anna Kielbasinska finished eighth in the World Championships final in 50.81. Kielbasinska trains with Bol and Klaver under the guidance of Swiss coach Laurent Meuwly.
Cindy Sember (100 metres hurdles):
Cindy Sember from Great Britain will be aiming to win the European gold in the women’s 100 metres hurdles after claiming the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 12.59. Sember broke her elder sister Tiffany Porter’s British record in the semifinals at the World Championships in Eugene with 12.50. Porter, who has now retired from athletics, won the European gold medal in Zurich 2014.
Pia Skrzyszowska broke the European Under 23 record held by Anneliese Erhardt with a PB of 12.51 at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Chorzow on 6 August.
Nadine Visser from the Netherlands aims at winning her first European outdoor medal after claiming two consecutive European Indoor titles in the 60 metres hurdles in Glasgow 2019 and Torun 2021. Visser set her national 100m hurdles record of 12.51 in Zurich last year.
The other major contenders are Cyrena Samba from France, world indoor champion in the 60 metres hurdles in Belgrade in 7.78, and Ditaji Kambundji from Switzerland, European Under 20 champion in Tallin 2021 and semifinalist at the World Championships in 12.70.
Keely Hodgkinson (women’s 800 metres):
Keely Hodgkinson will be aiming to win her first gold medal in the women’s 800 metres this summer after finishing second to US Athing Mu by just 0.08 in 1:56.38 in a very close sprint at the World Championships in Eugene and to Kenya’s Mary Moraa in 1:57.40 at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Hodgkinson made a major breakthrough in March 2021 when she won the gold medal at the European Indoor Championships in Torun at the age of 19. Later last year the British 20-year-old middle distance runner won the Olympic silver medal in 1:55.88 improving the long-standing British record held by Kelly Holmes.
Hodgkinson is coached by Trevor Painter, the husband of Jennifer Meadows, who won the European silver medal in the 800 metres in Barcelona 2010. Hodgkinson has the chance to become the third British 800m middle distance runner to win a European gold medal following in the footsteps of Lillian Board in Athens 1982 and Lynsey Sharpe in Helsinki 2012.
Hodgkinson will face her compatriot Jemma Reekie, who finished fourth in the Olympic final in her lifetime best of 1:56.90 in Tokyo. Reekie struggled with form due to a glandular fever and finished fifth in the 1500 metres at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Reekie returned to her best form by finishing fourth in the Monaco Diamond League meeting in 1:58.68 last Wednesday.
The line-up features three athletes, who have broken the 1:59 barrier this year: Anita Horvat from Slovenia, who finished seventh in the World Championships final in 1:59.83 and set her PB with 1:58.96 in Chorzow, Renelle Lamote from France, two-time European silver medallist in 2016 and 2018, Elena Bellò, who improved her PB to 1:58.97 in Rome and equalled this time in Chorzow.
The other athletes to watch are 18-year Swiss rising star Audrey Werro, who won the world under 20 silver medal in Cali in her PB of 1:59.53, Lore Hoffmann, who narrowly missed out on a spot in the Olympic final in Tokyo, Nataliya Krol and Olha Lyakhova, who finished first and third at the European Championships in Berlin 2018.
Laura Muir (women’s 1500 metres):
Laura Muir will defend her 1500m European title she won four years ago in Berlin. The Scottish middle-distance runner won the Olympic silver medal in her lifetime best of 3:54.60 in Tokyo las year. She will chase her fourth international medal this summer after winning the world bronze medal in the 1500m in Eugene in 3:55.28, the gold medal in the 1500m in 4:02.75 and bronze medal in the 800m in 1:57.87 at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Malaika Mihambo (women’s long jump):
Malaika Mihambo started her Grand Slam of major international titles four years ago at the European Championships in Berlin with 6.75m. One year later Mihambo won the first world title of her first career in Doha in 2019 with 7.30m, setting her PB and the second best performance in history by a German long jumper behind Heike Drechsler. Mihambo completed her set of international medals by winning the Olympic gold in Tokyo with a jump of 7.00m in the sixth round.
This summer Mihambo won her second consecutive world gold medal in Eugene with 7.12.
Unfortunately Mihambo caught coronavirus after returning home from Eugene.
Malaika Mihambo: “I got infected with coronavirus after the World Championships. It was a mild course, but I felt tired and listless and didn’t train for ten days. Unfortunately, the quarantine and the symptoms made optimal preparation for the competition impossible. I was in great shape and wanted to show at the European Championshios that I can jump even further this year than in Eugene. Despite the forced break and the lack of training, I will try to get to the start and do my best, knowing full well that I probably won’s be able to match Eugene’s level of performance”.
