Europe’s leading U23s ready for action

AW takes a look ahead to the European Under-23 Champs in Tampere where Adam Gemili and Katarina Johnson-Thompson are among the Brits in action

Adam Gemili (Jean-Pierre Durand)

Many top athletes will be seeking their first international medals at the European Athletics Under-23 Championships in Tampere from July 11-14, as well as trying to attract the eyes of the selectors for Moscow.

British interest includes the likes of London 2012 Olympians Adam Gemili (pictured), Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Sophie Hitchon and you can find the full GB team here.

It is the ninth edition of these championships, which were first held in 1997, and whose previous winners include the likes of Swedish heptathlon star Carolina Kluft, 2004 Olympic 800m champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy and world 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene.

A total of 997 athletes from 45 European Athletics Member Federation countries are set to compete. Here we take a look at what’s in store over four days of competition in Finland.

Sprints

One athlete who will be looking to do the double in the sprints is Brit Adam Gemili who will have gold medal hopes in the 100m and 200m as well as forming part of the GB 4x100m relay squad alongside David Bolarinwa, Samuel Osewa, Danny Talbot, Deji Tobais and Dannish Walker-Khan. However, the European junior silver medallist will face tough competition from France’s Jimmy Vicaut who may be favourite for the shorter sprint. European indoor and outdoor 400m champion Pavel Maslak has decided to concentrate on the 200m while over 400m Russia’s Lev Mosin looks to be the one to watch thanks to his 45.91 PB set earlier this year.

European indoor bronze medallist Pascal Martinot-Lagarde of France looks set to dominate over the barriers in the shorter distance as he recently clocked a 13.12 PB, while Serbia’s Emir Bekric is the only athlete to have broken 49 seconds this season in the one-lap event but will face the likes of Britain’s defending champion Jack Green and his compatriots Niall Flannery and Seb Rodger.

Jodie Williams joins her compatriot Gemili in his sprint double aim as the double European junior champion from 2011 also goes in both the 100m and 200m. However it is Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands, European heptathlon junior champion in 2011, who has clocked the fastest times over both distances so far this season.

Double European junior silver medallist Isabelle Pedersen of Norway goes in as favourite for the 100m hurdles and European and world junior 400m hurdles champion Vera Rudakova of Russia is the favourite over the longer distance.

Distance

Britain’s Charlie Grice is in 1500m action in Tampere and will face the likes of European champion over the distance Henrik Ingebrigtsen of Norway. Fellow Brits Luke Caldwell and Tom Farrell will have eyes on medals in the 5000m as they lead the 2013 under-23 rankings, while Ukraine’s Dmytro Siruk and Russia’s Igor Maksimov are among the athletes to contest the 10,000m.

Fresh from taking over two seconds off her PB to run a World Championship ‘B’ standard of 2:00.86 over 800m in Belgium, national under-23 champion Laura Muir steps up to the 1500m and will face the likes of Germany’s Corinna Harrer and Russia’s Anna Shchagina.

Brits Kate Avery and Beth Potter could push for podium places in the 5000m while Russia’s Gulshat Fazlitdinova looks to be the favourite over double the distance and European junior champion Gesa-Felicitas Krause of Germany will be the one to beat in the steeplechase.

Field

Renaud Lavillenie’s younger brother, Valentin, is in pole vault action, and will be looking to claim the European under-23 title as his older brother never did. Polish duo Robert Sobera and Piotr Lisek are sure to make themselves known, however, as will Russia’s Anton Ivakin, so it will not be an easy task.

Brits Chris Baker and Allan Smith take on the likes of Russia’s Danil Tsyplakov and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi in the high jump while a number of 8m-plus jumpers are in long jump action including Russia’s Sergei Morgunov, who claimed the European junior crown a couple of years ago, and Spain’s Eusebio Caceres.

Britain’s Zane Duquemin is another athlete looking to do the double, but this time out in the field as he contests both the discus and the shot competition. The javelin will see the likes of Thomas Röhler in action, the German having not gone below 80m so far this season.

Italy’s Alessia Trost impressed over the winter when she managed to clear 2m indoors and she will be looking for more of the same outdoors as she takes on a field including Briain’s Isobel Pooley. Fellow Brit Lorraine Ugen is one to watch in the long jump, following a recent PB of 6.77m, while in the triple jump Russians Yana Boradina and Viktoriya Dolgacheva have both cleared the 14m mark so far this season.

Germany’s Shanice Craft is another athlete to go in both the discus and shot competitions, with world junior champion Anna Rüh joining her in the discus. British senior record holder Sophie Hitchon is almost two metres clear at the top of the European under-23 women’s rankings and will enter the hammer competition as one of the strongest favourites as fellow Brit Izzy Jeffs contests the javelin.

Combined

British interest in the decathlon is in the form of Ashley Bryant and he will face the likes of Germany’s Kai Kazmirek and France’s Kevin Mayer, both 8300 points-plus performers so far this year.

Although she has not completed a full heptathlon yet this season, many eyes will be on Britain’s world junior long jump champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson for a medal. She will face the likes of German duo Kira Biesenbach and Karolin Schaefer.

» The European Athletics Under-23 Championships will be streamed live here. Click here for full entry lists and here for a timetable.

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