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Fourth day of competition, 9.7.2016

There are a lot of interesting finals in the evening session of day 4 of the European Championships. The night will culminate with two epic do-or-die events, as the women's 800m and men's 1500m finals take place.

20:05 WOMEN'S 5000M FINAL

There is one name above all others in the women's 5000 metres. Yasemin Can's (TUR) European leading time of 14:37.61 is over 12 seconds better than the woman in second place, who s Sweden's Meraf Bafta (14:49.95). Only Can will also run the 10 000 metres in Amsterdam, but as previous major championships have shown, it's completely possible to be successful in both. Bafta did win the 5000m in the last European Championships, but if anyone can challenge Can this time out it would be a major surprise.

Behind Can and Bafta in the European rankings is Norway's Karoline Bjerkeli Groevdal (14:57.77), who is also competing in the 10 000 metres. Besides the three women mentioned, only Team GB's Steph Twell has managed to run under 15 minutes, with her time being 14 minutes and 59 seconds flat.

After those four the next name to take note of is the hosts' Maureen Koster, whose done 15:07.20 this season. The Dutch crowd may well spur her on towards greatness. At only 21 years of age Sweden's Sarah Lahti is another to look out for. Her time of 15:10.76 is rather impressive for her age.

Other Team GB athletes in this event capable of success are Laura Whittle (15:08.58) and Eilish McColgan (15:09.94). The British ladies are ranked sixth and seventh respectively in this season's European rankings.

The other Dutch athlete appearing in the 5000 metres is Susan Kuijken, who won bronze in the last European Championships. Kuijken's record from 2013 is impressive (15:04.36), but she's been struggling this season as her SB is only 15:37.26. However, if the final goes to the wire and has a slow pace she could make an impact.

Betting tips:

To be updated...

Ranking:

A: Favourite

Yasemin Can

B: Challengers

Meraf Bafta, Karoline Bjerkeli Groevdal, Steph Twell

C: Surprise packages

Maureen Koster, Laura Whittle, Eilish McColgan, Sarah Lahti, Susan Kuijken

 

20:30 MEN'S 110 METRE HURDLES FINAL

This season's European rankings are littered with Frenchmen, as in the top 7 seven times as many as four have been made by French athletes. Out of those four Dimitri Bascou (13.24), Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (13.29) and Wilhem Belocian (13.30) are the favourites in the final, while the fourth man, Aurel Manga (13.33) has to settle for a back-up role.

However, the best time by a European this season belongs to Spain's Orlando Ortega, whose run 13.12, but sadly he won't be running in Amsterdam. Ortega switched to Spain from Cuba in 2013 after disagreements with Cuban administration. The talented hurdler gained a Spanish passport last year, but he won't be representing his new nation until the Olympics in Rio.

The man most capable of challenging the French is Team GB's Any Pozzi. The Brit has run 13.31 this season, but he is very consistent as he's only once gone over 13.40 all season. Another surprise package could be Poland's Damian Czykier, who ran his record of 13.35 right before the European Championships.

Betting tips:

To be updated...

Ranking:

A: Favourites

Dimitri Bascou, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde

B: Challengers

Wilhem Belocian, Andy Pozzi

C: Surprise packages

Damian Czykier, Balasz Baji

 

20:40 WOMEN'S 800M FINAL

There are a couple of major absences in the women's 800 metres, as both the reigning European- and World Champion Maryna Arzamasova and the silver medalist from two years ago, Lynsey Sharp have pulled out. Sharp's SB of 1:59.03 is the second fastest time in Europe this season, while Arzamasova is fourth on the same list with 1:59.65.

With those two absent, all the pressure is on Renelle Lamote of France, who has the best European time this season with 1:58.01. That time is also her personal best. At only 22 years of age, Lamote was in the last European Championships as well, but then she wasn't good enough for the final - yet. She came eighth in last year's World Championships, so her career is clearly going forward.

Despite the absences Lamote has plenty of challengers. Ukraine's 21-year old Nataliya Pryshchepa (1:59.08) and the more experienced, 28-year old Nataliya Lupu (1:59.70) have been in good form this season. Justine Fedronic of France (1:59.86) and Poland's Angelika Cichoka (1:59.97) are also running fast this season. The seven best women are all within less than two seconds of each other, but only Lamote has gone under 1:59 this season.

