Men's Track Events Preview

Men's Track Preview
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Norway's Henrik Ingebrigtsen and Great Britain’s Chris O’Hare are among the favourites for gold after their silver and bronze medals from Zurich last summer.

Speed, experience and a touch of...brotherly love

Wherever you look in the men's races at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague this weekend, there will be fascination with every stride.

Take the 1500m.

It brings together Henrik Ingebrigtsen and Great Britain’s Chris O’Hare, the silver and bronze medallists respectively from last summer's European Athletics Championships, and for the Norwegian, another runner who is very much close to home - his brother Filip.

Henrik is two years older at 24 and has a personal best of 3:44.00 while Filip is making his debut at the distance on this high-profile stage.

In Zurich in August, as France's Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad won in 3:45.60, Ingebrigtsen was second in 3:46.10, beating O'Hare by 0.08 while the man they all have to watch out for is the one who finished fifth then in 3:46.46, Germany’s Homiyu Tesfaye.

He has been flying in the weeks leading up to Prague, breaking the national record to lead the European Athletics rankings with 3:34.13 from Stockholm and he will surely look to push on ever quicker.

Equally in the 1500m, France’s Yoann Kowal will want to show his flat speed after winning the 3000m steeplechase in Zurich.

Henrik Ingebrigtsen is also in the 3000m, a distance packed with men who know all about success at the major European Athletics meetings.

The event includes Spain’s Jesus Espana, the 2006 European 5000m champion, Germany’s Richard Ringer, whose 3000m triumph was one of the key victories as his country lifted the European Athletics Team Championship in Braunschweig last June, and Belgium’s Pieter-Jan Hannes, the 2011 European Athletics under-23 cross country champion.

The 800m will be quick and exciting, with Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski, Ireland’s Mark English and Sweden’s Andreas Kramer among the favourites while Britain will be looking to defend the 4x400m gold they won in Gothenburg two years ago.

The individual 400m could be one of the stories of the championships.

Back from the injury which ruled him out of the European Athletics Championships in Zurich last summer, the Czech Republic's very own Pavel Maslak will aim to keep hold of the crown he won so brilliantly in Gothenburg.

Maslak triumphed then in a time of 45.66 and he heads to the 02 Arena as the overriding favourite for gold in a season where he is the only European to run under 46 seconds.

His 45.27, at the national championship in the Czech capital last month shows the speed he is generating with his closest rival in the rankings being a teammate, Jan Tesar, who has a best 2015 time of 46.21 followed by Poland’s Karol Zalewski with 46.25. Israel's Donald Blair-Sanford, who won bronze in Zurich, will be chasing a podium spot again too.

Watch his 45.27 run at the national championships in Prague below:

A year ago at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, few expected Britain’s Richard Kilty to power through like he did to win the 60m title.

If he is to make it another glorious moment, he might have to beat teammate Chijindu Ujah who is the quickest in the field this year, his 6.53 being 0.01 faster than Kilty while Germany’s Christian Blum has run 6.56.

But this blitz of speed is not always about who has been the quickest so far. It is about who breaks the best, who has the slickest move in the transition from blocks to 20m and who can hold their nerve.

Saying that, the 60m hurdles could become a French affair such has been their presence in the event this winter.

Dimitri Bascou leads the rankings with 7.48 from Wilhem Belocian with 7.53 while Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, who has a 2015 best of 7.63, will be fuelled with extra determination to win. He finished third in Zurich in the 110m hurdles and will want that top spot in an event where British captain Lawrence Clarke cannot be ruled out.