Mihambo will renew her rivalry against her Serbian rival Ivana Vuleta, who will be aiming to win her third European outdoor medal. Vuleta claimed silver in Zurich 2014 and a gold in Amsterdam 2016. Her collection of international medals includes three European indoor gold medals in Prague 2015, Belgrade 2017 with her national record of 7.24m and Glasgow 2019, two world indoor gold medals in Birmingham 2018 and Belgrade 2022.
The other top medal contenders are Maryna Beck Romanchuk from the Ukraine and Khaddi Sagnia, who won silver and bronze medal at the European Indoor Championships In Torun. Sagnia won her first Diamond League competition in Eugene improving her PB to 6.95m.
Maryna Beck Romanchuk (triple jump):
Beck Romanchuk won the European indoor gold medal in the long jump and the world indoor silver in the triple jump and is a serious medal contender in both disciplines. The Ukrainian Jumper improved her PB to 14.74m at the World Indoor Championships in the triple jump in Belgrade and set her outdoor seasonal best of 14.59m in the Monaco Diamond League on 10 August. She has been training in Brescia in Northern Italy after being forced to leave Ukraine due to the Russian invasion.
Portugal’s Patricia Mamona will be seeking her second European title six years after her first triumph in Amsterdam. Mamona also won the Olympic silver medal with a national record of 15.01m behind Yulimar Rojas in Tokyo.
Yaroslava Mahuchik (high jump):
Yaroslava Mahuchik won the world indoor gold medal with 2.02m in Belgrade. The 20-year.old Ukrainian jumper was forced to flee her home city of Dniproptrovsk after the Russian invasion in Ukraine and her win was a message of hope in a difficult period for her country. Mahuchik won her second consecutive world outdoor silver medal in Eugene with 2.02m. She will be seeking her first European outdoor senior gold medal after claiming continental titles at under 18, under 20, under 23 and indoor level.
Mahuchik will take on Elena Vallortigara from Italy, who made her come-back by winning the world bronze medal in Eugene with a seasonal best of 2.00m.
Iryna Geraschenko from the Ukraine finished fourth with 2.00m on countback at the World Championships and is a serious medal contender.
The other athletes who could fight for top positions are 2017 world silver medallist Yulia Levchenko from Ukraine, Maryia Vukovic from Montenegro, who cleared 1.97m last year, Angelina Topic, who cleared 1.96m ths year and won the European Under 18 gold medal in Jerusalem, and Karmen Bruus from Estonia, who finished seventh at the World Championships in Eugene and won the world under 20 gold medal in Cali.
Ekatrini Stefanidi (Pole vault):
Ekaterini Stefanidi will aim at winning her European outdoor medal in the women’s pole vault. The Greek athlete won gold medals at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016, at the World Championships in London 2017 with her PB of 4.91 and at the European Championships in Berlin 2018. Stefanidi finished fifth at the World Championships in Eugene. Stefanidi will take on Slovenia’s Tina Sutej, who won the world indoor bronze medal in Belgrade with 4.75m and placed fourth at the World Championships in Eugene with 4.70m. Sutej set a national indoor record of 4.80m in Rouen and 4.72m.
The other top contenders are Italian record holder Roberta Bruni, who cleared 4.71m this year and finished second in the Rome Diamond League with 4.60m, Angelica Moser from Switzerland, European indoor champion in 2021, Margot Chevrier from France and Lene Retzius from Norway, who both cleared 4.70m this season.
Sandra Perkovic (women’s discus throw):
Double Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic will chase her sixth consecutive European gold medal in the women’s discus throw. The Croatian star won the world silver medal with a seasonal best of 68.45m becoming the first discus thrower to win five world medals.
With a sixth European gold medal in Munich Perkovic would equal the record of East German sprinter Marita Koch, who won six European Championships gold medals (three in the 400 metres and three in the 4x400 relay between Prague 1978 and Stuttgart 1986).
Perkovic won five consecutive European gold medals in Barcelona 2010, Helsinki 2012, Zurich 2014, Amsterdam 2016 and Berlin 2018, two world titles in Moscow 2013 and London 2017 and two Olympic titles in London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016. She set her national record of 71.41m in Bellinzona in 2017.
Perkovic will take on Jorinde Van Klinken from the Netherlands, who threw 70.22m last year becoming the second European thrower to throw beyond the 70 metres barrier since 2000. Van Klinken finished fourth at the World Championships in Eugene with 64.97m.
