European Indoor Athletics Championships – British stars to watch

The opening of the European Indoor Athletics Championships kicked off last night with British athletes excelling in a session of qualifying rounds and heats.

The 36th biennial event is taking place in Torun, Poland, with finals taking place from today until Sunday.

Europe’s leading 800m athlete Keely Hodgkinson, 2018 World Indoor 60m champion Andrew Pozzi, and 2019 European Indoor silver medallist Holly Bradshaw are among the headlining names who will compete this weekend.

The likes of Dina Asher-Smith, Elliot Giles and Laura Muir will be missing out to focus on this year’s delayed Olympics, but that makes way for more Olympic hopefuls in the 46-strong British team, such as Jamie Webb and Morgan Lake, to make their mark at this competition.

Who are the ones to watch?

European Indoor silver medallist in 2019, Webb goes into the 800m with the quickest time of those competing with 1:44.54, which he clocked in Torun last month behind Europe’s best Giles.

This moved Webb to second on the UK all-time indoor 800m list, and he is likely to pull off a similar form this weekend.

Guy Learmonth will be joining Webb in the 800m, having improved his indoor PB this season with 1:46.73, but both Brits will face a serious challenge from Poland’s Adam Kszczot and Sweden’s Andreas Kramer.

Hodgkinson smashed the U20 record in Vienna last month to record 1:59.03 to top Britain’s U20 all-time standings in the 800m.

She will be making her senior debut at the Europeans, and goes in well over a second faster on the others entered in this race.

Olympic finalist Joanna Jóźwik, who has won a medal in this event before, will be keen to make the most of home advantage though.

In the men’s 60m hurdles, Pozzi goes in second fastest of the line-up this year at 7.51 and is the favourite to win but will face Wilheim Belocian, who tops the 2021 European rankings.

Tiffany Porter features in the female equivalent and is also second on European standings after clocking 7.89 in the US earlier this year.

Her younger sister Cindy Sember, who ran 7.89 herself in 2016 when she finished fourth in the Olympics, has ran 8.01 this winter but could still join her sister in the final if she gets under 8.00.

Bradshaw has shown fine form in the pole vault this indoor season and cleared her highest bar in nine years last month.

Her 4.85m clearance was only two centimetres off her personal best, giving her a great chance of claiming European gold.

Lake goes into the women’s high jump joint second in the 2021 European rankings, after clearing 1.96m in Budapest in February, which doubled up as an Olympic qualifying standard. A repeat of that standard is likely to get her a medal.

Holly Mills enters the competition following a lifetime best score of 4557 points in the pentathlon last month, placing her fifth on the UK all-time list.

Herne Hill’s Katie Snowden will also be competing in the 1500m alongside Holly Archer.

Thursday night’s round up:

Yesterday evening’s qualification events in both track and field saw many British athletes secure places into the finals this weekend, including all three 3000m women.

Amy-Eloise Markovc stayed out of trouble in the first heat, breaking to lead at the bell and finished strongly in a time of 8:56.26.

Markovc arrived in Poland on the back of setting a British record of 9:30.69 in the 2-miles indoor last month in New York.

Verity Ockenden and Amelia Quirk followed suit in the second heat, with Quirk setting the pace from the off in only her second-ever indoor race.

Quirk continued to lead a breakaway that included her British compatriot, and was able to achieve a personal best of 8:53.21 in fourth, while Ockendon took an impressive second in 8:52.60.

The pair were promoted to first and second following disqualifications.

In the men’s long jump, Jacob Fincham-Dukes narrowly qualified for tonight’s final with a jump of 7.74m.

He will be looking to build on his recent 8.08m jump at Lee Valley that put him fourth in the UK all-time indoor rankings.

The men’s 1500m final is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the competition, with Brits Piers Copeland and Neil Gourley both qualifying on Thursday.

Copeland appeared in his Great British debut in the heats last night, clocking a time of 3:38.88 to take second.

Gourley had to face race favourite Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the third heat, but qualified comfortably in first place in 3:39.84 followed by the Norwegian.

In the women’s shot put, there was frustration for Amelia Strickler and Sophie McKinna as they missed out on qualification to the final, as did Joel Khan in the men’s high jump.

Timetable of finals:

Friday, 5 March

18:06: Women’s Shot Put

19:20: Men’s Long Jump

19:35: Men’s Shot Put

19:45: Women’s 800m Pentathlon

20:00: Women’s 3000m

20:35: Men’s 1500m

Saturday, 6 March

17:45: Women’s Pole Vault

18:40: Women’s Long Jump

18:50: Women’s 1500m

19:10: Men’s 400m

19:15: Women’s 400m

19:58: Men’s 60m

Sunday, 7 March

09:50: Men’s Triple Jump

10:25: Men’s High Jump

16:00: Men’s 60m Hurdles

16:05: Men’s Pole Vault

16:15: Women’s 60m Hurdles

16:20: Women’s Triple Jump

16:30: Men’s 1000m Heptathlon

16:45: Women’s High Jump

16:52: Men’s 3000m

17:13: Women’s 800m

17:25: Men’s 800m

17:46: Women’s 60m

17:57: Men’s 4 x 400m Relay

18:10: Women’s 4 x 400m Relay

All of these events can be watched on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app.

You can check out SWL’s coverage of the European Indoor Athletics Championships and all British involvement here.

Featured image credit: MarkHaz88 via Wiki Commons License: CC-BY-SA4.0

Related Articles