European Team Championships: Ones to watch

European Team Championships

Venue:
Stockholm
Date:
18-19 June
Coverage:
Watch live from 1345 BST on BBC One (Saturday) and on BBC Two (Sunday). Also live on the BBC Sport website (UK users only)
Get involved:
Use Twitter via hashtag #BBCAthletics
Dai Greene
British captain Dai Greene will be looking to get Team GB off to a perfect start in the 400m hurdles, the opening event on the track.

Saturday

1355 BST: Men's 400m hurdles

Welshman Dai Greene enjoyed a stellar 2010, winning both the European and Commonwealth titles. The British captain has the chance to set the team's tone for the weekend by taking maximum points in the first race on the Stockholm track.

Greene looks a class above in this company. The 25-year-old has run the three fastest times by a European this season and is over a second quicker on paper than the Ukraine's Stanislav Melnykov, who took European bronze last year. Former world indoor bronze medallist Aleksandr Derevyagin, of Russia, and German youngster Georg Fleischhauer are other threats to Greene.

1433 BST: Women's 800m

Jenny Meadows

Five world-class athletes line up for what promises to be one of the highlights of the women's programme. Britain's world and European bronze medallist Jenny Meadows claimed world indoor silver in the spring. The 30-year-old was fifth in Oslo's Diamond League meeting earlier this month, when she registered a sub-two minute time for a fifth successive season.

Russia's Mariya Savinova became the Queen of Europe last summer with a classy display in Barcelona, adding to her world and European indoor titles. She is lightly raced in 2011 but blew away any cobwebs with a second-place finish in Oslo.

Ukraine's Lilya Lobanova was relatively unknown before the start of this season. That all changed when she broke the two-minute barrier for the first time in her career at the end of May to shoot straight to the top of the 2011 standings. The 25-year-old has now slipped to third but remains Europe's number one. The returning Italian Elisa Cusma-Piccione is also expected to figure.

1429 BST: Women's javelin

Goldie Sayers is ranked only fifth of the 12 women in the javelin. The 28-year-old Briton is yet to hit top form in 2011 but will at least be expecting to set a season's best.

Olympic silver medallist Mariya Abakumova won Rome's Diamond League meeting last month and the Russian has consistently been throwing over 65m this campaign. Barbara Spotakova could be peaking at the right time; the Olympic champion set a season's best of 65.77m in her native Czech Republic at the start of the week, while Germany's Christina Obergfoll has won this title three times.

1436 BST: Men's high jump

Russia have an embarrassment of riches in this event and have controversially decided to select Aleksey Dmitrik ahead of their respective Olympic, world and European champions. Dmitrik, the 2009 European indoor silver medallist, has been the form jumper of 2011 and leads the world standings following his lifetime best leap of 2.35m in Spain at the start of the month.

Germany's Raul Spank will be favourite to capitalise should Dmitrik fail to shine in the spotlight. The 22-year-old world bronze medallist is already a Diamond League winner this term, having taken the honours in Eugene. The Czech Republic's Jaroslav Baba and Ukraine's Dmytro Demyanyuk are both 2.30m-plus jumpers on their day. Samson Oni competes for Britain.

1448 BST: Men's 100m

Christophe Lemaitre & Mark Lewis-Francis

Dwain Chambers is looking to seal a hat-trick of 100m titles in this event after taking the spoils for Great Britain in both 2009 and 2010. The 33-year-old was forced to produce a season's best of 9.99 seconds last year to hold off young French sensation Christophe Lemaitre in Norway. Lemaitre went on to take European gold in Barcelona just one month later, when Chambers could only finish fifth.

The two men are once again the standout names in this year's line-up and own the continent's top five times between them. Lemaitre, who is also competing in the 200m, is the sole European to have dipped below 10 seconds over the shorter sprint this campaign and will begin as favourite.

Portugal's former European champion and 2004 Olympic silver medallist Francis Obikwelu may not be producing the times of yesteryear but is still a force. Poland's Dariusz Kuc set a new lifetime best of 10.15 seconds last weekend.

