MUNICH (GER): The 25th edition of the European Championships in the legendary Munich Olympic Stadium will be symbolic. 50 years after Olympic Games, 20 years after European Championships, and after four years due to corona (Paris 2020 was canceled). Also, for the first time held in the same year as World Championships. For the fourth time in Germany. For the second time, Wild Cards used for defending champions; the new event will be a 35 km walk (replacing 50 km), in total 48 events (mixed relay comes in future to equal World Championships number). There should be a new participation record (Berlin had 1449) as 1540 names are in the final entries. Three countries are not competing, so the final number is 48 (Russia, Belarus, Liechtenstein). In total, 31 reigning individual champions from Berlin 2018 are competing, including Sandra Perkovic, who is targeting a record-breaking sixth successive title in the discus. In total, 13 individual winners from 2018 are missing, among them 4 men and 9 women. All 10 European gold medallists from the World Athletics Championships in Oregon are due to compete (8 men and 2 women). At least four athletes on the entry list competed when Munich hosted the 2002 edition of the European Athletics Championships. Those four are Czech Republic’s world javelin record-holder Barbora Spotakova, France’s 2016 Olympic discus silver medallist Melina Robert-Michon and Portuguese race walkers Joao Vieira and Ines Henriques. In Zurich, 14 top country was Britain (12-5-6), in Amsterdam 16 for the first time Poland (6-5-1) and in Berlin 18 again Britain (7-5-6).
Short event by event previews
100 m: Is Jacobs ready for sub 10? If yes, then him against British speedsters Hughes (defender) and Prescod. If weather cooperating CR (9.95) is possible.
200 m: A brighter group of candidates. Defender Guliyev, in-shape Hughes, motivated Tortu, youngster Afrifah. And other Brits.
400 m: Looks clear for MHS, the defender. Can he come close to ER (44.27) and CR (44.52)? Fighting for other medals is very open.
800 m: Dobek is an Olympic medalist, French strength (Robert, Tual), and Spanish force (de Arriba, Garcia, Ben) but this could also be a matter of surprise. Oh, we nearly forgot 1500 m World champ, Wightman.
1500 m: Jakob story part 2, it will be already after 5000 m. Same double like Berlin. Many contenders for other medals. Interesting to mention that Luxembourg has so far only one medal in the history of the championships.
5000 m: Jakob story part 1, here based on the splits also CR possible (13:10.15). Straight final.
10 000 m: No clear favorite. Of course, we can mention Scott, Gressier, Crippa, and Kimeli. Depends on how the pace will be; if slow could be anybody´s race. German Mohamed?
Mar: Best PB by Lamdassem followed by home hope Petros. But Naert is the title defender. Sub 2:07 also by Teferi and Tesfamariam. But we know PB are not that important in the championships marathon. CR is 2:09:51 nowadays only.
SC: Very open. Can Ruppert, Belhadj, and Raitanen spoil the Italian-Spanish dominance?
110mH: New generation Martinez and Zhoya with Joseph over experienced hurdlers Pozzi, Trajkovic, PML, Czykier.
400mH: Warholm determined, but Happio is best on paper this year. Bronze open.
HJ: Tamberi is not on the top of his game but trying. Protsenko medal from Eugene, but recent marks not impressive, Przybylko title defender. Former champ Bondarenko returns. We feel a surprise winner.
PV: Mondo in his own field, setting sights at his CR 605. Behind him was the battle for silver and bronze. Good group of candidates. 12 this year over 580 indoor or outdoor.
LJ: Olympic winner Tentoglou to defend. Then Montler’s obvious choice, Caceres, always has enough experience. Juska is recently in shape.
TJ: Who can beat World and Olympic gold medalist Pichardo? Italians and French jumpers for other medals.
SP: Stanek in shape, Mihaljevic was in good preparation, and Sinancevic also ready. What will be the shape of Polish stars?
DT: Top five from Eugene here. But Ceh looks like a consistent 70+, Lithuanian duo, Swedish duo. One of the highlights. CR is 68.87.
