26 July 12:05 (BST)

German athletes ready to take on Europe's elite at Berlin 2018

BERLIN - Hosts Germany will provide a stiff challenge to Europe's leading track and field athletes, as well as a fond farewell to a former world and Olympic champion, after naming a strong team for the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.

Germany won five gold medals at the 2016 European Championships in Amsterdam, and their 128-strong team includes all five returning champions: David STORL (shot put), Christina SCHWANITZ (shot put), Max HESS (triple jump), Cindy ROLEDER (100m hurdles) and Gesa Felicitas KRAUSE (3000m steeplechase).

STORL will be looking to win his fourth successive European outdoor title in the shot put, while SCHWANITZ is aiming for her third in a row. The 32-year-old SCHWANITZ missed the 2017 season on maternity leave but returned to 20m-plus form at the German Championships in Nuremberg earlier this month and leads the European outdoor lists by nearly one metre with her winning effort of 20.06m.

There will be high hopes for medals also in the men's javelin in which the hosts could secure a clean sweep. World champion Johannes VETTER (with a throw of 92.70m), recently crowned German champion Andreas HOFMANN (92.06m) and Thomas ROEHLER (91.78m) lead the 2018 world lists, although Estonia's Magnus KIRT (89.75m) and Czech Republic's Jakub VADLEJCH (89.02m) will be looking to challenge the German trio.

Olympic discus champion Christoph HARTING secured his place on the team with victory at the German Championships. He will be joined by his fellow Rio 2016 Olympic Games medallist Daniel JASINSKI, who took bronze in the same event.

Christoph's older brother Robert HARTING will bid farewell to major championships competition at Berlin 2018 - in the same Olympic Stadium where he won the discus world title in 2009. Three times world champion (Berlin 2009, Daegu 2011 and Moscow 2013) and gold medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games, the 33-year-old has announced that he will retire at the end of this season.

The 2017 IAAF World Championships bronze medallist Pamela DUTKIEWICZ will be looking to continue her recent good form in the 100m hurdles, while world heptathlon silver medallist Carolin SCHAEFER and world decathlon bronze medallist Kai KAZMIREK are the top names in the multi-events.

The Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships take place from 7-12 August.

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