Two dark horses in the race could be Poland's Joanna Jozwik and Switzerland's Selina Büchel. Both have impressive PB's of 1:58.35 and 1:57.95, but this season they haven't reached those heights. Winner of the bronze medal two years ago, Jozwik has done 2:00.72 this season, with Büchel clocking in two hundredths of a second slower. At their best both are more than capable of challenging for a place on the podium.

Russia's Julia Stepanova gained a special permit to run in Amsterdam, as it was her revelations that led to the Russian doping scandal. She hasn't run the 800 metres this season, but her PB of 1:58.99 is impressive. She probably won't be in that kind of form, but she does has the potential to surprise.

Betting tips:

To be updated...

Ranking:

A: Favourites

Renelle Lamote, Nataliya Pryshchepa, Nataliya Lupu

B: Challengers

Justine Fedronic, Angelika Cichocka, Joanna Jozwik, Selina Büchel

C: Surprise packages

Olha Lyakhova, Sofia Ennaoui, Christina Hering, Anita Hinriksdottir, Julia Stepanova

 

20:50 MEN'S 1500M FINAL

It promises to be an epic battle in the men's 1500 metres. The five best times in Europe this season are all within about half a second of each other, and although Team GB's Chris O'Hare won't be running in Amsterdam, there are many possible candidates for a medal - even behind the remaining four men in the rankings. Two years ago the gold was "stolen" by Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, who is better known for his exploits in the 3000m steeplechase. However, the French hot-head hasn't competed in the 1500 metres for a while, meaning that he won't be defending his title this time out.

The best time out of the European's belongs to Germany's Homiyu Tesfaye (3:35.05), who came fifth in the last European Championships at only 21 years of age. The man in second, Czech's Jakub Holusa has run only a tenth of a second slower. Besides his impressive SB, the Czech has also won silver in the indoor World Championships this season. Now Holusa is looking for his first outdoor medal.

Florian Carvalho (3:35.39) and Mourad Amdouni (3:35.58) of France are fourth and fifth in this season's rankings, but an even stronger challenger for the gold is Norway's 25-year old Henrik Ingebrigtsen, who won gold in 2012 right in front of Carvalho's nose. The Norwegian came second two years ago, so he has a lot of experience despite being relatively young. This season Ingebrigtsen has done 3:36.00, while his little brother Filip is right behind him with his time being 3:36.21.

Another who could make an impact on the podium places is the 2012 bronze medalist, David Bustos. The Spanish runner has clocked 3:36.14 this season.

Betting tips:

To be updated...

Ranking:

A: Favourites

Homiyu Tesfaye, Henrik Ingebrigtsen

B: Challengers

Jakub Holusa, Florian Carvalho, Mourad Amdouni

C: Surprise packages

David Bustos, Filip Ingebrigtsen

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Third day of competition, 8.7.2016

The third day of competition offers athletics fan a number of fantastic finals. In a lot of events there is a clear favourite for the gold, but in some events like the men's 200m and 400m there are many candidates who could triumph. We look forward to the men's 3000m steeplechase as it will be interesting to see what the disqualified winner of two years ago, Mahiediene Mekhissi-Benabbad comes up with this time...

Naturally it will also be interesting to see how clinically massive favourites like Sandra Perkovic in the women's discus, Anita Wlodarczyk in the women's hammer and Renaud Lavillenie in the men's pole vault perform in their finals. If one - or many of the trio fail to get gold the press can start printing front pages with "massive surprise" written on them.

17:10 WOMEN'S HAMMER THROW FINAL

There should be no doubt about who's going to win the women's hammer throw. Anita Wlodarczyk only last season broke Betty Heidler's world record with a throw of 81,08 metres and she's been on a level of her own all season. Her season's best (also the world's best this season) is 79,61. The best European behind her is Germany's Heidler with a throw of 75,46, so it's clear to see just how much difference there is between Wlodarczyk and the chasing pack.

Wlodarczyk is the double-reigning European Champion and the reigning World Champion, so it would be a massive surprise if her streak was to end now. Heidler's silver medal is also fairly secure if she gets anywhere near her normal level of performance, but the fight for the bronze medal and other places is rather tight.

