UKA’s outgoing performance director Peter Eriksson has sights set on a second or third place finish at this weekend’s Euro Team Champs
There’s less than 24 hours to go to the European Team Championships and while the weather forecast for the two days of action is set to be a little unpredictable, one thing is certain and that’s that Gateshead will offer high-class and exciting action with a patriotic crowd cheering on the home team.
Speaking at a pre-event press conference, UKA’s outgoing performance director Peter Eriksson explained that a second or third place finish for the British team is the aim.
“We’ve studied every event and although predictions are always difficult with unexpected happenings, a second or third place is the goal,” he said.
“This is the first time a GB team has been at ‘home’ since the 2012 Olympic Games and although we’ve had a few injuries, expectations are still high.”
Eriksson added: “Everyone is in good shape and it’s time to get the momentum of 2012 going again.” When asked about the vulnerability of the relay squads he said: “I’m praying! I’m also not worried, Lloyd Cowan has been working with them in Loughborough and he’s been setting them up well.”
On the subject of weather, GB’s leading female hammer thrower Sophie Hitchon admitted the conditions will play a big part this weekend and she’s hoping for a dry and still forecast. “I’m looking forward to the event and also hoping the conditions are okay,” she said.
“We hammer throwers don’t like a headwind as it can push you backwards in the circle – it affects women more than the men due to the weight of the implement,” she explained.
“If it’s wet, it depends on the quickness of the circle and it can be slippery and I may have to change shoes. I’m hoping for at least 69-70m or further! I threw 71.98m in London last year which was 2cm short of the ‘A’ standard for Moscow.”
Ready to take whatever is thrown at her is world silver medallist Hannah England, who commented: “I’m ready for any scenario – fast, slow or whatever!
“I’ve had three races so far that have been flat-out, even-paced and a sit-and-kick. I love the camaraderie of this team competition – you run your event and then join your team-mates and cheer everyone on.”
» The action kicks off with the pole vault on Saturday June 22 with the competition televised on BBC One on Saturday and BBC Two on Sunday. Want to know what else to expect? We’ve shared our event-by-event points predictions in our in-depth preview. Why not take a look here?