Mahiedine Mekhissi is targeting a gold medal at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships in an event which he has never contested before.
Mekhissi is certainly not shunning the 3000m steeplechase this summer but the French veteran is also looking to contest the 5000m at the European Championships in Berlin - an event which has been cast wide open by the retirement of Mo Farah from the track.
Mekhissi has five European titles to his name already - three in the 3000m steeplechase and two in the 1500m - and he could add two more gold medals to his collection before the end of the season. After an inauspicious season’s opener at the French Cross Country Championships when he was a non-finisher, Mekhissi finished third in a 10km in Moirans in 28:59 to equal his best ever mark for the distance.
“Under 29 minutes is not bad but it’s just a learning gauge We know where we are in training,” his coach Farouk Madaci told L’Equipe.
“He has the qualities much faster over 10km but he has big ambitions this summer to run a 3000m steeplechase/5000m double at the European Championships in Berlin. This race allows us to work towards that.”
Mekhissi’s specialist event comes first in Berlin with the 3000m steeplechase heats scheduled on the first morning session on 7 August with the final on 9 August. He will then have two days to recover for the 5000m final on 11 August.
Mekhissi, who turned 33 earlier this month, is currently training at high altitude in Mammoth Lakes, California and he will make his 5000m debut at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Stanford on 3 May when he will look to achieve the relatively benign qualifying standard of 13:42.
More information on the 2018 European Championships:
- The Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships will be part of the first multi-sport European Championships along with co-hosts Glasgow.
- It will be a must-watch, must-attend experience that elevates the status of European Champions, uniting existing European Championships to celebrate the highest honour in European sport and celebrating the defining moments that create Champions.
- It is the continent’s ultimate multi-sport event, an 11-day celebration of European sport staged every four years.
- Seven of Europe’s leading sports (athletics, aquatics, rowing, golf, cycling, gymnastics, triathlon) will be brought together for the first edition.
- The European Athletics Championships in Berlin will be staged 7-12 August. The six other sports will be staged in Glasgow through 2-12 August.
- 4500 athletes and 52 nations will compete across the seven sports.
- Potential TV audience of over one billion with millions more across multiple digital platforms.
- Over half a million spectators expected.