Perkovic for history, Ingebrigtsen for double, Duplantis for WR, Italian hopes for gold
ROME (ITA):  The 26th edition of European Championships in legendary Stadio Olimpico (Olympic Games 1960, Europeans in 1974, Worlds in 1987, Golden Gala editions, and much more) will be symbolic. 50 years after the edition of the European Championships, which were held on September 2-8, 1974, with 747 athletes from 28 countries. Now we have 48 countries and around 1500 athletes,  of course, in more events.  After 2012 and 2016, for a third time held in an Olympic Year earliest date ever. A new event is mixed 4×400 m. Also, for the first time, walks are part of the “Olympic year edition.” Title defenders competed in 17 male individual events and 14 female ones.  Sandra Perkovic is targeting the record 7th discus title in a row (and nobody ever won 7 gold medals at European Champs, even in several events). Jakob Ingebrigtsen third double after Berlin and Munich. Mondo Duplantis’s third win after Berlin and Munich, the same target by Miltiadis Tentoglou in the long jump and Karsten Warholm at 400 m hurdles, Wojciech Nowicki in the hammer, and Nafi Thiam in the heptathlon. Anita Wlodarczyk already has four titles but did not compete last time.  Italy hopes to achieve the best medal results in 1990 (5 gold, 2 silver, 5 bronze). For the first time, athletes will be awarded a performance bonus of 50,000 euros each for the best result in five event categories, men and women. Sprints and Hurdles, Distances, Jumps, Throws and Walks, Combined events and relays in one pot. In total, 34 broadcasters will show the event live.  The prospect of nice and warm weather and potentially no wind issues is great for athletes. Another hope is for a good number of spectators.

Short event-by-event previews

Men

100 m: Is Jacobs ready for sub 10 and so defend the title without injuring Azu? Who can challenge him? Dark horse Chituru Ali.

200 m: It’s time for a new champion. The French are strong on paper, and home star Tortu (last time third) is a young Afrifah.

400 m:  Doom after Marrakech and Ostrava looks in pole position. Dobson can be close. Open contest for bronze.

800 m: Italy hopes for Tecuceanu, but championship races are different from meetings. There are many options from France, Belgium, Spain, Norway.

1500 m: Jakob story part 2, it will be after 5000 m. Same double like Berlin and Munich. Many contenders for other medals, also Habz added into the field. Again, Norda has the same double.

5000 m: Jakob story part 1, here based on the splits also CR possible (13:10.15). Straight final. Nordas also there, and European newcomers Ndikumwenayo with Lobalu.

10 000 m: There is no clear favorite. Based on SB Amlgren, who is also there without 10k this year, title defenders Crippa and Gressier are also there.

HMar:  Crippa and Petros, but in any case, they are wide open. Moen on paper, Wanders and Abraham Swiss force, or Spain´s Mayo.

SC: Spain vs. France and Germany vs. Sweden. Arce leads the lists. Defender Raitanen is also running.

110mH: Simonelli for home fans, Joseph from behind, alo Czykier and Obasuyi, title defender is Martinez. Ortega coming back.

400mH: Warholm looks like a safe bet. Behind him, the field is open: Sibilio at home, Bergstrom in shape, experienced Magi, motivated Abuaku, and young Gucek.

HJ: Tamberi is the choice to defend, hopefully fully healthy.  Kobielski was jumping well, what about Ukrainians and Germans.

PV: Mondo is in his own field, setting sights at his CR 606. Behind him, battles are fought for silver and bronze. This is a good group of candidates. Vloon, Broeders and training partners Lisek and Karalis.

LJ: One of the duels of the event involved Olympic winner Tentoglou (for the third gold in a row) vs. young Italian star Furlani. Pravdica and Ehammer to attack.

TJ: Who can beat World and Olympic gold medalist and title defender Pichardo? Only Jordan Diaz debuted for Spain at big championships.

