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European Athletics 2010: Mark Butler's predictions

European Athletics Championships 2010
Venue: Barcelona Dates: 27 July - 1 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC HD, BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Sport website (UK users only); Live coverage on BBC Radio 5 live; Highlights of the biggest events on demand online (UK only) Full details

Farah targets Euro gold

By Mark Butler
BBC Sport's athletics statistician

One of my early memories of televised athletics was the wonderful finish to the 1974 European 10,000m, where Tony Simmons so nearly took a gold medal on the first night of the championships.

As an excited 14-year-old, I recorded David Coleman's commentary of the finish on a C60 cassette and played it again and again.

For a moment it looked as if Britain would claim it's first ever European title in that event, but after 28 minutes of running Tony fell short by three hundredths of a second.

Nevertheless his silver set the team off to an excellent championships, and the team was welcomed home by a record crowd at the seminal "Coke" international meeting at Crystal Palace which brought a new level of popularity to athletics.

Thirty-six years later, our men are still waiting for that first 10,000m gold and here we are again at the start of a European Championships. This time we have two contenders - Mohamed Farah and Chris Thompson - who are more than 30 seconds quicker than the rest of the field this year.

One of them could make British distance running history, take gold, and lift the entire team for the week ahead.

Four years ago in Gothenburg the British showing was moderate, with just one gold from the relay on the last day, which was regrettably overshadowed by the controversy surrounding Dwain Chambers on his return from a doping ban.

In the intervening years Britain have fared well at championships; in Osaka 2007 they could claim three unofficial European champions - athletes who were the highest-placed Europeans in their event at the World Championships.

In Beijing 2008 it was five, then in Berlin at last year's Worlds there were as many as 11 events where the first European home was British.

But being the top European in the world and winning the European title are two different things. For a start there are many more Europeans in action in Barcelona, a record number in fact.

606: DEBATE

Second, so many of GB's top women are injured or unavailable including the likes of Christine Ohuruogu and Mara Yamauchi, who I feel could have won clearly from the fields we have here.

Finally for most athletes a European medal will mean more than a top-six placing in a world final.

Motivation will be greater and certainly that is true of the host nation Spain. It is the Spanish men who will be provide biggest danger to Mo and Chris on Tuesday night, but hasn't that country already won enough in sport this month?

My rough prediction is that Britain will fare batter than the 11 medals they took in Gothenburg, but not quite as well as those 11 "virtual" golds from Berlin (plus five silvers and two bronzes).

Below are my picks of who I think will win gold in each event.

Men

100m Dwain Chambers GBR

200m Christoph Lemaitre FRA

400m Jonathan Borlée BEL

800m Bram Som NED

1500m Manuel Olmedo ESP

5000m Jesús España ESP

10,000m Mohamed Farah GBR

Marathon Adam Draczynski POL

3000m Steeplechase Mahied. Mekhissi-Benabbad FRA

110m Hurdles Artur Noga POL

400m Hurdles David Greene GBR

High Jump Ivan Ukhov RUS

Pole Vault Renaud Lavillenie FRA

Long Jump Salim Sdiri FRA

Triple Jump Phillips Idowu GBR

Shot Put Andrey Mikhnevich BLR

Discus Throw Piotr Malachowski POL

Hammer Throw Krisztián Pars HUN

Javelin Throw Andreas Thorkildsen NOR

Decathlon Romain Barras FRA

20 Kilometres Walk Stanislav Yemelyanov RUS

50 Kilometres Walk Alex Schwazer ITA

4x100 Metres Relay France

4x400 Metres Relay Russia

Women

100 Metres Véronique Mang FRA

200 Metres Aleksandra Fedoriva RUS

400 Metres Kseniya Ustalova RUS

800 Metres Mariya Savinova RUS

1500 Metres Lisa Dobriskey GBR

5000 Metres Elvan Abeylegesse TUR

10,000 Metres Elvan Abeylegesse TUR

Marathon Marisa Barros POR

3000m Steeplechase Marta Dominguez ESP

110m Hurdles Tatyana Dektyarova RUS

400m Hurdles Zuzana Hejnová CZE

High Jump Blanka Vlasic CRO

Pole Vault Silke Spiegelburg GER

Long Jump Lyudmila Kolchanova RUS

Triple Jump Nadezhda Alekhina RUS

Shot Put Nadezhda Ostapchuk BLR

Discus Throw Sandra Perkovic CRO

Hammer Throw Bianca Perie ROU

Javelin Throw Barbora Spotáková CZE

Heptathlon Jessica Ennis GBR

20 Kilometres Walk Olga Kaniskina RUS

4x100 Metres Relay France

4x400 Metres Relay Russia

British medals at the European Championships:

Year Gold Silver BronzeTotal
1938 4 2 2 8
1946 2 5 3 10
1950 8 3 6 17
1954 3 4 7 14
1958 7 5 5 17
1962 5 3 6 14
1966 2 - - 2
1969 6 4 7 17
1971 1 4 5 10
1974 4 3 4 11
1978 1 4 2 7
1982 3 5 1 9
1986 8 2 5 15
1990 9 5 4 18
1994 6 5 2 13
1998 9 4 3 16
2002 5 2 5 12
2006 1 5 5 11
Totals 84 65 72 221

(Great Britain did not enter in 1934)



see also
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics
GB look to Euro success
24 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Ennis wants to lead GB gold rush
26 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Injured Pavey to miss Europeans
25 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Sanders vows to get back to best
22 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Ohuruogu misses out on Euro place
06 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Rutherford out of European Champs
21 Jul 10 |  Athletics
Rimmer hopes to win first medal
21 Jul 10 |  Athletics


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