Moldova's Zalina Marghieva got her hammer as far as 74,21 in February, breaking Moldova's national record in the process. After that she's been throwing over 72 metres consistently, so her average performance has been rather good. Azerbaijan's Hanna Skydan has also broken her country's national record this season - twice in fact. Fourth in this season's standings, Skydan's throw of 73,87 came at the start of June, so her form looks to be good moving into major competition territory in the calendar.

The surprises in this season's European rankings are Wlodarczyk's fellow Pole Joanna Fiodorow (72,97), who has been getting closer to 73 metres every time she competes. Last year's World Championship bronze medal winner, Alexandra Tavernier of France (72,16) and the silver medal winner of the last European Championships, Slovakia's Martina Hrasnova (72,34) will also have their say in the competition for the podium places. However, the two mentioned last haven't been very consistent, despite their impressive season's bests.

Betting tips:

All of the leading ladies survived the qualification process with ease, so the final promises to be an epic battle for the medals. The winner should be clear, but the fight for the other places on the podium will be tight. Heidler's experience gives her the edge for silver, but Skyda's and Fiodorow's odds are far more lucrative!

** TOP3: Joanna Fiodorow 9/2 Unibet

Ranking:

A: Favourite

Anita Wlodarczyk

B: Challengers

Betty Heidler, Joanna Fidorow

C: Surprise packages

Zalina Marghieva, Hanna Skydan, Alexandra Tavernier, Martina Hrasnova, Katerina Safrankova

 

18:10 MEN'S POLE VAULT FINAL

The men's pole vault final promises to be a one-person show, just like the women's hammer throw. World record holder Renaud Lavillenie has been on a level of his own all season, and he leads this season's standings with a jump if 595.

With three consecutive European Championship titles on his belt, Lavillenie's superiority can be seen from the fact that his closest competitor, Jan Kudlicka of the Czech Republic has jumped 583, which is also his country's record. The only other man to clear 580 besides Lavillenie and Kudlicka this season's is Lavillenie's fellow Frenchman, Kévin Menaldo (580).

Fourth in this season's European standings, Germany's Tobias Scherbarth (575), has jumped over 570 in three of his four competitions in June. That result would have been enough for silver two years ago, so it might be enough for a medal this year as well. Stanley Joseph of France is also fourth in this season's standings with 575, but he hasn't been as consistent as Scherbarth.

Out of the rest the world champion of 2011, Pawel Wojciechowski (571) can also be highlighted. The silver medalist of two years ago isn't at the same level as he's been, but he can't be counted out just yet. The same applies to Greece's experiences Konstadínos Filippídis (570).

One interesting fellow is also Germany's Raphael Holdzeppe, who was world champion in 2013 and won silver in 2015. Last year he impressively cleared 594, but his season's best is a lowly 540. However, indoors he's jumped 584 with several jumps over 570, so if the multiple medal winner can magically reverse his outdoor form, he could well be a dark horse on Friday.

Betting tips:

Jan Kudlicka of the Czech Republic seems underrated by the bookies, and it's the complete opposite with Filippidis of Greece. Stanley Joseph's consistency is worrying, so betting against him is wise.

** H2H: Kevin Menaldo - Stanley Joseph 13/20 Unibet

** H2H: Jan Kudlicka - Konstadinos Filippidis 13/10 Unibet

Ranking:

A: Favourite

Renaud Lavillenie

B: Challengers

Jan Kudlicka, Tobias Scherbath, Pawel Wojciechowski

C: Surprise packages

Konstadínos Filippídis, Stanley Joseph, Raphael Holdzeppe, Piotr Lisek, Robert Sobera

 

18:20 WOMEN'S LONG JUMP FINAL

Only three women have jumped over 7 metres this season, and only one of those women is from Europe. That woman is current world number one, Germany's Sosthene Taroum Moguenara with a jump of 7,16 metres, but sadly she won't be in Amsterdam due to an injury. This means that the favourite in this year's European Championships is Serbia's Ivana Spanovic, whose jump of 6,95 metres is enough for second place in the European standings. Spanovic has made the podium in three consecutive major championships (two World championship bronze medals and one European championship silver medal), and the streak can be expected to continue in Amsterdam. 

Ukraine's Maryna Bekh is also a strong challenger for the title, as her jump of 6,93m with a wind of +2,0m/s is enough for third place in the European standings for this season. The 20-year old young lady managed that result in an impressive performance in the middle of June, with three of her jumps clearing 6,80m in that competition. However, her normal level of performance besides that competition has been about 20 centimetres worse, so it will be interesting to see how she fares in Amsterdam.