SP: Fabbri and the spectators are hoping for gold. Weir will also be there if healthy enough. The winner will be Munich Mihaljevic and Lincoln. Stanek, after injury, has a question mark.

DT: Mykolas is unbeaten so far and ready to defend the title. Stahl is always there, and Ceh seeks revenge. Weisshaidinger also wants a medal.

HT: Polish affair, Nowicki or Fajdek? We wrote the same before Berlin and Munich. But now, mainly based on experience, we write Kokhan and Halasz, but this year, we also improved Chaussinand with Comenentia.

JT: Vadlejch dreams about his first gold from a top event. Weber beat him recently in Ostrava and two years ago in Munich. Bronze is for anybody.

Dec: WR holder Mayer got Wild Card. Erm on season best, Kaul is former World champ and title defender and Skotheim the man to beat with last time bronze winner Oiglane.

20kmw: Karlstrom against strong Spanish and Italian teams.

4×100 m: Who can attack the Brits? Italy, the Olympic winners, for sure. Maybe also Germany and France.

4×400 m: Belgium is going for its third gold, last time beaten by the Brits. But thinking about the podium, not only the Netherlands and France but also Poland and mainly the home team Italy.

Women

100 m: This should be a great final. Swoboda vs Asher-Smith with Dosso also there.

200 m: Neita, opting only for 200 m, is a strong contender here. Jaeger doubling 200/400. Kambundji is trying to find the right shape.

400 m: Kaczmarek is in shape and wants to attack her PB. Adeleke is there, and there is a strong group behind Klaver, Mawdsley, Miklos, Jaeger, and Czech youngster Manuel.

800 m: Hodkingson looks clear. There is a big fight for the other medals with several names.

1500 m: This is an open one. Strong Brits, but Mageean in shape. If slow, it could be a surprise winner.

5000 m: Grovdal has the best PB. Battocletti and Del Buono will be very ready.

10 000 m: Britons are favourites, but what is McColgan’s shape? Keith looks very good, and Warner-Judd is experienced. Lukan and Arnaudo can surprise. Italians are also there.

HMar: Salpeter, Melly and Kejeta. Behind them, Grovdal, fresh Swiss Bekele, or Yaremchuk on home soil.

SC: Krause looked strong at DL, Gega is a defender, and Finot and Mismas Zrimsek were fast in Budapest last year.

100mH: Kambundji or Samba-Mayela. Skrzyszowska close behind, Visser needs to improve, Sember was fast at US meets, could be a great final.

400mH: Bol class ahead of the rest, big fight for other medals, Peeters is fast this season, Nielsen, Knight are experienced, could Folorunso improve?

HJ: Mahuchikh should defend, Topic ready to push. Further it is open, Gerashchenko has enough experience.

PV: Caudery looks to be on top. Defender Murto is slowly approaching the Olympics. Moser is usually strong at big events. Stefanidi and Sutej (who, after injury, will ultimately compete) are also to watch.

LJ: Mihambo, Iapichino or fresh Portuguese De Sousa? Assani behind, Gardasevic can surprise like Rotaru-Kottmann in Budapest.

TJ: Is the form of Peleteiro enough for the title? If not, who else … Danismaz, Petrova, Derkach.

SP: Ogunleye looks in better shape than Schilder. Bronze is open for Roos, Van Klinken or Johansson?

DT: Elkasevic for another historic milestone. Who can beat her? Van Klinken, Steinacker or other Germans?

HT: It’s very hard to predict. Ghelber, Tervo, Skydan, Kosonen, Fantini? Could Wlodarczyk attack again?

JT: It’s a wide-open competition. Hudson is healthy or coming back, Andrejczyk. But also Vilagos, Tzengko, or Latvians (Sietina looks stronger).

Hep: A great clash is expected between Thiam, who is chasing the Olympic standard, and reigning World champion KJT. Vidts, Kälin, and Krizsan are fighting for bronze.

