Saladuha looks to complete her medal set

Saladukha looks to complete her medal set
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Ukrainian triple jumper Olha Saladukha here competing in the 2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Gothenburg.

With the IAAF World Indoor Championships just over a week away, national federations are confirming their squads for Sopot and the Ukraine will go to Poland with big hopes of gold.                      

They have announced a 20-strong team - 12 women and eight men - with triple jumper Olha Saladuha chasing a medal still missing from her major championships collection.

The 2011 outdoor world champion and double European champion - she won the crown in Barcelona in 2010 and then Helsinki two years later - showed her ability indoors 12 months ago when she took the title at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Gothenburg.

Her victory in Sweden came with a national record in the first round of 14.88m and though she has not hit those distances yet this winter, she is joint first in the world rankings with 14.65m alongside Russia’s Ekaterina Koneva.

Ukraine also won gold in Gothenburg in the 800m and that champion Natalia Lupu is now ready to seek more glory on the world stage in a squad that includes heptathlon world champion Hanna Melnychenko, whose gold in the summer in Moscow followed her bronze in the pentathlon in Sweden.

Two years ago in Istanbul, Oleksiy Kasyanov won silver in the men’s heptathlon and once more he will pit his wits against American Ashton Eaton, the defending champion who has since progressed to win the Olympic decathlon title and break the world record.

The German squad of 29 will see David Storl look to go one better than in Istanbul where he was the silver medallist as he bids to add this shot put gold to his two outdoor world crowns and the title he won in Gothenburg.

In the absence of world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie, who is recovering from the cut to his foot sustained as he looked to break 6.21m in the Ukraine, Malte Mohr will be the favourite for the pole vault.

The German is second on the world rankings with 5.84m behind Lavillenie while teammate Silke Spiegelburg should be in the mix in the women’s event.

European indoor high jump champion Ruth Beitia will spearhead Spain’s team of 13 and Ireland’s team includes new national 800m record holder Mark English who ran 1:46.82 in Athlone earlier this month.

France have a squad of seven with 60m hurdler Pascal Martinot Lagarde flying at the moment. He tops the world lists with 7.45 and will be the man to catch.

Of the two shot putters Bulgaria are sending to Sopot, they both will be looking to make the podium as part of a week of celebration.  Georgi Ivanov, 28, and Radoslava Mavrodieva, 26, both celebrate their birthday on March 13, four days after the championships ends.