One month to go - European Athletics U20 Championships

Maria Vicente
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Spain's Maria Vicente won the European U18 heptathlon title with a world U18 best of 6221 points on the second day of the European Athletics U18 Championships in Gyor

Four years after Eskilstuna held the event, the European Athletics U20 Championships returns to Swedish soil one month today (18) when Boras stages the biennial championships from 18-21 July.

The championships takes place at the Ryavallen Stadium and will include many athletes who featured prominently at both the European Athletics U18 Championships in Gyor, Hungary and at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland last summer.

Sweden won three medals in Gyor last July: one gold, one silver and one bronze. Their sole champion Tilde Johansson could be one of the stars of Boras as the 18-year-old leads the European U20 list in the long jump with 6.61m and is second on the 100m hurdles list with 13.50.

Johansson still has two seasons left in the U20 ranks but she amassed an excellent indoor season, winning Swedish senior titles in the 60m hurdles, long jump and the pentathlon. Coincidentally the host city has a strong affinity with the combined events as Carolina Kluft was born in Boras.

The heptathlon will give viewers another chance to watch Spain’s Maria Vicente in action. Vicente was one of two athletes in Gyor last year to set a world U18 best, winning the heptathlon title with 6221 points before returning to action on the final day of the programme to win the triple jump title.

Vicente won by an awesome margin of 600 points last year but she is unlikely to dominate proceedings in quite the same fashion in Boras. Switzerland’s Annik Kalin narrowly leads the European U20 list with 5952 points to Vicente’s 5900 points while Irish record-holder Katie O’Connor will also be in close contention having scored 5881 points this season.

The second world U18 best in Gyor was set by Ukraine’s Myhaylo Kokhan who won the hammer 87.82m although all five of his valid efforts with the five kilogram implement would have sufficed for the title. The 18-year-old also won a silver at the World U20 Championships the following week behind Great Britain’s Jake Norris who has graduated into the senior ranks.

It is shaping up to be another excellent championships for Ukraine and Yaroslava Mahuchikh will be looking to add to her collection of U18 accolades with gold in the high jump. Mahuchikh equalled the world indoor U20 record with 1.99m before becoming the joint youngest winner of a Diamond League event in Doha where she cleared 1.96m. For posterity, the championship record is jointly held by Mariya Lasitskene and Yelena Yelesina at 1.95m.

Also watch out for Greece's precocious Elina Tzenggo in the javelin. Tzenggo won the Youth Olympic Games title in Buenos Aires with the U18 500g implement but the 16-year-old is already fully adept with the 600g implement and leads the world U20 list with 61.48m.

The star performer of the 2017 European Athletics U20 Championships was Jakob Ingebrigtsen. A fall in the 1500m final scuppered his chances of a seemingly improbable hat-trick but Ingebrigtsen still came away with titles in the 3000m steeplechase and 5000m.

The European Athletics U20 Championships will also be streamed with English-language commentary on the European Athletics website.