European Athletics Championships preview
By Sam Drury. Last Updated: 11/08/14 5:19pm
Jessica Judd: Reached her first major championship final in Glasgow
No sooner has the Commonwealth Games ended; the European Athletics Championships are getting underway.
For six days Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich will play host as the continent’s top athletes, over 1400 of them from 50 countries in fact, compete to be declared Europe’s finest in their chosen discipline.
While many of the British athletes have had a split focus this summer with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to contend with before turning their attentions to Switzerland, for the vast majority of European athletes with no Olympic Games or World Championships, this is the season’s main event.
That is also the case for the experienced duo of Dwain Chambers and Christine Ohuruogu with the latter opting only to race in the 4x400m relay and Chambers pulling out of the Games in Glasgow to focus solely on the Europeans and his bid to win a medal in the 100m.
The pair are part of a 74-strong British team that also includes Sky Academy Sports Scholar Jessica Judd, who will go in the 800m. The 19-year-old Canvey Island runner is fresh from reaching her first major championships final in Glasgow and will be hoping to improve on her very respectable fourth place finish at Hampden Park.
Zurich also provides Mo Farah a chance to his injury woes so far this season behind him as he looks to retain his 5000m crown and regain the 10,000m title having been forced to miss the Commonwealth Games through illness.
It was at the European Championships in Barcelona four years ago that Farah, 31, really came to the fore as a genuine star on the world stage, winning the long distance double – becoming the first man to in 20 years to do so. Since then he has gone from strength to strength and it could be the perfect stage for the reigning world and Olympic champion to re-announce himself with Rio just two years away.
Away from Team GB, the stars include Renaud Lavillenie, the Frenchman who has dominated the men’s pole vault in recent times, his compatriot Jimmy Vicaut will be among the favourites in the sprint events and the women’s 1500m will see Sifan Hassan and Abeba Aregawi go head to head for the Netherlands and Sweden, respectively, in what should be an intriguing battle.