Germany's 22-year old Alexandra Wester has managed 7,00m once this season, but that was a wind-assisted result (+3,3 m/s), so it doesn't count as an official result. In legal conditions she's managed 6,79m - although indoors earlier this year she did jump 6,95. This woman has a lot of potential.

Besides Bekh and Wester another strong challenge could come from Team GB's Lorraine Ugen. The 24-year old's results this season are impressive: 6,93 indoors, a jump of 6,82 with wind assistance and 6,76 in legal conditions. Spain's Juliet Itoya has jumped 6,79, and although that seemed to be just a purple patch she can't be counted out completely.

Another Brit, Jazmin Sawyers (6,75) and Slovakia's experienced Jana Veldakova (6,75) have jumped their season's bests in late June, which points towards both finding form for the Championships. Veldakova's usual level of performance is lower out of the duo.

Turkey's experienced Karin Melis Mey is fourth in this year's European standings with a jump of 6,85, but that resullt came in February and her form has been much worse since. The same applies to Haido Alexoul of Greece, who jumped 6,78 in March.

Betting tips:

The differences in qualitiy among the leading ladies of Europe aren't large, so the conditions may take centre stage yet again. In the men's corresponding event it was plain to see how much trouble a quirky wind can cause long jumpers. Spanovic has a lot of experience that will help her in the final, but in terms of the odds Maryna Bekh's odds are unmissable!

*** H2H: Maryna Bekh - Alexandra Wester 19/20 Unibet

** TOP3: Maryna Bekh 5/4 Unibet

Ranking:

A: Favourites

Ivana Spanovic, Maryna Bekh

B: Challengers

Alexandra Wester, Juliet Itoya, Lorraine Ugen, Karin Melis Mey

C: Surprise packages

Jazmin Sawyers, Jana Veldakova, Haido Alexouli

 

18:40 MEN'S 400M HURDLES FINAL

There are two men in Europe who have run the longer hurdling distance under 49 seconds this season. Turkey's Yasmani Copello Escobar is Europe's number one with the 48.78 he ran in June. The Turkish man defeated the reigning European Champion's, Switzerland's Kariem Hussein's time of 48.98 by exactly two tenths of a second.

There are plenty of challengers behind the top two. With the absence of Poland's Patryk Dobek the main challenger looks to be the silver medal winner of two years ago, Estonia's Rasmus Mägi (49.04). Spain's Sérgio Fernández ran two hundredths of a second faster than Mägi at the end of June, but in general his level of performance hasn't been as good. Another challenger is Team GB's Jack Green, who ran 49.05 seconds in June.

The 2012 European Champion Rhys Williams has a lot of merit, but the experienced athlete hasn't quite been at his best level this season. However, his season's best of 49.22 is still seventh best out of his competitors, so he can't be completely ruled out. The same can be said of Mamadou Kasse Hanne, who obtained French citizenship two years ago and has ran 49.15 this season.

Another interesting name is Norway's young star Karsten Warholm. At only 20 years of age, Warholm is a real multitalent, as he'll be appearing for Norway in both the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay. He's also improved his personal record from 51.09 to 49.62 in under a year! If Warholm can continue improving in Amsterdam, he could be surprisingly high in the results, as his current record would have been enough for fifth place two years ago.

Betting tips:

The medalists seem clear before the race, as Yasmani Copello Escobar, Kariem Hussein and Karsten Warholm are in a league of their own. Betting on the podium places with a combination of these three names is the best idea for betting in this event, but the odds don't really seem worth it. We're leaving this one alone.

Ranking:

A: Favourites

Yasmani Copello Escobar, Kariem Hussein

B: Challengers

Rasmus Mägi, Sérgio Fernández, Jack Green

C: Surprise packages

Rhys Williams, Mamadou Kasse Hanne, Karsten Warholm

 

18:50 MEN'S 400M FINAL

Europe's TOP10 for the men's 400m is pleasant reading for Brits, as it features three Team GB athletes. It's a real shame that none of them are running in Amsterdam in this event. Matthew Hudson-Smith (44.88) has been superior this season, as he's the only man in Europe to run under 45 seconds. In addition to him the two other Brits in the top ten are eighth-placed Delano Williams (45.50) and ninth-placed Rabah Yousif (45.52). All three will be part of Team GB's 4x400m relay team, but they won't be running in this race.

