Vaasa set to host Euro Team Champs 1st League a decade after European Cup

Vaasa set to host Euro Team Champs 1st League a decade after European Cup
European Athletics

Tero Pitkämäki competing for Finland at the European Athletics Team Championships 2015.

Continental athletics will return to the Finnish university town of Vaasa a decade after it played host to the European Cup First League.

The competition has since been given a revamp and twelve nations will be looking to gain one of the three promotion spots to the European Team Championships Super League in 2019.

The hosts will be looking for immediate promotion back to the top flight after finishing eleventh in Cheboksary. Tero Pitkamaki was one of the winners last year - and in Vaasa in 2007 - and the crowd will expect nothing less than maximum points in their specialist event regardless of who dons the national vest for the javelin. 

Sweden and Norway were also relegated from the Super League last year but should receive good travelling support in Vaasa. The Swedish team looks set to include in-form discus thrower Daniel Stahl and the 17-year-old Armand Duplantis, who has improved the world U20 pole vault record to 5.90m this season.

Bulgaria and Denmark both gained promotion from the European Team Championships Second League in Stara Zagora last summer and will arrive in Vaasa with some very well-known and respected names on their team.

Ivet Lalova-Collio, who set a championship record of 11.11 in the 100m last year, is tipped to attempt another sprint double while European champion and Olympic 400m hurdles silver medallist Sara Slott Petersen is expected to anchor the Danish team.

And even though the heptathlon isn’t part of the programme, Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam might be drafted in for individual duty in the high jump. Thiam, who won maximum points in this event aged 18 in 2013, could go head-to-head with Olympic and European silver medallist Mirela Demireva from Bulgaria.

Another event to watch is the men’s 400m hurdles with Turkey’s Yasmani Copello, Ireland’s Thomas Barr, Switzerland’s Kariem Hussein, Estonia’s Rasmus Magi and Norway’s Karsten Warholm among the likely protagonists.