Top-class javelin athletes expected
When the European javelin athletes get together at the European Championships in Munich, top class competition is expected. They set the world standards and so the quality anticipated is similar to that of the Olympic games or World Championships.
Jan Zelezny (Foto: Kiefner)The Russian, Sergej Makarov, is cause for concern for the javelin world record holder Jan Zelezny. He has thrown over 90 metres on many occasions this year and raised his national record to 92.61 metres. The Czech, who has not yet won a European Championship, and has to date only been able to offer a throw which is almost five metres less (87.77 m), will put everything into winning the title.
By comparison this year, there is only the Greek Kostas Gatsiodid (91.23 m) who lies between. However, after throwing a long distance in Thessalonica his luck was short-lived and because of injury he cancelled the European Championships. The three times European master and defending champion, Britain's Steve Backley, is coming to Munich and ranks easily among the aspiring medallists. Also with medal hopes are Germans Raymond Hecht and Boris Henry, who are feeling fine about not being in the roles of favourite. Nonetheless, in their proven range of over 86 metres are Aleksandr Ivanov (RUS), Dariusz Trafas (POL) and Eriks Rags (LAT) along with other international competitors.
Hammer-throwing in Munich is wide open
Over the past few weeks Europe's hammer-throwing athletes have demonstrated 80 metre throws in mass. Consequently, the competition in the Munich Olympic stadium remains wide open. Russia's Aleskey Zagorniy, with 83.43 metres is this year's best and this distance has been upheld since February. Recently, the Hungarians, in particular, Adrian Annus (82.97 m) and Tibor Gecsek (82.45 m) and Andrej Skvaruk (82.62 m) and Vladislav Piskunov (82.23 m) from the Ukraine are shaping up as possible favourites. They cannot allow themselves any mistakes, however, as competitors are lying in wait. The Russian Ilja Konovalov, Finnish European Cup champion Olli-Pekka Karjalainen and the German former world champion Karsten Kobs are also in the running. The latter, having in the meantime gone through a weak phase, could again come close to the eighty metre mark. Wearing the home colours along with Kobs from Leverkusen are the athletes Holger Klose and Markus Esser.
Will top favourite Robert Fazekas keep his nerve?
Along with Robert Fazekas, a Hungarian is a man to be feared in the discus event. His recent discus throw of 71.70 metres on 14 July in Szombathley, put him in 4th place in the all-time ranking. In June, the German Michael Möllenbeck, No. 3 in the world championships, underpinned his ambitions during his clear win at the European Cup in Annecy and after good training period seems to be ready for the task before him. Möllenbeck from Wattenscheid will enjoy being back in the centre of German medal hopes in the absence of world champion Lars Riedel.
Nonetheless, competition is tough and is led by the Russian - Dimitri Schevchenko, Estonian - Alexander Tammert, Hungarian - Roland Varga and the Olympic champion Virgilius Alekna from Lithuania. Under certain circumstances the Frenchman Jean-Claude Retel could be cause for excitement. He set a national record this summer with 68.90 metres.
Manuel Martinez competes against Joachim Olsen once again
Indoor European champion Manuel Martinez could secure a second international gold medal in this year's shot put in Munich. Nevertheless, the Dane Joachim Olsen should not be forgotten since he may be out for revenge in Munich after his defeat in Vienna. Inspite of the defeat he still features among the best in the world with 21.57 metres – 10 centimetres more than the Spaniard. Amongst the European athletes this summer the Ukrainian Yuri Belonog (21.13 m) the Finns Arsi Harju (21.11 m) and Ville Tiisanoja (21.09 m) have all shot over the 21 metre mark. Ralf Bartels from Neubrandeburg, with a personal best of 20.85 metres, has the best chance in the competition from the German perspective.