14 Dec 2016

German athletics stars get behind Berlin 2018

Germany’s top athletics stars have given a big boost to the European Athletics Championships Berlin 2018, part of the inaugural European Championships that brings together the top seven Olympic sports, and they have committed to competing in front of their home fans.

Rio 2016 Olympic Games discus winner Christoph Harting, a member of the local SCC Berlin athletics club, is among those who have already pencilled it into his diary. “I am already looking forward to the European Championships in Berlin,” said the German giant earlier this month, expecting to be supporters by many of his family and friends.

His older brother, 2012 Olympic champion and three-time world champion Robert Harting has also publicly lent his support to Berlin 2018.

Harting famously won the 2009 world title in the same Olympic Stadium that will play host to these championships in two years’ time.

Steeplechaser Gesa Felicitas-Krause was one of five German winners at this summer’s European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam and is another well-known face who is sure to feature prominently in the publicity as the championships get closer.

Defending my European 3000m steeplechase title in Berlin in 2018 is my big long-term goal, and it will definitely be a great party in the city as well.

“Even when I think about it now, I still get excited when l remember the 2009 world championships. I was still a little girl but I found the world championships and the mood terrific,” added Krause, who will celebrate her 26th birthday just the week before the championships get underway.

Carolin Schäfer just missed out on a medal in Rio when she finished fifth in the heptathlon but the 2008 world junior and 2009 European junior champion is planning on given her friends and family plenty to cheer about over the two days of her event.

"I’ve had enough of fourth and fifth places and I want to win my first international medal (as a senior) by Berlin 2018 at the latest; and I think I can be on the podium there although I think that a new personal best performance will be necessary for this,” commented Schäfer.

Her current best of 6557 point was set at the famous Gotzis multi-events meeting in Austria earlier this year and she is targeting going over 6600 points in 2017 and then another improvement the following year.

"I think all of Germany will come together when Berlin stages the European Championships and that will give me goose bumps. This home advantage can be exactly the factor that has been lacking so far (in her senior career),” she added.

Another German star who has already said that the European Athletics Championships Berlin 2018 figure strongly in his plans is 2016 Olympic javelin champion Thomas Röhler.

Röhler wants to extend the championship record in his event beyond 90 metres, the current mark of 89.72m being held by Great Britain’s Steve Backley since 1998.