20kmw: Palmisano on home soil, Garcia-Caro looks as a strongest opponent. Also Ntrismpioti, Zdzieblo, Feige and others from Spain and Italy.

4×100 m: Great Britain is a favourite, Germany behind, Italy, Poland and Switzerland also with medal ambitions.

4×400 m: Who can stop the Netherlands? Poland, Great Britain, and dark horse Ireland.

Mixed

4×400 m: For the first time at European Champs, there are only 8 teams and a straight final. If all the teams are in the strongest compositions, then the Netherlands is ahead of Great Britain, behind them Belgium and Poland, and Ireland and Czechia.

MUNICH FLASHBACK

MEDALS (29 countries, +1)
GER 7-7-2, GBR 6-6-8, ESP 4-3-3, GRE 4-1-0, NED 4-0-2, POL 3-6-5, ITA 3-2-6, NOR 3-1-2

POINTS (35 countries, +2)
GBR 220, GER 197, ITA 142.5, ESP 132, POL 128, FRA 115, NED 99, SUI 69.5

TITLE DEFENDERS
yes (12): Ingebrigtsen 2x, Tentoglou, Perkovic, Hudson-Smith, Nowicki, Thiam, Muir, Warholm, Duplantis, A. Martin, GBR men x1
no (21): Salpeter, Haratyk, Guba, Naert, Hughes, Asher-Smith, Abele, Stefanidi, Swiety-Ersetic, Martinot-Lagarde, Przybylko, Mihambo, Gudzius, Guliyev, Asher-Smith, POL wom4x4, BEL men4x4, Krol, Perez, GBR wom 4×1, Rohler
nc (13): Mazuronak, Evora, Wlodarczyk, Hassan, Papahristou, Mekhissi, Sprunger, Krause, Hussong, Lasitskene, Kszczot, Amdouni, Herman
walks (2): new events

TOP MARKS
WL (2): Tentoglou, Nowicki
CR (13): Tentoglou, Jacobs, Drisbioti, Lopez, Murto, Ceh, Ingebrigtsen, Alekna, Bol, Warholm, Gega, Duplantis, GBR men 4×1
EL (8): Schilder, Bol, Martinez, Martinot-Lagarde, Bekh-Romanchuk, Warholm, NED wom 4×4, GBR men 4×1
CB (3): Ehammer LJ in decathlon, Kaul JT in decathlon, Thiam HJ in heptathlon
Spectators (no official figures only estimates for evenings): 15 000 (Monday) 40 000 (Tuesday), 30 000 (Wednesday), 20 000 (Thursday, rain postponement), 30 000 (Friday), Saturday (30 000), Sunday (40 000)

MULTI MEDALISTS
Bol 3-0-0, Hughes 2-1-0, Ingebrigtsen+Hudson-Smith+Drisbioti+Luckenkemper 2-0-0, Can, Kambundji, Mitchell- Blake, Skrzyszowska 1-1-0, Haydock-Wilson, Azu, Crippa 1-0-1, Kielbasinska 0-2-1, Kaczmarek 0-2-0, McColgan  0-1-1

AGENTS BY INDIVIDUAL GOLD MEDALS
Daniel Wessfeldt 5, Caroline Feith 3, Alfons Juck 2, Steffen Keil 2, Caroline Feith 2,  Federico Rosa 2, Gianni Demadonna 2, Dave Klink, Valentina Fedyushina, Jurgen Arden, Marcello Magnani, Vera Michallek, Tero Heiska, Ricky Simms, Alberto Armas, Marc Corstjens, Marco Tamberi, Czeslaw Zapala, Helena Van der Plaetsen, Jasper Buitink, Norman Peart, Stale-Jan Froynes, Paul Doyle, Babis Vakalopoulos, Alberto Suarez, Aivar Karotamm, Miguel Mostaza, Carinne Knapp-Messerschmidt, Janusz Szydlowski. Polish winner of marathon and walking winners not having an agent, also Kaul in the decathlon and Alekna in the discus.

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