It is one of the most anticipated events of the early part of the year and the 18th edition of the European Throwing Cup is now just one month away.
On the weekend of 10-11 March, the Portuguese city of Leiria will host the competition for the third time having staged it in 2014 and 2015.
As some of the world’s best throwers prepare to put into practice all those months of hard training, the event could be graced by one of the best of them all. On the back of his amazing 2017 season, Germany’s Johannes Vetter has indicated this competition slots into his schedule as he looks set to put in motion his javelin plans for what could be another extraordinary year for him.
Twelve months ago when this competition took place in Las Palmas, another German thrower took the plaudits in an event in which they have such strength in depth with Julian Weber winning with an early season world-lead of 85.85m.
But Vetter dominated the event during a memorable summer in which he moved to second on the world all-time lists with 94.44m in Lucerne in July before winning his first major title at the IAAF World Championships in London. Vetter was then duly anointed male European Athlete of the Year at the Golden Track award ceremony in Vilnius, Lithuania - the first German man to claim the accolade.
The European Throwing Cup is one of the great weekends of throwing – with 16 events being held, with men and women competing in senior and U23 competitions in the shot put, discus, hammer and javelin.
The men’s U23 hammer showed the standard of competition as Germany’s Alexej Mikhailov won with a personal best of 71.56m from Hungary’s Bence Halasz (71.51m). A few months later at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Bydgoszcz, the tide was turned as Halasz was crowned champion (73.30m) with Mikhailov (70.60m) in bronze.
Halasz’s teammate Anita Marton maintained her brilliant level of consistency, winning the European Throwing Cup with 18.05m ahead of a silver medal at the IAAF World Championships in London.
France’s discus star Melina Robert-Michon was another who went from winning at the European Throwing Cup to making the podium in London where she claimed a bronze medal while Croatia’s Olympic javelin champion Sara Kolak claimed the U23 title in Las Palmas with 61.01m before winning the European U23 title in Bydgoszcz.
This is proof enough that preparing for this competition in March can lead to glory later in the year with the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships edging closer all the time.