The hopes of German fans are carried by Kristin Pudenz from Germany, who won the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo with her previous PB of 66.86m. Pudenz set the second best European performance of the season with her PB of 67.10m at the German Championships in Berlin. The strong German contingent also features Shanice Craft, who won the European bronze medal in Berlin 2018, and Claudine Vita, who placed fifth at the World Championships in Eugene.
Melina Robert Michon will make her seventh appearance at the European Championships. The 43-year-old French thrower won three silver medals at the World Championships in Moscow 2013, at the European Championships in Zurich 2014 and at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 with her PB of 66.73m. She set a seasonal best of 62.61m.
Sara Fantini and Malwina Kopron (women’s hammer throw):
Italy’s Sara Fantini was the best European hammer thrower in the World Championships final in Eugene, where she finished fourth with 73.18m. Fantini, the daughter of 1996 Olympic shot put finalist Corrado Fantini and former combined event and javelin throw specialists Paola Iemmi, improved the national record four times this year and leads the European seasonal list with her PB of 75.77m set in Madrid.
In the absence of world record holder and four-time European champion Anita Wlodarczyk, the hopes of the Polish fans are carried by Malwina Kopron, who won two bronze medals at the World Championships in London 2017 and at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021. Kopron will be looking to bounce back from the disappointment at the World Championships, where she did not get through to the final. The Pole won a European Under 23 bronze medal in 2015 but she has not won a medal at the European senior Championships. She finished sixth in Amsterdam 2016 and fourth in Berlin 2018.
Alexandra Tavernier from France will chase her third international medal after winning world bronze in Beijing 2015 and European silver in Berlin 2018. Tavernier has a PB of 75.38m and a seasonal best of 71.97m.
The other athletes to watch out are Krista Tervo from Finland, who improved the national record to 74.40m, Katrine Koch Jacobsen, who improved her PB from 71.09m to 74.09 this year, Hanna Skydan from Azerbaijan (73.23m), former world and European Under 20 champion Bianca Ghelber from Romania (73.15m) and Moldova’s Zalina Marghieva (72.62m).
Barbora Spotakova (women’s javelin throw):
Barbora Spotakova is seeking her fourth European medal at the age of 41. The Czech javelin thrower has completed a full set of European medals that includes gold in Zurich 2014, silver in Goteborg 2006 and bronze in Barcelona 2010. She has won titles at all major championships, including gold medals at the World Championships in London 2017 and two Olympic gold medals in Beijing 2008 and London 2012 and set the world record if 72.28m in Stuttgart in 2008.
Nafissatou Thiam and Anouk Vetter (women’s heptathlon):
Belgian heptathlon star Nafissatou Thiam is aiming to complete the full set of titles at major Championships for the second time in her career.
After winning her second Olympic gold medal in Tokyo last year, Thiam successfully defended her world outdoor title in Eugene last July with a world leading score of 6947 points. Thiam is now chasing her second consecutive European gold medal in Munich.
Thiam has lost just one combined events competition since she won her first Olympic heptathlon title in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. She was beaten only by Katarina Johnson Thompson at the World Championships in Doha 2019.
Thiam set the second best performance in her career in Eugene after a close battle against Dutch heptathlete Anouk Vetter, who won the silver medal with a national record of 6867 points. Vetter set the second best non-winning score in heptathlon history. Sabine John won silver medal with 6897 points behind Jackie Joyner Kersee at the Olympic Games in Seoul 1988.
The championship record of 6823 points held by Jessica Ennis Hill since Barcelona 2010 could be under threat.
The heptathlon is shaping up as one of the highlights of the European Championships in Munich. Six of the top seven of the World Championships in Eugene are set to compete at the Munich Olympic Stadium.
Another top medal contender is Adrianna Sulek, who won the world indoor silver medal in Belgrade and finished fourth at the World Championships in Eugene with a national record of 6672 points.
World indoor champion Noor Vidts and last year’s Olympic bronze medallist Emma Oosterwegel could fight for a medal after finishing fifth and seventh at the World Championships in Eugene.
The new generation will be represented by Maria Vicente from Spain, who won the European Under 20 gold medal in Boras 2019 and two European titles in heptathlon and triple jump in the European Under 18 Championships in Gyor 2018, Annik Kaelin from Switzerland, who placed sixth at the World Championships in Eugene with a national record of 6464 points and won the Multistars in Grosseto with 6398 points, and Saga Vanninen, who won two consecutive World Under 20 gold medals in Nairobi 2021 and Cali 2022 and the European Under 20 title in Tallin 2021.
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