A golden future awaits under-23 athletes in Bydgoszcz

A golden future awaits under-23 athletes in Bydgoszcz
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Poland’s Ewa Swoboda won silver over 100m at the IAAF World Championships in Bydgoszcz.

It is one step away from the major senior events and history shows what a platform the European Athletics U23 Championships can be.

The Polish city of Bydgoszcz is home for the next staging of the competition in the summer and those preparing now will find themselves on the cusp of a potential golden future.

Between 13-16 July, 2017, the best European under-23 athletes will gather for the 11th edition of these biennial championships being held in Bydgoszcz for the second time.

And turning the clock back to the last occasion it was here, in 2003, is proof enough of where gold can then take you to.

Russia’s pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva was a world and European junior champion (and a senior European silver medallist) and a year after her victory at those European U23 Championships, she was standing on the top of the podium as Olympic champion in Athens, a title she would defend four years later in Beijing.

And Croatian Blanka Vlasic went from European under-23 gold in 2003 to become a double world high jump champion among her many honours, while another gold medallist from Bydgoszcz 13 years ago was Sweden’s Carolina Klüft, adding that title to already being the European champion.

Back in the same Zdzisław Krzyszkowiak Stadium, who will become the senior gold medallists of tomorrow?

One of them could be home grown – Poland’s Ewa Swoboda.

It will be just days before her 20th birthday and while she will still officially be a junior, it could be a moment to savour if she bids for a 100m medal, 12 months on from winning silver in Bydgoszcz at the distance at the IAAF World U20 Championships.

Swoboda, the defending European junior 100m champion, is making brilliant progress every year and what an impact she might have in front of her own supporters in the summer of 2017.

And then, in years to come, look back and remember a few days of competition that played such a big part in her future.

Local Organising Committee