Previews – Women's jumps: Radevica ready to defend her long jump title in Helsinki
|European long jump champion Ineta Radevica of Latvia.
"There was never any doubt about me defending my title in Helsinki," she said recently in Oslo. "I am not one of these people who says: 'I am not going to the office today.'
"My coach Yevgeny Ter-Avanesov always tells me I am a championship athlete, and I think he is right. The Diamond League is great, but for me the important thing is to be ready for the big championships."
The 30-year-old champion is going to have to rediscover that big match mind set in Helsinki, however. Her best this year of 6.64 currently sees her standing down in 24th place in the European listings.
The highest ranked European down to compete is Britain's Shara Proctor, who took bronze in the World Indoor Championships with a national record of 6.89m. Britain's medal chances look even healthier given the presence of Abigail Irozuru, who jumped 6.80 in Sofia on June 9.
The other obvious threats are Germany's Sosthene Taroum Moguenara, who has reached 6.88m this season, and Volha Sudareva of Belarus, who achieved a personal best of 6.85m in Minsk on June 12.
Also in the mix will be the 2010 World Junior Championships bronze medallist Marharyta Tverdohlib, who improved by 15cm to finish second in the recent Ukraine national championships with 6.80m.
But given that the top 21 entrants have all equalled or bettered 6.60 this season, the range of potential medallists is considerable.
Boslak, Spiegelburg top contenders
|Barcelona silver medallist Silke Spiegelburg of
Germany is once again in top form this year.
The 30-year-old from Lesquin, whose career was in jeopardy until a fourth, and make-or-break, operation on her knee 18 months ago worked successfully, is now eager to take every competitive opportunity open to her.
Boslak, who set an indoor national record of 4.70 in finishing behind world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva in Istanbul, has managed 4.50 so far outdoors, which leaves her well outside the current top 10 in Europe. She won her national title in 4.40 on June 16.
Germany's Silke Spiegelburg, who has an indoor best of 4.77m to her credit this year and tops the outdoor European listings – and puts her third in the world list - with the 4.76m she achieved in Prague on June 11, is looking a formidable force. She underlined her position with a 4.70 clearance to take the national title last weekend.
Lisa Ryzih, who finished one place behind Spiegelburg in Barcelona, was second in Wattenscheid with 4.65m while third was 2011 World Championships medallist Martina Strutz with 4.45m. All three are bound for Helsinki.
Irina Ptacnikova of the Czech Republic, whose runners-up effort of 4.72 in Prague puts her second in the European 2012 rankings, is also a major contender.
Meanwhile Poland's double world silver medallist and European silver medallist of 2006, Monika Pyrek, indicated she is a force to be reckoned with by winning her national title in 4.45 – and she has a 2012 best of 4.50.
|Former European indoor high jump champion Ariane
Friedrich of Germany.
Four other named athletes have managed 1.95m this season – Irina Gordeyeva of Russia, Venelina Veneva-Mateeva of Bulgaria, Tonje Angelsen of Norway and Sweden's Ebba Jungmark, who recorded the height indoors.
Ruth Beitia of Spain, who cleared 1.93 earlier this month, should also produce a strong challenge, as should Melanie Melfort of France and Anna Iljustsenko of the Ukraine, who have both cleared 1.93 indoors this season. Melfort recently won her national title with 1.91.
Germany's Ariane Friedrich, a European indoor champion and world bronze medallist in 2009, was disappointed only to take bronze at the last Europeans in Barcelona.
Two years on, however, she would be delighted to take the same position on the podium having missed the entire 2011 season following a ruptured Achilles tendon near the end of 2010.
Friedrich indicated she is heading in the right direction by winning her national title recently with 1.86m.
Sweden's European silver medallist from 2010, Emma Green Tregaro, indicated she could be heading for a return to the podium by jumping 1.91 to finish fourth in the Eugene Diamond League meeting earlier this month.
Saladuha, Mbango to vie for gold in triple jump
The women's triple jump in Helsinki promises to be of the highest quality, given that it will involve, among others, the double Olympic champion Francoise Mbango, now representing France, whose winning effort of 15.39m in the Beijing Games final is second only to the world record set in 1995 by Inessa Kravets.
|Olha Saladuha of Ukraine.
The field also includes Kravets' fellow Ukrainian, Olha Saladuha, whose effort of 14.75 in Rabat last month is third best in the world lists for 2012, and second best in Europe, just one centimetre less than the jump registered a day earlier by Kseniya Dzetsuk of Belarus, whose name is also in the Finland frame.
Britain's world indoor champion Yamile Aldama will also be in reckoning if she manages to rid herself of the shoulder problem which has undermined her preparations in European and Olympic year and put her participation at the weekend's Olympic trials in some doubt.
Aldama, whose 2003 effort of 15.29 while competing for her native Cuba, puts her sixth on the all-time list, has managed 14.65 this season in finishing fourth at the Rome Diamond League meeting.
Belgium's 2010 European bronze medallist, Svetlana Bolshakova, has achieved what her coach, Michel Boels, described as "half a miracle" to recover from an Achilles tendon rupture she suffered last June.
After missing the rest of last season, Bolshakova – who set the Belgian record of 14.55 in the Barcelona final - returned to action at a local meeting in Lokeren on May 28 and surprised herself by reaching 14.28, the best start to an outdoor season ever recorded by this 27-year-old.
Greece will be represented by Athanasia Perra, who produced a personal best of 14.71 at the weekend to win the national championships ahead of last year's European Under 23 gold medallist Paraskevi Papahristou, who reached 14.58, with Niki Panetta third on 14.50. All three are down to compete in Helsinki.
Slovenia's Marija Sestak also plans to challenge having jumped 14.26 this year and with a 15.08 indoor result to her name.
Patricia Mamona of Portugal, who has a best of 14.42, is in the field, as are two other talented Ukrainians – Ruslana Tsyotska and Hanna Demydova,, who have this season achieved personal bests of 14.53 and 14.50 respectively.
Slovakia's Dana Veldaková put her name in the frame by achieving 14.35m at the weekend to win her national title.