This means that the biggest contenders to win are Italy's Matteo Galvan (45.12) and Belgium's Kevin Borlée. Kevin of the Borlée twins won gold in the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona and was third in the World Championships of 2011. However, after those medals he's only been on the podium after relays. Kevin didn't even make the final of the last European Championships, but this season's standings show that he's now capable of going for gold again. It will be an intense duel between him and Galvan.

There are plenty of other potential winners from outside the top two. Slovenia's only 20-year old Luka Janezic has already broken Slovenia's national record this season with a run of 45.22, which gives him third place in this season's European standings. The bronze medal of winner of two years ago, Israel's Donald Blair-Sanford (45.26) and The Czech Republic's Pavel Maslák shouldn't be counted out either.

The reigning European Champion, Team Gb's Martyn Rooney will also be running in Amsterdam, but he's been unconvincing this season. In his seven races this summer he's only managed to break the 46 second barrier twice and his season's best of 45.78 is only 16th best in Europe. The other Borlée twin, Jonathan, has been even worse this season, with his best being 45.87.

There have been some epic battles in the last couple of major 400m finals, and everything is pointing towards another fantastic, tightly-fought race in Amsterdam.

Betting tips:

Martyn Rooney seems to have found his speed again, as he coasted to the final with the fastest time. His closest challenger is definitely Kevin Borlee, who has also performed convincingly in Amsterdam. The battle for bronze will most likely be between Matteo Galvan and Pavel Maslak.

** Winner: Martyn Rooney 3/4 Unibet

Ranking:

A: Favourites

Kevin Borlée, Matteo Galvan

B: Challengers

Luka Janezic, Donald Blair-Sanford, Pavel Maslak

C: Surprise packages

Martyn Rooney, Jonathan Borlée, Rafal Omelko, Yavuz Can, Samuel García

 

19:15 WOMEN'S DISCUS FINAL

Olympic gold in 2012, World Champion in 2013, World Championship silver in 2015 and three consecutive European Championship titles. That's the basis Croatia's Sandra Perkovic is looking to build on. Perkovic's season's best of 70,88 on is the number one result in the world with over two metres separating her from second place. The Croatian has been crushingly dominant this season.

Perkovic isn't just an athlete who gets good results occasionally, she's also incredibly consistent. The Croatian has competed five times this season, and not even once has she had a final result of under 67 metres. Second in the European standings, Germany's Julia Fischer threw 68,49 in March, but otherwise her results have varied between 61,91-66,59. The woman in third place, Nadine Müller (65,79) has seen her results fluctuate between 63,09-65,79. The differences in quality are therefore vast.

Although neither of the two women mentioned might not be able to challenge Perkovic, the battle for the rest of the medals will be tense. Besides the German duo of Fischer-Müller the women with the best shot for a place on the podium are Shanice Craft (64,62) and Mélina Robert-Michon (64,96). Germany's Anna Rüh (64,08) is also capable of reaching the podium on a good day.

Team GB's Jade Lally threw her record of 65,10 in February, but after that she's been struggling for form.

Betting tips:

There were no surprises in the qualification. Fischer's impressive form there showed that Perkovic might not be getting the gold for free. A surprising name could also be Nataliya Semenova, who out of the blue almost broke her record in June. The 34-year old Ukrainian looks to be getting better with age. Could she light up Amsterdam?

** H2H: Julia Fischer - Nadine Müller 11/20 Unibet

Ranking:

A: Favourite

Sandra Perkovic

B: Challengers

Julia Fischer, Nadine Müller, Mélina Robert-Michon, Shanice Craft

C: Surprise packages

Anna Rüh, Jade Lally, Irina Rodrigues, Nataliya Semenova

 

19:25 WOMEN'S 400M FINAL

European's haven't been very strong in the women's 400 metres this season, as only one European runner makes it into the 20 best results of the season. She is Floria Guei from France, who ran 50.84 at the start of June, and she's also the only European to get under 51 seconds this season.

However, she does have a number of tough challengers for the gold. The reigning European champion, Italy's Libania Grenot is fourth in Europe this season with her time of 51.33. The silver medalist from two years ago, Ukraine's Olha Zemlyak (51.60) will also be competing in Amsterdam. Portugal's 22-year old Cátia Azevedo broke her country's national record earlier this season with a time of 51.62.

