When Adam Kszczot takes to the start line in Dusseldorf on Thursday night, it will be the beginning of a five-week journey which might lead him into athletics history.
Poland’s Kszczot will chase a fourth successive win at the PSD Bank Meeting but it is the hat-trick he will aim for in Prague which could bridge a gap of almost 50 years.
Watch him break the PSD Bank Meeting Record last year in Dusseldorf:
Not since Ireland’s Noel Carroll won three successive 800m golds, between 1966 and 1968, has that feat been achieved during the winter gathering of Europe’s finest athletes.
In the ‘60s the competition was known as the European Indoor Games before changing in 1970 to its guise as the European Athletics Indoor Championships.
Kszczot has become the modern star of the event’s 800m, with his victories in Paris 2011 with a time of 1:47.87 and in Gothenburg 2013 with 1:48.69.
As the championships return to Prague from 6-8 March, the last time the competition was held there was, ironically, in 1967 when Carroll achieved the second of his three golds. His first came in Dortmund and his third in Madrid.
Kszczot will tackle the 800m on Thursday night in this European Athletics Indoor Permit Meeting where he will be introduced as more than just the indoor champion. Now he has the European outdoor title to go with it after his brilliant performance in Zurich in August where he won gold with 1:44.15.
Relive Adam Kszczot's impressive 800m final run in Zurich below:
In a winter where Renaud Lavillenie has already set the benchmark for the pole vault by clearing six metres, it is the turn of the sport’s two world champions to make their mark in Dusseldorf as, in front of his home fans, Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe comes face to face with Konstadinos Filippidis, of Greece.
Holzdeppe has returned to the sport this year after a back injury forced him to miss Zurich having beaten Lavillenie to gold at the IAAF World Championships the previous summer in Moscow.
He has made a steady start, with a best clearance of 5.60m and now he meets the man who took the title 11 months ago at the World Indoor Championships in Sopot.
Filippidis has gone over at 5.70m this winter and will be looking to not only win in Dusseldorf, but also be a main contender for gold in Prague.