Men’s throws: Estonia's KIRT is threat to Germany's javelin domination
BERLIN - The men's javelin should be one of the marquee events of the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships, with Germany's heralded trio of Thomas ROHLER, Johannes VETTER and Andreas HOFFMAN facing Estonia's in-form Magnus KIRT in front of their home crowd.
ROHLER won the Rio 2016 Olympic title, VETTER took gold at the London 2017 World Championships, and HOFFMAN joined his colleagues as a 92-metre thrower in June this year with a personal best of 92.06m.
KIRT has never won a medal at a major event, but the 28-year-old threw a national record of 88.73m in June, improving it to 89.75m when he beat HOFFMAN and ROHLER at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rabat, the latest in a sequence of victories over the Olympic champion.
ROHLER became the second longest thrower of all time at the 2017 Doha Diamond League meeting when he achieved 93.90m, but VETTER later moved above him on the all-time rankings with 94.44m.
When the pair met at this year's Doha Diamond League meet, ROHLER won, but they finished behind winner HOFFMAN in the German championships at Nuremburg.
VETTER started this season brilliantly, and tops this year's world rankings with 92.70m, but he suffered a thigh injury on 5 June.
Jakub VADLEJCH will be another threat to the Germans. The Czech won silver at the 2017 world championships.
Germany will also be strong in the men's discus, with Robert HARTING competing for the last time at the stadium where he won his first world title in 2009.
The 33-year-old - who collected further world golds in 2011 and 2013, and European titles either side of his London 2012 Olympic victory - has announced this will be his final competition.
HARTING only narrowly qualified after finishing third in the national championships, while his younger brother, Christoph, who succeeded him as Olympic champion in Rio, qualified easily with 66.98m, just short of his season's best of 67.59m.
The HARTINGS face serious competition from Sweden's Daniel STAHL, Lithuania’s world champion Andrius GUDZIUS, Austrian record-holder Lukas WEISSHAIDINGER, and their German team-mate, Daniel JASINSKI.
Estonia's Gerd KANTER, the 39-year-old Beijing 2008 Olympic champion, is also in the field, as is Poland's defending champion, the double Olympic silver medallist and 2015 world champion, Piotr MALACHOWSKI.
In the shot put, Germany's David STORL is seeking a fourth consecutive title. The 28-year-old policeman, who won world titles in 2011 and 2013, will do well to arrest the progress of Michal HARATYK, the 26-year-old who leads the continental rankings with his Polish record of 22.08m. Aleksandr LESNOY (ANA) and the Czech Republic's Tomas STANEK will also be contenders.
The men's hammer is expected to be an-all Polish affair, with defending champion Pawel FAJDEK facing tough opposition from team-mate Wojciech NOWICKI who leads the world lists.
Britain's Nick MILLER is ranked third in Europe this year after winning the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games title with a national record.
CNS content is available free of charge to all media. No copyright restrictions apply.