Over the past four stagings of the European Athletics Indoor Championships, Germans David Storl and Christina Schwanitz have made their presence felt on the podium – and the signs are that Glasgow in March will be no different.
After his silver in Paris in 2011, Storl improved to gold in Prague four years later before completing the set with bronze in Belgrade in 2017. Schwanitz won the women’s title in Gothenburg in 2013 having also finished second in Paris.
She was absent from Belgrade on maternity leave but the German made her return to competition last summer, surpassing the 20 metre-line and winning silver at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.
Both were competing at home on Sunday (18) at the Saxon Indoor Championships in Chemnitz and they easily secured the qualifying standard needed for the Glasgow 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships which start on March 1.
With the women’s mark at 17.15m, Schwanitz sent out a message to her rivals as she reached a world lead of 19.07m as Storl recorded a solid 20.28m to surpass the men’s Glasgow standard at 20.15m.
Greater distances will be their target in the weeks ahead and one man who has gone even further is Czech Republic’s Tomas Stanek.
Ten months ago at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Stanek won bronze - one place behind Storl - and he showed his good early season form on Sunday with 21.16m to win at the 47th Jablonecka Hala in Jablonec ahead of Luxembourg’s Bob Bertemes (20.40m) and Poland’s Jakub Szyszkowski (20.14m).
Other notable performances in Chemnitz came from triple jumper Max Hess, the 2016 European outdoor champion,, as he leaped 16.29m as Jenny Elbe took the women’s with 13.67m and Erik Balnuweit won the 60m hurdles in 7.76.
Elsewhere in Jablonec, Radek Juska recorded 7.72m in the long jump, Jan Kudlicka went over at 5.40m in the pole vault. There was also a notable performance in the women’s long jump as Serbia’s European U20 champion Milica Gardasevic won with indoor personal best of 6.52m.
Stefanidi opens indoor season with a 4.74m clearance
As Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi showed in Berlin last summer, she is as good at retaining major titles as winning them in the first place.
Now two-time European outdoor champion, a successful defence of her indoor pole vault crown will be at the top of her agenda this winter.
In Reno on Saturday, Stefanidi triumphed at the UCS Pole Vault Summit as she won with 4.74m on countback from American Katie Nageotte.
Ekaterini Stefanidi opened her season with a 4.74m clearance in Reno.
She will go in search of back-to-back European indoor pole vault titles in Glasgow at the start of March! #Glasgow2019 https://t.co/EG3XuTATgS pic.twitter.com/2X0Ern3G7S
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) January 19, 2019
World pole vault record-holder Renaud Lavillenie will eye a fifth gold medal in Glasgow and in Nevers on Sunday, at the second leg of the Perche Elite Tour, he shared top spot with Italy’s Claudio Michel Stecchi as they both cleared 5.70m at the second attempt.
While a routine height for Lavillenie, that was a landmark for Stecchi - it was an outright personal best clearance - before he failed at 5.75m.
Lavillenie went straight to 5.80m but missed out on that too, trying twice before stopping as a precaution after feeling his right leg.