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Banska Bystrica calling! 100 days until the European Athletics U18 Championships

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  • Banska Bystrica calling! 100 days until the European Athletics U18 Championships

In 100 days’ time, the next generation of superstars will enjoy their first glimpse of major international competition at the fourth edition of the European Athletics U18 Championships in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia from 18-21 July. 

The event takes place in the DUKLA Stadium and will be just the second time Slovakia has hosted a major European event after Samorin staged the 2017 SPAR European Cross Country Championships.

Every session of the European Athletics U18 Championships - staged on a track installed by European Athletics Partner Conica three years ago who will have the status of Preferred Supplier in Banska Bystrica - will be streamed live through the European Athletics website on the Eurovision Sport platform.

n-depth and comprehensive coverage of the championships will be provided on the European Athletics website and across all the European Athletics social media channels. 


Who to watch in Banska Bystrica?

Italy has another diamond in the rough in the long jump in the form of Daniele Inzoli who is one of the forerunners to succeed compatriot Mattia Furlani as European U18 champion even though he will still be only 15 at the time of competition.

But despite his young age, Inzoli is already on the radar of aficionados of the event. Inzoli jumped 7.48m last year at the age of 14 and at the Italian Indoor U18 Championships this winter, he leapt out to an outright lifetime best of 7.62m to win the title.

Romania’s Alexandra Stefania Uta was the youngest medallist at last year’s European Athletics U20 Championships when she won bronze in the 400m hurdles at the age of 15. Now 16 - and she will still be 16 on race day this August - Uta will be a gold medal contender regardless of which event she chooses in Banska Bystrica.

During her breakthrough season last year, Uta clocked outstanding times both in the 400m flat (52.42) and 56.31 in the 400m hurdles (56.31).

Also watch out for Great Britain’s Phoebe Gill to continue her country’s outstanding tradition in the women’s middle distance events in Banska Bystrica. 

Only 16, Gill clocked a British U17 800m record of 2:01.50 last year and also won the Commonwealth U18 title in 2:02.30. These times would have been highly competitive for medals at the European Athletics U20 Championships which were held at the same time as the Commonwealth U18 Games.

Her teammate Lyla Belshaw clocked 4:16.37 for 1500m last summer at the age of 15 and also warrants a mention on the topic of prospective gold medallists later this year.

And there could be a rare gold medal for Estonia in the sprints. Only 16, Miia Ott finished sixth in the 100m final at the European Athletics U20 Championships and led off the 4x100m team which set a national senior record of 44.21 at the European Athletics Team Championships First League in Silesia last June.


A brief history of the championships

And while the last edition of the European Athletics U18 Championships are still relatively fresh in the memory, the class of Jerusalem 2022 have already made an indelible impact at senior level.

Only two weeks after winning the European U18 high jump title, Serbia’s Angelina Topic came away with a bronze at the Munich 2022 European Athletics Championships at the age of 17 before graduating to become the 2023 European Athletics women’s Rising Star.

Mattia Furlani won a memorable long jump/high jump double at the 2022 European Athletics U18 Championships and the Italian - who landed European U20 long jump gold with a championship record of 8.23m last summer before winning silver at the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships - will be looking to emulate Topic with a medal at the European Athletics Championships in Rome from 7-12 June. 

Dutch wonder-kid Niels Laros also announced himself to a wider audience by winning a 1500/3000m double at the 2022 European Athletics U18 Championships. He excelled on his senior debut at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest last summer by reaching the final at the age of 18 and setting a Dutch record of 3:31.25. 

At the second edition of the European Athletics U18 Championships in Györ in 2018, a 16-year-old Yaroslava Mahuchikh cleared a lifetime best and still-standing championship record of 1.94m in the high jump while her Ukrainian teammate Mykhailo Kokhan won the hammer with a world U18 best of 87.82m with the 5kg implement - the longest throw ever achieved in the hammer.

The most successful, as well as busiest, athlete of the championships was arguably Spain's Maria Vicente who came away with two gold medals for posterity. After winning the heptathlon title by almost 600 points with a world U18 best of 6221 points, the Spaniard bounded out to 13.95m in the last round of the triple jump final to add a second gold medal to her collection. 

Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson also kicked to victory in the 800m ahead of Ireland’s Sophie O’Sullivan whose teammate Sarah Healy - who now trains with Hodgkinson under the tutelage of Trevor Painter - also impressed with a 1500/3000m double. In a memorable championships for Ireland, Rhasidat Adeleke also came away with the 200m title at the age of 15. 

And at the inaugural European Athletics U18 Championships in Tbilisi, Ukraine’s Alina Shukh won a thrilling heptathlon from Austria’s Sarah Lagger with both athletes breaking the previous world U18 best with scores of 6186 points and 6175 points respectively.

Other notable champions in the Georgian capital included Great Britain’s George Mills in the men’s 800m, Greece’s Emmanouil Karalis in the pole vault and France’s Cyrena Samba-Mayela who was part of France’s gold medal-winning team in the medley relay.  

Steven Mills for European Athletics


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