Preview - Men's throws: Pitkämäki and Thorkildsen set to feature in the most anticipated contest in Helsinki
|All eyes will be on local hero Tero Pitkämäki in one
of the most eagerly awaited finals of the 2012
European Athletics Championships in Helsinki.
That certainly doesn't apply to defending champion Andreas Thorkildsen. The Norwegian has only thrown 84.72m this summer but he can boast two Olympic golds, a world title and three world silvers and two European golds.
Latvian Vadims Vasilevskis was second in the 2004 Olympics, but has generally finished fourth, achieving that in a previous European and two world championships but he should be a factor this time based on his 86.50m which only the Czech has bettered this year.
Ukraine's Oleksandr Pyatnytsya is another thrower in great shape this season with a 86.12m throw and he will be keen his better his fourth from 2010.
The 2010 runner-up and reigning world champion Matthias de Zordo is one of four Germans named but he has been struggling this season and won't be a medal challenger unless he substantially improves his 81.62m season's best.
Former world champion Tero Pitkämäki was third in Barcelona and has struggled with his form this year but he threw 83.87m at the weekend to be a late addition to the Finnish named quintet who are all capable of challenging for medals.
Antti Ruuskanen, Ari Mannio, Lassi Etelatalo and Teemu Wirkkala are his potential team-mates on an evening that should see the 40,000 capacity reached for the home nations favourite event.
Storl eyes European gold
|World shot put champion David Storl of Germany.
The German lies third on the European season's list, behind Poland's Tomasz Majewski (21.60m) who has opted out of the championships and Maksim Sidorov of Russia (21.22m), with 21.13m and looks a good bet for a medal after being fifth two years ago in Barcelona.
Portugal's Marco Fortes has shown he is in PB shape this year and could challenge for a place if he can reproduce his 21m form in the Finnish capital.
Russia's Anton Lyuboslavskiy and Aleksandr Lobynya are also capable of at least a top six place.
Defending champion Andrei Mikhnevich hasn't thrown in 2012 and has not entered for Helsinki. Germany's Rolf Bartels, a bronze medallist in Barcelona, is on the German squad but has been out of form of late and ranks 17th in Europe. However he is known to save his best for major championships and discounting his chances will not be prudent.
Ukraine have a pair capable of challenging for medals with Andriy Semenov and former world youth medallist Dmytro Savytskyy both capable of throwing in the mid-20s.
Briton Carl Myerscough has been focusing more on the discus in recent years though he was a shot finalist in 2010.
Bosnia and Herzegovia don't have too many medal chances in Helsinki but Kemal Mesic could be close if he can reproduce the 20.71m throw he achieved in the USA.
Serbia's Asmir Kolasinac is another who could feature as a danger in the final.
Harting in top shape
|World discus champion Robert Harting of Germany.
Defending champion Piotr Malachowski is missing from Helsinki but Poland still have medal chances through Robert Urbanek and Przemyslaw Cjakowski, who have been well over 65m this summer.
One all-time greats who has been entered is Estonian Gerd Kanter. He was fourth in 2010, missing a medal by just 23cm but is coming into form and he threw 67.71m last weekend. He was the 2008 Olympic champion but also won the world title in 2007 and medalled in the 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011 World Championships as well as the 2006 Europeans.
British record holder Lawrence Okoye, who is the European Under 23 champion, could also be a factor if he can replicate his 68.24m best throw and he has been named amongst a strong British quartet including World finalist Brett Morse.
Hungarian Robert Fazekas, who was third in 2010, is also absent but his compatriot Zoltan Kovago is well capable of medaling himself. Netherlands have a strong pairing in Erik Cadee and Rutger Smith who are both capable of throws around 67m.
Finn Mikko Kyrro would be doing well to make the final in such company.
Pars' best chance to win the European hammer title
|Krisztian Pars of Hungary.
World leader at 82.81m, Ivan Tikhov isn't entered but Belarus still named a trio of 80m throwers with Pavel Kryvitski the most likely figurehead, having won a big competition in Minsk this week with a 80.25m throw.
Poland's number one Pawel Faidek, who has been over 80m regularly, is another focusing exclusively on London but former Olympic and world champion Szymon Ziolkowski is competing and should be a medal challenger.
Russia's Aleksiy Zagornyi who was the bronze medallist in the 2009 World Championships and has thrown 78.40m this summer could well be in medal contention in Helsinki.
Czech Republic's Lukas Melich and Italian Lorenzo Poveqliano have both been over 79m this summer and should also challenge for medals.
Defending champion Libor Charfreitag has only thrown 75m this summer and could even be hard pressed to make the final which is also the case for Barcelona runner-up Nicola Vizzoni who has thrown just 76m in 2012.
Finland have three throwers with David Soderberg the pick on seasonal bests with 76.40m though Olli-Pekka Karjalainen has the 83.30m PB but is no longer in the form that saw him a medal in the 2006 Europeans.