The European Athletics Team Championships Second League will be held in Varazdin, Croatia on 10-11 August.
The Second League features 12 nations including Bulgaria, Denmark and Estonia who were all relegated from the First League in Vaasa, Finland last June. Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia and Luxembourg will also be competing after gaining promotion from the Third League in Marsa, Malta.
As well as hosts Croatia, the other participating nations are: Austria, Cyprus, Israel, Latvia and Slovenia. Slovenia missed out on promotion in Tel Aviv, Israel last June by a mere 2.5 points despite maximum points from Luka Janezic in the 200m, 400m and the 4x400m relay.
Croatia finished seventh in the Second League last year with two individual wins: Ivan Horvat in the pole vault and Olympic champion Sara Kolak in the javelin. The hosts will no doubt be hoping Sandra Perkovic will compete in this competition for the first time since 2014 (she also won in 2010 and 2013) to bolster Croatia’s bid for promotion into the First League for the first time since 2011.
The most successful athlete in championship history could also make an appearance in Varazdin. Since the European Team Championships replaced the European Cup in 2009, Bulgaria’s Ivet Lalova-Collio has accrued nine victories and two runner-up finishes.
Lalova-Collio, who has represented Bulgaria in the First League, Second League and Third League, will be key to Bulgaria’s promotion bid. She achieved a sprint treble in the Second League in Stara Zagora three years ago but victory in the 200m in Vaasa last year was not enough to keep Bulgaria afloat in the First League.
Other standout names who could compete next year are European 10,000m champion Lonah Chemtai Salpeter from Israel, European javelin bronze medallist Magnus Kirt from Estonia and European discus bronze medallist Lukas Weisshaidinger from Austria.