Today marks 50 days to go until the Silesia 2023 European Athletics Team Championships...and it will be like no other event you have ever seen before!
A look ahead to Silesia 2023
For the first time in the event's history - including the European Cup which was held between 1965 and 2008 - all divisions of the European Athletics Team Championships will be held under one roof and in the same venue this year.
The European Athletics Team Championships will take place over six days from 20-25 June in conjunction with the third edition of the 2023 European Games in Krakow-Malopolska in Poland, which looks set to bring together 7000 sportspeople across 29 sports.
The Championships has been streamlined from four to three divisions with the Third Division to occupy the morning sessions from 20-22 June, the Second Division will take place in the evening sessions of 20-22 June, before the First Division - which will be comprised of 16 teams including hosts Poland - takes centre stage in the primetime evening session slots from 23-25 June.
Fittingly, the championships will conclude with the newly introduced mixed 4x400m, the event in which hosts Poland were crowned inaugural Olympic champions in Tokyo 2020.
The Poles will be looking to achieve their third successive victory at the European Athletics Team Championships and one of their prospective stars Anita Wlodarczyk - the world hammer record-holder and three-time Olympic champion - was part of a ceremony to light the Flame of Peace in Rome in early April.
"It's really emotional to be part of this ceremony and the passing of the flame. We will now take it to Poland. I was at the Olympic Games several times and now have the chance to compete in a European Games so it's even more important to be part of such a ceremony,” said Wlodarczyk.
All three divisions of the European Athletics Team Championships will be streamed live through the European Athletics website.
Stadion Śląski by Marta Gorczyńska
A look back at Silesia 2021
Poland retained their overall title at the 2021 European Athletics Team Championships which was also held in Silesia and the first major event since the coronavirus pandemic to take place with spectators.
Ten victories across the weekend propelled Poland to back-to-back titles with 181.5 points albeit by a very narrow margin ahead of Italy (179 points) and Great Britain & NI (174).
The Italians achieved their best ever finish at the European Athletics Team Championships two years ago but what might have been had soon-to-be Olympic champions Lamont Marcell Jacobs and Gianmarco Tamberi not pulled out with injuries on the eve of the event?
Perennial podium finishers Germany had to be content with fourth-place overall in 2021 but javelin powerhouse Johannes Vetter produced the performance of the weekend, obliterating the championship record in the javelin with 96.29m - the third longest throw in history behind his lifetime best of 97.76m and Jan Zelezny’s enduring world record of 98.48m.
This was one of four championship records to be set in Silesia alongside German teammate Christin Hussong winning the women’s javelin with 69.19m, Poland’s Pawel Fajdek winning the hammer with 82.98m and Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa clocking 13:17.23 in the 5000m.
Other highlights included Pia Skrzyszowska, who had only just turned 20, winning both the 100m and 100m hurdles - the first athlete in history to win such a double at the European Athletics Team Championships or the European Cup - and Natalia Kaczmarek winning the individual 400m before anchoring the hosts to victory in the 4x400m.
Steven Mills for European Athletics