We heard that Shara Proctor, who just set the UK record of 6.95m for the long jump, was pulled out of the Europeans by Uk Athletics as a precautionary measure. She had a hamstring cramp, and should be ready for her upcoming Olympic adventures.
EUROPE ASSEMBLED IN A MIXTURE OF WORLD CHAMPIONS AND NEW EMERGING NAMES
HELSINKI (FIN): The 21st European Championships in Helsinki will be the first held in two years rhythm. With 42 events (21 each for men and women) in five days without walking and marathon. From the last edition in Barcelona 6 men (Lemaitre, Farah, Mekhissi, Lavillenie, Charfreitag, Thorkildsen) and 9 women (Sailer, Soumare, N. Fernandez, Yanit, Radevica, Saladukha, Perkovic, Heidler, Stahl) will try to defend their titles. From current European list leaders 2012 10 men and 8 women will compete. Special duels will be Mohr vs. Lavillenie in pole vault, Perkovic with Muller in discus and Heidler with Wlodarczyk in hammer. But most probably biggest interest in men javelin where nearly everybody is competing (except of injured World Champ De Zordo). In running events Lemaitre, Farah, Mekhissi-Benabbad are the top names. New generation will be represented by newcomers like Maslak, Shubenkov, Greco, Vicaut, Grabarz or Talay with Maracheva, Proctor and Davydova. Good chances to break championships records in men´s 100 m, discus and high jump and women hammer. In 2010 Russia was the best country in medals and points ahead of France and Great Britain. In total 8 meet records. 3 world leads and 12 European leads were set. Best agent on gold medals was Russian Pavel Voronkov. Only succesfull title defenders were Thorkildsen and French walker Diniz and in approximate summary 220 000 spectators followed the event. This time special veterans will be Merlene Ottey, Christine Arron and Dragutin Topic.
EVENT BY EVENT PREVIEW
100 m: Lemaitre for title as in Barcelona, behind him young team-mate Vicaut, Ndure in his first track race in Europe could be also a factor. Meet record 9.99 could go.
200 m: Martina vs. Ndure with Jonathan Borlee waiting behind.
400 m: Maslak against Brits (Buck and Lennon-Ford), not to forget new generation Fonsat, Wiaderek, Deak Nagy.
800 m: Very open here Brits, Spanish runners, Lathouwers, Bube, Holusa and on the other end the most experienced Borzakovskiy.
1500 m: Spanish trio for medals as in Barcelona, but now we have also Turkish Ozbilen.
5000 m: Farah should be unbeatable.
10 000 m: European Cup winner Polat Kemboi with Italian Meucci and Spanish Lamdassem.
Steeple: World medalist Mekhissi-Benabbad looks like a clear choice. The rest will fight for other medals.
110 mH: New generation Shubenkov, Darien, Abate against more experienced hurdlers like Doucoure and Noga.
400mH: New guard (anybody from Brits, Melnykov etc) and former top medalists Plawgo and Iakovakis.
HJ: Ioannou with world medal and Baba with olympic medal are having the big experience. Special to see Euro Winner 1990 Topic. But Grabarz is second best in the world this year.
PV: One of the top fights of the Championships: Lavillenie vs. Mohr. Both in top shape.
LJ: Double European indoor champion Bayer vs big list of new names.
TJ: El-Sheryf has the potential, but Italians long jumps this year (Greco, Donati).
SP: World Champ Storl should add another gold into his collection.
DT: Robert Harting is unbeaten since August 8, 2010, the streak should continue also here. And on top he can improve the meet record 68.87.
HT: Pars looks best on the paper, title defender Charfreitag is not in expected shape.
JT: Vesely is the world leader, Thorkildsen title defender, Pyatnytsa unbeaten 2012 (but competed only home) and Finland always has something to say. And what about Vasilevskis and Avan. Very deep field.
Dec: Behrenbruch to continue in German tradition, Kasyanov is ready and Sebrle wants to attack the olympic A-standard 8200.
4x100 m: France with Lemaitre, strong exchanges by Italians and Germans. What about Brits (with Chambers)?
4x400 m: Britain looks best, Poland with big tradition, but Belgium with Borlee twins will also be a factor.
100 m: Title defender Sailer against Povkh and Okparaebo. Interesting to see veterans Arron and Nesterenko, Lalova will attack from behind.
200 m: Also here we have title defender Soumare, strong Ukrainians and improved multi-talent Schippers of Netherlands.
400 m: For gold Grenot vs Zadorina.
800 m: Russian school represented by Maracheva and U23 Champ Arzhakova, not to forget Ukrainians, Arzmasava and Klocova. And Meadows with Sharp and Simpson.
1500 m: Mishchenko for gold? What about top Turkish guns (Cakir, Bulut), Russian second wave (Gorbunova, Khaleyeva), will depend on how fast will be the final.
5000 m: Moreira in case will run tactically well should get it. Clitheroe and Twell on British side.
10 000 m: Another gold for Portugal (Felix), or Irish CC Champ (Britton), Jo Pavey or German Mockenhaupt.
Steeple: 2009 World champ Dominguez in big return, but Turkish Mingir is in top shape.
100mH: Belarus world indoor medalist Talay looks to be the bet. Or surprise from Caravellli, recently improved Zagre and French girls.
400mH: Russian world leader Davydova against Czechs Hejnova and Rosolova.
HJ: Friedrich needs olympic qualifier, Gordeyeva prepared specially for Helsinki, experience on side of Veneva and Beitia and new generation Angelsen with Kholosha.
PV: Spiegelburg looks clear, Ptacnikova if healthy could mix the cards.
LJ: Title defender Radevica is jumping, but Proctor with latest national record has the top shape. French Leuseur jumped well during the season.
TJ: World champion Saladukha, olympic winner Mbango, Belarus record holder Detsyuk, strong Greek trio.
SP: Kleinert against Russians.
DT: World medalist Muller against title defender Perkovic, one of the top throwing highlights.
HT: Another top clash, 2009 World Champion Wlodarczyk against world record holder Heidler (she is also title defender and unbeaten this year). New meet record (76.67) is a good possibility.
JT: Here all set for Obergfoll, also in the field title defender Stahl with Sayers and Rebryk.
Hep: Ukraine vs. Russia. Yosypenko, Melnychenko vs. Bolshova, Panteleyeva. Strong (6200-6300) group waiting behind.
4x100 m: Ukraine vs. France, Slovenia has super vet Ottey.
4x400 m: Will be Brit girls (with Ohuruogu) ready to challenge Russians?