Top European stars return to training ahead of 2019 season

Barbora Spotakova at the IAAF World Championships London 2017
European Athletics

World javelin record-holder Barbora Spotakova has resumed training ahead of the 2019 season

Ukraine’s Bogdan Bondarenko missed the entirety of the 2018 campaign due to a knee injury but the former world and European high jump champion is one of a number of high profile European athletes to resume training ahead of two important seasons.

Bondarenko cleared 2.41m to win the world high jump title in Moscow 2013 before winning the European title the following year in Zurich, needing only two jumps to claim the gold medal in rainy conditions with 2.35m before one attempt at 2.43m.

Not since the 2016 Olympic Games has the 29-year-old reached the podium in a major championships when he won a bronze medal but Bondarenko has started his preparations in earnest for the 2019 campaign in Formia, Italy.

While Bondarenko sat out the entirety of the 2018 campaign, Ivana Spanovic made it to the European Championships in Berlin before an Achilles rupture in the qualifying round forced the reigning champion to withdraw from the final and shut down the remainder of her season.

Spanovic has staged a full recovery and she has confirmed she is targeting another indoor season culminating with the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow next March. The Serbian, who has won a major medal in each season since 2013, will be looking for her third successive title in Glasgow which would emulate Heike Drechsler’s feat in the mid-1980s.

Jimmy Vicaut also reached the European Championships in Berlin but the Frenchman was unable to take his place in the final after sustaining a thigh injury after the semifinals. Vicaut, who clocked 9.97 to qualify for the 100m final, has started light training under the tutelage of Dimitri Demoniere at the National Institute of Sport in Paris where he is training alongside teammates Stuart Dutamby and Amaury Golitin. 

Barbora Spotakova missed the European Championships for happier reasons after giving birth to her second child and the world javelin record-holder has also returned to training. Now 37, Spotakova plans to return in time to defend her world title in Doha next September before preparing for her fifth Olympic Games in Tokyo. "I want to follow up on my successful results in Beijing, London and Rio," she said. 


Not only was world javelin champion Spotakova absent from the European Championships, Olympic javelin champion Sara Kolak from Croatia also missed the entirety of the 2018 season after undergoing elbow surgery in January. The 23-year-old has also started light training again and aims to return to competition next year.