Events & Meetings



Four months ago, when Prague staged the European Athletics Indoor Championships, Konrad Bukowiecki, Morgan Lake and Florentina Marincu showed how well they can mix it with the seniors. Now, here in Eskilstuna, they have the chance to strengthen their claims to be the best for their age group.

The trio are among the biggest names and strongest favourites at the 23rd European Athletics Junior Championships which start on Thursday.

Polish shot putter Bukowiecki, 18, learned a great deal from Prague where he finished sixth in the final with a distance of 20.46m, repeating his performance from the qualifying competition when he had broken the European Athletics junior indoor record.

Now for more glory with the outdoor record with the 6kg shot as one of his targets. It stands at 22.73m and was set in 2009 by German David Storl, the Prague champion.

Bukowiecki, 18, said: 'My main aim is to win gold, if I get close to the European record, it will be great. Finishing sixth in Prague at my age was not bad, maybe in the future I will finish first.'

For Bukowiecki and Lake, it is also another opportunity to bring more gold to the table, a year after winning the world junior crown.

Lake, 19, is the latest in the brilliant Great Britain production line of multi-eventers, following in the footsteps of Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who won pentathlon gold in Prague.

But this time Lake is concentrating on the single event, the high jump, and she is excited by the challenge.

Along with the heptathlon, she won the world junior title in the high jump too and in Prague, was ninth in the pentathlon in a personal best of 4527 points, in what is proving another great year for her.

Lake, 18, who has taken her personal best to 1.94m during this outdoor season, said: 'The objective is to come and win a medal. I am really looking forward to it - I enjoy the high jump the most.'

The women's long jump in Prague was quite an event for Romanian Marincu, 19, who left with the bronze medal after leaping to a brilliant distance of 6.79m.

It was some performance from the teenager, a personal best and the target this week is for more glory and more individual bests.

She has set herself the target at the Ekängen Arena of breaking her outdoor personal record of 6.71m and she said: 'I would like to do a personal best and win gold.'

If she jumps that far, she probably will. Marincu, is also entered in the triple jump and could potential achieve something incredible by winning both horizontal jumps.

Naturally, it is a huge four days for the host nation and Sweden's athletes are ready to embrace every moment of it.

Javelin thrower Simon Litzell, 18, is top of this year's European Athletics junior rankings with his national junior record of 78.37m.

But he is looking beyond that - and to an even bigger barrier.

Speaking today, Litzell said: 'I have the longest throw on paper but I want to throw over 80m. If not this season, then next.

'It is a dream number, and then you can compete with the seniors.

'I have been working on my physique and I have done a lot of strength training. I am very excited about the championships.'

All 1038 athletes entered to compete are strongly recommended to take part in the anti-doping education programme held at the Ekängen Stadium throughout the week. Just as it was during last week's European Athletics Under-23 Championships in Tallinn.

The participating athletes are invited to complete a quiz on their knowledge of doping control regulations. Those who successfully complete the quiz receive a t-shirt with the slogans of the programme – I Run Clean, I Jump Clean, I Throw Clean, I Walk Clean.

A Twitter campaign using the hashtags #irunclean, #ijumpclean, #ithrowclean and #iwalkclean is being used to promote the programme and help raise awareness about the dangers of doping.

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