The remarkable Ruth Beitia will defend her high jump title in Prague next week as she looks for her sixth medal at the European Athletics Indoor Championships.
Beitia, who is 36 on 1 April, is part of a 32-strong Spanish team who will have big hopes of success as they include Pablo Torrijos, fresh from his triple jump national record of 17.03m last weekend which puts him second in Europe, and long jumper Eusebio Caceres, the European Athlete of the Month for January, who is third in the rankings.
Beitia’s best this year is 1.96m, a height which is five centimetres behind the European leader, Poland’s Kamila Licwinko, but the Spaniard is supreme at producing her best at the championships.
She has her gold from 2013 in Gothenburg, to go alongside her three silvers - the first of which was in Madrid in 2005 - and one bronze from Birmingham 2007.
If she does triumph, she will maintain an amazing stranglehold on the event in the major European Athletics events after retaining her outdoor crown in Zurich last summer.
BEITIA'S EUROPEAN ATHLETICS INDOOR RECORD
2005 - Madrid - silver - 1.99m
2007 - Birmingham - bronze - 1.96m
2009 - Turin - silver - 1.99m
2011 - Paris - silver - 1.96m
2013 - Gothenburg - gold - 1.99m
Relive the end of the high jump contest in Gothenburg 2013:
Kevin Lopez, who was second in the 800m in Gothenburg behind Poland’s Adam Kszczot - 1:48.69 to 1:49.31 - will also be among Spain’s medal contenders, along with Borja Vivas who is who having a fine winter in the shot put.
Serbia’s Asmir Kolasinac, who won shot put gold in 2013 with 20.62m, will defend his crown and is in a team of six that includes Ivana Spanovic, who was brilliant in the long jump at the Malmö Games on Wednesday evening.
The rest of their squad is 400m runners Milos Raovic and Tamara Salaski, Goran Nava in the 1500m and Amela Terzic in the 3000m.
High jumper Alessia Trost will aim to push Beitia and Licwinko from an Italian team with two sprinters inside the European top 20, Delmas Obou, who has run 6.66, and Michael Tuni, who has run 6.67.