Meucci and Straneo helm Italy’s marathon team for Berlin

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Daniele Meucci will be aiming to emulate his compatriot Gelindo Bordin by becoming just the second male athlete in history to win back-to-back marathon titles at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships in August.

Italy has an exceptional record in the men’s marathon at the European Championships with five wins from the last eight editions. Bordin triumphed at both the 1986 and 1990 European Championships before Stefano Baldini won titles eight years apart in 1998 and 2006. Meucci added to the tradition in Zurich four years ago, crossing the finish-line in 2:11.08 with identical halfway splits of 65:34.

Since winning the European title in 2014, Meucci has twice finished inside the top eight at the IAAF World Championships and won a bronze medal in the half marathon at the 2016 European Championships in Amsterdam. Away from championship racing, Meucci finished sixth in the Lake Biwa Marathon this March in a 2:10:45 PB - the fourth fastest time by a European this season.

Meucci is joined on the Italian team for Berlin by Stefano La Rosa, Eyob Ghebrehiwet Faniel and Yassine Rachik. Italy missed out on a team medal by just 10 seconds in Zurich four years ago.

The outstanding name on the women’s team is Valeria Straneo, another renowned championship performer. In sweltering conditions, Straneo won her first major medal at the age of 37 with silver behind Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow five years ago.

Straneo, who holds the Italian record at 2:23:44, then won a silver medal behind France’s Christelle Daunay at the European Championships in Zurich the following year.

Straneo turned 42 earlier this month but the oldest member of the Italian team is Catherine Bertone, who will be 46 on race day. She finished sixth in the Berlin Marathon last September in a lifetime best and world over-45 record of 2:28:34.

The Italian women’s team also includes Sara Dossena, Giovanna Epis, Fatna Maraoui and Laura Gotti.

More information on the 2018 European Championships:

- The Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships will be part of the first multi-sport European Championships along with co-hosts Glasgow.

- It will be a must-watch, must-attend experience that elevates the status of European Champions, uniting existing European Championships to celebrate the highest honour in European sport and celebrating the defining moments that create Champions.

- It is the continent’s ultimate multi-sport event, an 11-day celebration of European sport staged every four years.

- Seven of Europe’s leading sports (athletics, aquatics, rowing, golf, cycling, gymnastics, triathlon) will be brought together for the first edition.

- The European Athletics Championships in Berlin will be staged 7-12 August. The six other sports will be staged in Glasgow through 2-12 August.

- 4500 athletes and 52 nations will compete across the seven sports.

- Potential TV audience of over one billion with millions more across multiple digital platforms.

- Over half a million spectators expected.

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