With the World Athletics Championships returning to European soil in Budapest this summer, there is massive motivation for the continent’s finest throwers to set down a marker of intent at this weekend’s European Throwing Cup in Leiria, Portugal.
- Final entries for the European Throwing Cup 2023.
The women’s disciplines will see a typical depth of proven championship quality across the board, with athletes raring to go and check progress from a hard winter’s training.
In the women’s javelin, the gold and silver medallists from last year’s European Athletics Championships in Munich will be looking to launch their seasons in style in Leiria. As two of the most exciting throws prospects worldwide, Elina Tzengko of Greece and Adriana Vilagos of Serbia, are expected to put on a great show.
Aged just 19, Tzengko became the youngest ever gold medallist in the javelin at the European Championships last year, with Vilagos, just a year younger, taking silver. A year older and likely stronger, it should be a fascinating contest to kick off 2023.
Munich medallists reunite in high-quality hammer field
The women’s hammer throw will see a full-scale reunion of the medallists from Munich in action. Gold medallist Bianca Ghelber of Romania, silver medallist Ewa Rozanska of Poland and bronze medallist Sara Fantini of Italy are all in a high-quality field.
Schilder aims to go one better in Leiria
World bronze and European gold medallist Jessica Schilder of the Netherlands will be seeking to bounce back from a disappointing result at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul, where she finished fifth. The Dutchwoman was second in this same competition last year and will be looking to go one better this time.
In the absence of Auriol Dongmo, who successfully defended her European Indoor Championships at the weekend, Jessica Inchude – fourth in Istanbul - will lead Portugal’s challenge in the shot.
Could there be a home medal in the discus?
The women’s discus is teeming with pedigree. And local hopes will be pinned on Portugal’s Liliana Ca. The Olympic, World and European finalist won this event in Split, Croatia, in 2021, but was third in Leiria last year.
Her opposition includes 2022 winner Daisy Osakue of Italy, three-times European bronze medallist Shanice Craft of Germany and France’s experienced Melina Robert-Michon, a former Olympic silver medallist and three-time winner at the European Throwing Cup (2014, 2016 and 2017).
Craft has already showed her prowess this year, setting a new world best for the rarely contested indoor discus in Berlin in February with 65.23m and will be seeking to translate her form outdoors.
Mori, Ndubuisi and Alanen among favourites for under-23 title
Since its introduction to the event in 2007, the under-23 competition has provided an excellent development opportunity and this weekend promises to be no different.
Among the names to watch are Italy’s Rachele Mori – winner of the women’s hammer throw at last year’s World under 20 Championships, Germany’s 2021 European under 20 bronze medallist Nina Ndubuisi in the shot put and Finland’s 2021 European under 20 bronze medallist Anni-Linnea Alanen in the javelin.
The European Throwing Cup (Senior A events and selected other events) will be live streamed with English-language commentary on the European Athletics YouTube channel.
Chris Broadbent for European Athletics