With the 2017 track season about to come to an end, many of Europe’s top athletes have already set their sights on next summer and the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.
The championship, part of the first multi-sport European Championships being held in conjunction with the Scottish city of Glasgow, will be the biggest event on the sport’s 2018 calendar for European athletes, and none more so than for two hurdlers who made a significant breakthrough over the barriers this year and stood on the podium at the IAAF World Championships London 2017.
Norway’s 400m hurdles gold medallist Karsten Warholm knows now that instead of being the underdog, in the German capital he is likely to have a target on his back.
“I feel really good about Berlin but the thing is now I need to calm down and get my feet on the ground. I have to remember that there is going to be a very good competition there and I will have to be at my best to even take a medal there,” said the 21-year-old former world U18 octathlon champion who has made an immediate impact in his first serious season hurdling.
Photo: Warholm (NOR) after he realizes he has become world champion in London 2017
“But that’s what I like about it [the European Athletics Championships]; and with two Europeans on the podium for the 400m hurdles in London, I think it will be a good competition for the crowds, hurdling is very crowd-friendly.”
Turkey’s world championships silver medallist and reigning European champion Yasmani Copello will no doubt be aiming to defend his continental crown with vigour so, as Warholm suggested, the 400m hurdles in Berlin could be one of the highlights of the six days of competition there
However, the Norwegian hopes to have some time relax and enjoy the six sports being staged in Glasgow, not least golf especially as the 2018 European Championships will see the European Golf Team Championship staged for the first time.
“I like golf and if Norwegians are doing well in the other sports, I hope I will have the time to be watching what they are doing on the TV but, regardless, I hope the multi-sport European Championships is a successful project and goes from strength-to-strength.”
Hungary’s world championships 110m hurdles bronze medallist Bálazs Baji has his sights set on leaving Berlin with a gold medal around his neck as well.
“After silver at the 2016 European Athletics Championships] in Amsterdam last year and bronze in London this summer, I am starting to think about taking the gold finally and I believe I have the potential to win in the European Championships but the field in the 110m hurdles is really strong so just making the podium is tough.
“It [the Olympic Stadium in Berlin] is a beautiful stadium, full of history. It’s got nice facilities for athletes, old and new at the same time. I’ve really enjoyed competing there anytime I have been there in the past and the crowd is amazing.
“I am also going to enjoy watching the other sports in the European Championships as well.
“Hungary has got some great swimmers, so I hope I have the time to watch them. Obviously, as we are in Berlin and they are in Glasgow, I will be watching them on TV but I am sure I will feel the vibes,” added Baji, who also won the World University Games 110m hurdles gold medal in August.
Source: European Athletics