Team GB's leading lights in this event, Emily Diamond and Seren Bundy-Davies won't be competing in Amsterdam in this event, so the Brits' biggest hope for a medal is Anyika Onuora (51.55). Christine Ohuruogu, Olympic winner in 2008 will also be competing, but her best this season is a modest 52 seconds flat.

Betting tips:

How many times have we seen this? Christine Ohuruogu is in awful form all across the season, but when the major championships come around she seems to always be at her best. Her focus will be on the Olympics, but Amsterdam is a good check point for her. As the general level in Europe for the women's 400m isn't that good, Ohuruogu may be close to gold yet again.

Ranking:

A: Favourites

Floria Guei, Libania Grenot

B: Challengers

Olha Zemlyak, Cátia Azevedo, Anyika Onuora

C: Surprise packages

Christine Ohuruogu, Justyna Swiety, Olha Bibik, Yuliaya, Olishevska

 

19:35 MEN'S 200M FINAL

Team GB's Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake took the Athletics world by storm with his run of 19.95 in May. That remains the only time a European has ran under 20 seconds this season, and is also enough for third place in the world rankings this season. It's also the second fastest time ever by a British athlete! That achievement is made all the more impressive by the fact that Mitchell-Blake was relatively unknown before this season. Now he's the favourite for gold in the European Championships!

That run wasn't just a purple patch for him either, as the youngster has also ran 19.96 just two weeks later - admittedly with a wind assistance of +3,6 m/s. At the start of June he ran 20.17 without any wind, so this man is definitely worth keeping an eye out for.

However, it's not going to be all plain sailing for the first-timer in a major competition. That will be made sure by the European Champion of 2012, Churandy Martina, who will be spurred on by the home crowd. Martina's season's best is 20.11, and that run is even more impressive because he had to battle a wind of -1,7 m/s to do it.

Christophe Lemaitre shouldn't be forgotten either, as the multiple medal winner has clocked 20.27 this season, along with Germany's Aleixo Platini Menga.

The other lanes will be occupied by tough athletes as well. Italy's Eseosa Desaluta (20.31) and Likourgos-Stefanos Tsakona (20.36) of Greece could spring a surprise. The same applies to Team GB's Danny Talbot, who ran his season's best of 20.39 with a headwind of 1,8 m/s. The only Europeans to appear in last season's world championship final, Turkey's Ramil Guliyev (20.42) and Team GB's Zharnel Hughes (20.70) will also be appearing in Amsterdam, but their season's bests aren't even close to being good enough to challenge for a place on the podium.

Sadly, the reigning European Champion, Team GB's Adam Gemili won't be defending his title in Amsterdam, so a new champion will be crowned.

Betting tips:

Churandy Martina lit up the home crowd and won the men's 100 metres yesterday. Now the experienced athlete has a chance to win a second gold medal in his home championships. Behind the duo of Mitchell-Blake and Martina the most likely man to get bronze is Ramil Guliyev. After him it's anyone's game.

* Winner: Churandy Martina 3/4 Unibet

Ranking:

A: Favourites

Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Churandy Martina

B: Challengers

Christophe Lemaitre, Aleixo Platini Menga

C: Surprise packages

Eseosa Desalu, Likourgos-Stefanos Tsakonas, Ramil Guliyev, Danny Talbot, Zharnel Hughes

 

20:45 WOMEN'S 100M FINAL

The Amsterdam crowd might have a lot to cheer for on Thursday. The host nation's Dafne Schippers has been in a league of her own in the 100 metres in Europe this season, and she's also the only European to run under 11 seconds. The reigning European Champion of both the 100m and 200m has gone under 11 twice this season, albeit that the second run of 10.94 came in a +2.7 m/s wind assisted race. Schippers has decided to focus solely on the 100 metres in these championships, so the Dutch sprinter will surely have fresh legs come Thursday.

Schippers' time of 10.83 is enough for fifth place in this season's world rankings. Second in the European rankings, Team GB's Desiree Henry is her closest challenger for the gold, but her record of 11.06 isn't even close to Schippers' best time. A tenth of a second is a long time over 100 metres, especially between two of the favourites of a race.