1523 BST: Women's 400m hurdles

Three of the rising stars in this event are European, including Britain's European bronze medallist Perri Shakes-Drayton. The upbeat 22-year-old east Londoner is looking to use the race as a further step towards the Olympic Games on her own doorstep next year.

Her best result of 2011 to date came when second to the Czech Republic's Zuzana Hejnova. The top trio is completed by 21-year-old Ukrainian Hanna Titimets, who set a new lifetime best of 54.69 just last month. Russia's European champion Natalya Antyukh has been way off her 2010 pace to date.

1606 BST: Women's 400m

Shana Cox makes her eagerly-anticipated debut in a British vest after switching allegiance from the USA. The 26-year-old ran her fastest time for three years in Puerto Rico last month, which placed her fourth in the European rankings. Antonina Yefremova, new European indoor champion Denisa Scerbova-Rosolova and Svetlana Usovich are the three athletes above her.

Russia's Kseniya Zadorina and former European champion Muriel Hurtis-Houairi of France will also fancy their chances.

Sunday

1349 BST: Men's 110m hurdles

Andy Turner is another of Britain's European champions from last year who is competing in Stockholm. He lines up against several of the rivals he beat en route to gold in Barcelona, and few would bet against him making it a third successive win in this event. To emphasise his dominance over his continental rivals, the 30-year-old has set five of the six best times in Europe this season.

Frenchman Darien Garfield won silver behind Turner last summer and is expected to head the chasing pack. Poland's Artur Noga and Russia's Konstantin Shabanov are emerging talents.

1402 BST: Men's pole vault

Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie and Germany's Malte Mohr are two of the best pole vaulters in the world and it promises to be quite a tussle between them, with Britain's Steve Lewis part of an able supporting cast.

European champion Lavillenie won both the 2009 and 2010 editions of this competition and has started 2011 in fine form, winning Rome's Diamond League meeting and clearing 5.83m in his native France. Mohr was a Diamond League winner in Doha in May, but both he and Lavillenie failed to register a height in wet and windy conditions in the New York leg of the series last week. Ukraine's Maksym Mazuryk won European silver last year and has enjoyed top-three finishes in his three Diamond League events this year.

1444 BST: Women's 100m hurdles

Tiffany Ofili-Porter competes for Great Britain at her first European Team Championships. The American-born athlete is quickly winning the hearts of her adopted nation. Not only is she Europe's number one this season but she's also making waves on the global stage. She beat Lolo Jones and Perdita Felician amongst others on her way to third place at New York's Diamond League meeting last weekend.

Her main rival for maximum points comes from Belarusian Alina Talay, who at 22 is only one year Ofili-Porter's junior. Spain's Josephine Oniya, German starlet Cindy Roleder and Lucie Skrobakova of the Czech Republic, the winner of this race two years ago, should all provide stiff competition.

1544 BST: Women's 5000m

This is possibly the most intriguing of all the distance races taking place over the course of the weekend. Spain's Dolores Checa is the only European athlete to have broken the 15-minute barrier in 2011. She did so in a fiercely-contested Diamond League meeting in Oslo but that sort of time is not expected to be run in Stockholm. That would bring several other athletes into the equation, including 37-year-old Briton Helen Clitheroe, whose career is enjoying a renaissance.

The Preston Harrier lost her lottery funding last year but responded by winning the European indoor 3000m title in Paris in March, beating several of the athletes who line up against her in Stockholm, including Russian national champion Olesya Syreva. Former European 3000m steeplechase bronze medallist Wioletta Frankiewicz and Portugal's Dulce Felix should both be in contention.

1652 BST: Men's 4 x400m relay

The climax to the championships has delivered some memorable tussles over the years. Great Britain has a fine heritage in the event, with several victories over the years. Fourteen years ago, Roger Black, Jamie Baulch, Ewan Thomas and Mark Richardson won in a time of 2:59.46, which to this day remains a championship record.

Russia won the race 12 months ago but Germany, France and Poland have been Britain's traditional rivals in recent years.

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