All eyes on the team championships with a difference

All eyes on the team championships with a difference
Getty Images

Hayle Ibrahimov will attempt to achieve a long distance double for Azerbaijan at the European Athletics Team Championships Third League in Baku.

By the time those involved in the top three divisions of the European Athletics Team Championships are heading for home on Monday morning, the action in the 3rd League will only be at the halfway stage.

The reason is because the competition is breaking new ground by being incorporated into the inaugural European Games which are currently being held in Baku.

Thirty sports are part of the Games which started last Friday and the track and field programme is held only on Sunday and Monday when 14 countries take part in the European Athletics Team Championships.

The home support for one man should be immense when Azerbaijan’s Hayle Ibrahimov competes in both the 3000m and 5000m.

He is the 2013 European Indoor champion and last year was second behind Great Britain’s Mo Farah in the 5000m at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich.

Along with chasing promotion, the winning teams will also receive team medals from the European Games.

Azerbaijan’s new Olympic Stadium, with a capacity of 68,195, will stage the competition as the hosts face Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Israel, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro and the Slovak Republic.

Austria and Slovakia are in this division after suffering relegation last year while four promotion places are up for grabs.

One woman looking to make her mark for her country is Israel’s javelin thrower Marhartya Dorozhon.

She has had fabulous year, moving to second on the European Athletics rankings last week when she won brilliantly at the Bislett Games in Oslo with an Israeli record throw of 64.56m.

Her presence should guarantee Israel top points in this event while the Austrians will be looking for a quick return to the 2nd League and are expected to have a strong squad, including distance runner Jennifer Wenth, who is 11th on the European Athletics’ 3000m rankings with 9:06.52, and Lukas Weisshaidinger, the 2011 European junior discus champion.