The European Champion of 2012, Ivet Lalova-Collio is another woman capable of challenging Schippers, and her PB is in fact better than her Dutch counterparts (Lalova: 10.77m Schippers: 10.81). However, Lalova-Collio's season's best is "only" 11.11, which is enough for equal fourth place in this season's European rankings.

Ukraine's Nataliya Pohrebnyak has also run 11.11 this season, with her time being even more impressive because she had to battle a 2.2 m/s headwind. The Ukrainian might have a claim for a podium place if she can muster a similar performance in Amsterdam.

Betting tips:

Schippers is so clear of a favourite in front of the home crowd, that she probably needs to not finish if she's not to win. Henry and Lalova will battle for silver.

Ranking:

A: Favourite

Dafne Schippers

B: Challengers

Desiree Henry, Ivet Lalova-Collio, Nataliya Pohrebnyak

C: Surprise packages

Mujinga Kambundji, Asha Philip, Stella Akakpo, Tatjana, Pinto, Floriane, Gnafoua, Olesya Povh

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6.7.2016: First day of competition

On the first day of the competition all eyes will be on Team GB's Jo Pavey and Kate Avery, with the former attempting to defend her title from two years ago.

17:55 WOMEN'S 10 000M FINAL

The ladies' 10k promises to be interesting and the medals definitely can't be handed out beforehand. As most of the runners' main goal for the season are the Olympics in Rio, few will have yet reached top form. 

More experienced competitors may be going to Amsterdam in below-par condition, saving their proper strength for the Olympics. Although usually it's the experienced athletes who thrive under the pressure of a major championship, this time out the younger generation have a better chance of being successful. The Dutch' could also be a dangerous proposition with the home crowd spurring them on.

In the last European Championships in 2014 Team GB's Joanne Pavey took home the gold with a clear difference over her closest competitors, the French duo of Clemence Calvin - Laila Tarby. In the World Championships the Europeans stood no chance, and that is also likely to be repeated in Rio later in the summer. This is why many athletes may be extra-motivated, as this race is their only chance for a major title.

Last year the strongest nation in the women's 10 000 metres was Portugal. Sara Moreira was the fastest over 10 kilometres (31:12.93), while Ana Dulce Felix (POR) is also a strong contender. Susan Kuijken and Jip Vastenburg could be the dark horses of the race, as both will have immense home support from the Dutch crowd.

Norway's Karoline Bjerkeli Groevdal and Turkey's Yasemin Can are both fast on the 5000 metres. If the race is run at a slower pace (like major Championships finals usually are) both could claw themselves to the top positions in the 10 000 metres as well.

Another interesting ace in the pack is Team GB's Kate Avery. Avery is more famous for her prowess in cross-country running, where she won two golds and two silvers between 2014-2015. This will be the first time she appears at a major Championship on a track.

There are a lot of challengers and surprises are possible if the race is run at a slow pace and everything will be decided at the death. An interesting final right on the first day, and it's definitely worth watching as Pavey and Avery aim to bring another gold for Team GB!

For bettors we recommend the dutch duo, as the home crowd can be such a crucial aspect of the 10k race.

Betting tips:

* TOP3: Jip Vastenburg 23/20 Unibet

** TOP3: Sara Moreira 1/1 Unibet

Ranking:

A: Favourites

Sara Moreira, Ana Dulce Felix, Susan Kuijken, Jip Vastenburg

B: Challengers

Jo Pavey, Clemence Calvin, Johanna Peiponen, Yasemin Can, Karoline Bjerkeli Groevdal, Kate Avery

C: Dark Horses?

All of the rest

 

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Second day of competition, 7.7.2016

The Athletics European Championships of 2016 really kick-off on the second day with the Men's Long Jump and 100m finals! There are many other interesting finals as well, like the Women's 100m hurdles and 200m. It looks to be a cracking evening!

16:05 WOMEN'S SHOT PUT FINAL

This season, like in the couple of years before, the undisputed female queen of shot put has been Germany's Christina Schwanitz. Another example of her superiority came on the 19th of June, when she got the leading result in Europe this season, 19,49. Last year in Beijing she putted an astounding result of 20,77 metres! Schwanitz also claimed both the European and World Championship titles in 2014 and 2015 respectively. With this kind of consistency she's naturally the massive favourite to grab gold yet again.