HT: Polish affair, Nowicki or Fajdek? We wrote the same before Berlin. Bronze wide open. Halasz, Bigot, Henriksen, Kokhan.
JT: Vadlejch against home Weber. What is the shape of Hofmann and mainly defender Rohler?
Dec: Mayer, even when World champion, will not have it easy against Hammer and motivated Kaul. Not to forget the Estonian trio.
20kmw: Karlstrom and Spanish team, but Olympic winner and World champion Stano is still the main favorite.
35kmw: Debut of this distance. Linke at home, Karlstrom for double and against a strong Spanish team.
4×100 m: Who can attack the Brits? They won bronze in Eugene. For sure, Italy, the Olympic winners. Maybe also the home team or France. For CR (37.79).
4×400 m: Belgium going for 3rd gold in a row, but the dark horse is the Netherlands. France, Czech, and Poland also to mention. Oh yes, Britain too.
100 m: Here is the question. If Dina is fully ready after Eugene (passed CG), can Kambundji or Neita beat her? Luckenkemper and Swoboda coming from behind.
200 m: Here, it looks even more clearer Dina vs Mujinga. Open for bronze.
400 m: Bol against Polish angels. But Klaver is also in top shape.
800 m: Hodkingson and the rest. Big fight for the other medals.
1500 m: Like 800 m, Muir and the rest. Big fight for the other medals.
5000 m: McColgan with CG appetite, Klosterhalfen at home, Grovdal by time. No Hassan. But this will be after 10 000 m. CR possible (14:46.12)
10 000 m: First part of McColgan, Klosterhalfen, Grovdal. Here Chemtai trying to defend.
Mar: Brinkman is this year’s fastest German team ready, somebody, for example, like Schlumpf to surprise. CR 2:25:14 to go.
SC: Bird is the fastest, Gega consistent, Mismas also there. Albania never won gold at Euro Champs. CR 9:17.57 should go.
100H: Skrzyszowska is in the top current shape, Sember to be also included, Visser great competitor. No one from former medalists competing.
400H: Bol for CR (52.92). Behind her Ukrainian duo, but also a solid group of other sub-55 contenders.
HJ: Positions 2-4 from Eugene are the favorites: Mahuchikh, Vallortigara, Herashchenko. But youngsters coming (Bruus, Topic, Weerman). Only two former medalists competing (Demireva, Jungfleisch).
PV: Stefanidi, the champion is the favorite going for 4th gold in a row. Sutej leads the opponents, Moser getting into shape.
LJ: High-level expectations from Mihambo, despite her health issues. Vuleta, Sagnia, Bekh-Romanchuk to attack. And Sawyers with Gardasevic to be mentioned too.
TJ: Mamona is an Olympic medalist and was the best European in Eugene, 2nd best there, Makela. But let’s be ready for Bekh-Romanchuk.
SP: Dongmo vs Schilder for gold, Roos for bronze.
DT: Perkovic is one of the big names of this championship. Going for sixth gold in a row. History in making. Germans for other medals.
HT: Fantini vs Kopron, new champion coming. Also Ghelber and Jacobsen. Tavernier is not in the shape of previous years.
JT: More than open. Farewell of Spotakova. Tzengko leads the lists. Vilagos is the young star. Surprise from Baltics?
Hep: Thiam, another of the World stars here competing. Also silver medalist from Eugene Vetter and fourth placer Sulek. Can they attack the champ’s record 6823?
20kmw: World medalist Zdzieblo is the obvious choice. Maria Perez is another favorite as title defender. After that soo open.
35kmw: After a 50 km debut in Berlin, here we are with a 35 km debut. Henriques is still here but not a top favorite. In the lists, Drisbioti and Gonzalez.
4×100 m: Britain or Germany? Switzerland and surprise Spain waiting behind.
4×400 m: This is something for Poland as title defenders. The Netherlands attacking. But better in Eugene were GBR, FRA, BEL, ITA, and SUI.