Anita Wlodarczyk finds herself in the perfect position as she bids to successfully defend her title in Zurich as a member of the third biggest team Poland have sent to a European Athletics Championships.
Hammer thrower Wlodarczyk is one of a squad of 60 for the championships which start on 12 August and she is heading towards Switzerland as Europe’s No 1.
Her leading mark of 78.17m came last week in Cetniewo, a throw which puts her 17 centimetres ahead of Germany’s world record-holder Betty Heidler.
Two years ago in Helsinki, a distance of 74.29m was enough to earn Wlodarczyk gold having won bronze in Barcelona in 2010 when Heidler was crowned champion.
Wlodarczyk’s success was Poland’s sole gold in Helsinki but their team for Zurich includes all three of their champions from Barcelona: 800m runner Marcin Lewandowski, discus thrower Piotr Małachowski, who also leads Europe this year, and shot putter Tomasz Majewski.
The 800m will also feature Adam Kszczot, chasing the honour of adding outdoor gold to the European Athletics Indoor Championships title he retained in Gothenburg last year.
Poland’s athletics federation president Jerzy Skucha is hoping for 10 medals and both Lewandowski and Kszczot could be among that number as they are second and third respectively on the rankings.
As hosts of this year’s IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot in March, Poland celebrated gold with Kamila Licwinko in the high jump, a title she shared with Russia’s Mariya Kuchina, and that rivalry will surely be resumed in Zurich.