There are a smorgasbord of field fiends set to star in the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow from March 1-3.
Sprinters tend to sweep the board when it comes to headlines, but forget at your peril a whole host of athletes poised to perform in the ten specialist field events at the Emirates Arena.
Ticket holders on Sunday morning should be particularly smug, with the prospect of three field finals in the women’s triple jump & shot put and men’s long jump lying in wait.
Here’s a whizz through the top talent that will hop, skip, jump, leap and sling their way to glory at the Emirates.
You always know when the pole vault events are running – that’s when the long claps will come into their own and ring around the cauldron that is the Emirates.
Reigning Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi is a force of nature in the women’s events, upgrading her Prague silver to gold in 2017 to go to Glasgow as defending champion.
C•O•N•S•I•S•T•E•N•C•Y is my middle name. But the truth is, consistency is the?to our preparation towards big championships. Another 4.71 last night at @INDOOR_MEETING for the?together with @alysha_newman94 and Anzelika Sidorova. I’m ready for more but I can be patient pic.twitter.com/QCq9bNJUu2
— Katerina Stefanidi (@KatStefanidi) February 3, 2019
The Greek appears in fine form, opening her season with a 4.86m clearance at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on the IAAF Tour.
Standing in her way will be compatriot Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou, her closest challenger to the European outdoor title in Berlin last summer, and of course Britain’s Holly Bradshaw.
Thanks @BritAthletics for putting on such a fine competition! Thanks to all the girls who stayed + supported, was a pleasure to compete alongside you all and THANKS to the British crowd… fab as always! ?#grateful #BritishChamps #enjoythejourney pic.twitter.com/lVAoJJGppQ
— Holly Bradshaw (@HollyBradshawPV) February 10, 2019
As far as the men are concerned, the battle for the airwaves between Piotr Lisek and Renaud Lavillenie will be worth the admission price alone.
Pole Lisek, who laid down a then-world-lead 5.85m in Cottbus, Germany last month, bagged gold in Belgrade but will face an almighty challenge from class act Lavillenie.
— IAAF Diamond League (@Diamond_League) January 31, 2019
Women’s final: Sunday 3rd March, 18:05 – SOLD OUT (Grab heats seats here)
Men’s final: Saturday 2nd March, 18:10 – SOLD OUT (Grab heats seats here)
There’s no sight in athletics quite like the contortion demanded by the high jump, and the exquisite, tantalising moments where the competitor’s fate is decided by a wobbling bar.
And there’s a tasty battle emerging between Maksim Nedasekau and Gianmarco Tamberi that should come to a boil from March 1-3.
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At 21, the Belarusian is one of the brightest young talents in the sport and had a pop at a lifetime best 2.34m in early 2019, showing his confidence and intent for the year ahead.
There’s the kernel of a rivalry between the pair after Nedasekau knocked the Italian out of contention for a medal at the outdoor European Championships last year.
There’s a pair on a collision course in the women’s event as Russian world champion Mariya Lasitskene goes head-to-head with Ukraine’s Yuliya Levchenko.
Levchenko is the pretender to the crown – winning world silver in London two years ago behind Lasitskene – and has started her winter with a series of consistent clearances.
With Britain’s ever-improving Morgan Lake set to have a say, the bar is soaring in the high jump.
Women’s final: Sunday 3rd March, 19:15 – SOLD OUT (Grab heats seats here)
Men’s final: Saturday 2nd March, 18:00 – SOLD OUT (Grab heats seats here)
As the only throwing event at the European Athletics Indoor Championships, the shot put takes pride of place as a showcase of power, strength and persistence.
There are a whole host of medal contenders among the women but keep an eagle eye out for European outdoor champion Paulina Guba, perhaps the favourite to feature on the podium.
Sweden’s Fanny Roos could challenge for her first senior medal in Glasgow, sitting fourth in European lists, while reigning champion Anita Marton of Hungary can’t be discounted.
The men’s event is looking no less exciting, with plenty of potential in the tussle between Polish tyro Konrad Bukowiecki and Germany’s David Storl.
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Bukowiecki stunned on his way to gold in Belgrade at the tender age of 19, while London 2012 silver medallist Storl has a full set of gold, silver and bronze in the European indoors.
Women’s final: Sunday 3rd March, 12:20 – TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE
Men’s final: Friday 1st March, 20:35 – TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE
There will be a whole host of continental stars hoping to be peerless in the pit and pick up medals in the long jump.
Watch out for Ivana Spanovic on her return from injury – the Serbian was the outright star as she had a capacity crowd on her feet in Belgrade.
We know the dates. #letsgo!
— IvanaSpanovic (@IvanaSpaNOv1c) February 5, 2019
That performance, a lifetime best 7.24m, was the best indoor long jump since 1989 but injury kept her out of the outdoor European Championships last summer.
She’ll have a stern examination from Malaika Mihambo, who snapped up European gold in her absence and sailed to 6.94m at the ISTAF Indoor in Berlin in early February.
Women’s final: Sunday 3rd March, 18:00 – SOLD OUT (Grab heats seats here)
Men’s final: Sunday 3rd March, 11:35 – TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE