After Bydgoszcz, Poland staged the 2017 edition of the event, the European Athletics U23 Championships will be heading to Gävle, Sweden from 11-14 July.
The European U23 Championships was first staged in Turku, Finland in 1997, replacing the European U23 Cup which was held in 1992 and 1994. The championships has been staged biennially since 1997 and it is designed to facilitate the often difficult transition from the U20 ranks to the senior stage.
Two years after winning the U20 title, Great Britain’s 100m sprinter Ojie Edoburun moved through the age-groups by claiming the gold medal in Bydgoszcz. He articulated the importance of the championships after winning the 100m title.
“It is hard to go just from a youth straight to being a senior. I think there should be even more emphasis on a championship such as this one because it is a transition championship,” he said.
The 2017 European Athletics U20 Championships in Grosseto, Italy could prove to be a useful form guide ahead of the event and one of the potential stars of the championships could be Sweden’s super-talented pole vaulter Armand Duplantis, who will graduate out of the U20 ranks at the end of the season.
Duplantis cleared a championship record of 5.65m to win the gold medal in Grosseto and he has since improved the world U20 record to 5.93m. This would equal the long-standing championship record held by Romain Mesnil who cleared that mark in Gothenburg 1999.
Six championship records were set at the 2017 European U23 Championships. Konrad Bukowiecki went out to 21.26m in shot put qualifying before improving to 21.59m in the final while Turkey’s Yasemin Can set championship records in both the 5000m (15:01.67) and the 10,000m (31:39.80). Slovakia’s Jan Volko won the 200m title in 20.33 and Norway’s Karsten Warholm won the 400m hurdles title in 48.37 before winning the world title in London the following month.
Another athlete to win medals at both championships was Ukraine’s high jumper Yuliya Levchenko who won gold in Bydgoszcz before silver in London. They were both duly anointed male and female Rising Star of 2017 at the Golden Tracks award ceremony in Vilnius, Lithuania in October.
A total of 29 Member Federations - along with one Authorised Neutral Athlete - won medals in Bydgoszcz. Germany topped both the medal and placing tables with 18 medals in total, including four titles.