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Schlangen, Bayer and Spank look to boost Germany

Carsten Schlangen

Carsten Schlangen

Germany has a good chance to stand on top of the medal table at a European Athletics Championships for the first time since reunification in 1990 thanks to an ever increasing number of their top athletes being determined to make their mark in Helsinki this summer.

Among them is middle-distance runner Carsten Schlangen, who got the 1500m silver medal behind Spain’s Arturo Casado in Barcelona and wants to go one better in the Finnish capital.

“I think it will be a good race and if it goes how I think it will, which is that it will be a tactical race like it was in Barcelona, then that will suit me as I have a very good finish.

“Of course, it will be a tough competition, I know that always France and Spain will have good men in the 1500m and there will be others as well, but I’m feeling confident.

“I’m thinking about the Olympics, who isn’t, but the European Championships offer a much more likely possibility for me to get a medal, hopefully gold as I already have a silver,” Schlangen told European Athletics recently.

Another German athlete with his eyes on European success is long jumper Sebastian Bayer.

Bayer has won the European indoor title on the last two occasions and memorably set a European indoor record of 8.71m in the Italian city of Torino to win his 2009 European Athletics Indoor Championships gold medal but he has not had such good fortune outdoors on the continental stage.

He missed the last edition in Barcelona in 2010 due to injury and didn’t get beyond the qualifying round in Göteborg six years ago, when he was only 20-years-old.

“There were six men over eight metres in the Barcelona final and I think it will be a similar contest in Helsinki. For me, going to the European Athletics Championships is the perfect preparation for the Olympics a few weeks later. It’s a critical part of my summer plans,” commented Bayer.

High jumper Raul Spank won a bronze medal on home soil in Berlin at the 2009 World Championships and although injuries stalled his progress for several years, he was back to form this winter and cleared an indoor best 2.32m in Arnstadt in February.

“But the World Indoor Championships in March was a wasted opportunity for me to stand on the podium again. I finished ninth after I cleared 2.28m with my first attempt but could go no higher.

“However, the winning height in Istanbul of 2.33m is nothing magic. I am determined not to waste a similar opportunity in Helsinki,” reflected Spank, who won the 2007 European Athletics Junior Championships silver medal and is still only 23.

The trio above join the likes of 2011 World Championships shot put gold medallist David Storl and women’s discus world leader Nadine Müller in having dates of the 2012 European Athletics Championships firmly inked into their diary.

Müller’s comments about the 2012 European Athletics Championships, speaking in the wake of her magnificent personal best of 68.89m when she won at the European Cup Winter Throwing in March, can be read here.

The 2012 European Athletics Championships will be held in Helsinki, Finland, from 27 June – 1 July.

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