The most interesting name from her challengers is Hungary's Anita Marton, who broke Hungary's national record with a put of 19,04 in Zurich two years ago. That result was enough for a bronze medal. This year she bettered her record by putting 19,22 in Doha.

Behind the two leading ladies there is a group of women who all have a shot at the bronze medal. The women from Belarus have been particularly impressive this season, with as many as three of them occupying a top 10 spot in the standings of Europe over the last two seasons. On their day Yulia Leantsiuk, Aliona Dubitskaya and Natallia Mikhnevich are all capable of reaching the podium.

Betting tips:

Schwanitz' is currently 3/100 on to win. There are no good odds out there, so no betting on the shot put today.

Ranking:

A: Favourites

Christina Schwanitz, Anita Marton

B: Challengers

Yulia Leantsiuk, Aliona Dubitskaya, Natallia Mikhnevich

C: Surprise packages?

Paulina Guba, Emel Dereli Lena Urbaniak

 

16:30 WOMEN'S HIGH JUMP FINAL

The women's high jump is an interesting competition, where surprises are possible. In the past couple of seasons the Europeans have been the leading lights in the world. In last year's World Championships all of the medalists came from Europe, as Russia's Marina Kutšina won, the legendary Blanka Vlasic came second, while Anna Tšitšerova finished third.

However, this year the Russians won't be appearing in Amsterdam, which makes the competition more unique. Blanka Vlasic (CRO) and Ruth Beitia (ESP) are favourites thanks to their experience, but they will be saving their best form for the Olympics. This season's leader Kamila Lićwinko (POL) is one possible winner, as is Germany's Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch, who was already close to breaking the magical 2 metre barrier last season. In a tender sport like this anything is possible.

Betting tips:

Ruth Beitia was really convincing in the qualification and is the undoubted favourite for the final. The Russians and Vlasic are absent. Poland's Licwinko is also out of the final, so it looks to be an interesting final in terms of the other two medals. Jungfleisch has the most potential, but Michaela Hruba and Airine Palsyte were more convincing in the qualification. In terms of odds Jungfleisch is definitely a must!

*** H2H: Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch - Airina Palsyte 29/20 Unibet

A: Favourites

Blanka Vlasic, Ruth Beitia, Kamila Licwinko, Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch

B: Challengers

Desirée Rossit, Oksana Okuneva, Mirela Demireva, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Ana Simic

C: Surprise packages?

All of the rest

 

17:20 MEN'S LONG JUMP FINAL

Men's Long Jump has been ruled by the same man for many years now. Greg Rutherford has been a class above everyone else this season as well in Europe. His jump of 8,31 in Rome in June tells a lot of the form he's in.

This season's level in general has been poor, as only a handful of men have jumped over 8 metres. However, 8 metres dead isn't going to be anywhere near good enough on Thursday night, as many jumpers will beat there season's best in the qualification round.

One interesting name is the home crowd's favourite Ignisious Gaisah, who jumped 8,19 just last season. Fabian Heinle (GER) and Kafétien Gomis (FRA) are also capable of challenging Rutherford for the win on their day, as both men have jumped over 8,25 metres last season.

Betting tips:

Sweden's Michael Torneus was the strongest in the qualification with a jump of 8,19 metres. This puts him in pole position out of Rutherford's challengers. In terms of the odds Germany's Heinle and Gomis of France are underrated.

** H2H: Fabian Heinle - Radek Juska 7/5 Unibet

* H2H: Kafetien Gomis - Eusebio Caceres 1/1 Unibet

Ranking:

A: Favourites

Greg Rutherford

B: Challengers

Fabian Heinle, Kafetien Gomis, Ignisious Gaisah, Michael Torneus

C: Surprise packages?

Everyone else

 

18:10 WOMEN'S 200M FINAL

The holder of the European record Dafne Schippers won't run the 200m in her home championships, as she's chosen to instead focus entirely on the 100m. This is naturally a huge disappointment for the home crowd, but it makes the event itself more entertaining as there are a lot of potential winners in the field.

The current number one favourite is Gina Lückenkemper (GER), who at the start of June ran 22,67 with no wind assistance. An interesting challenger is Team GB's Dina Asher-Smith, who managed 22,72 earlier this season in Stockholm despite a slight headwind. Ukraine's Nataliya Pohrebnyak will also be among the women fighting for a place on the podium.

Betting tips:

Tessa Van-Schagen of the host nation made the final and could be a real dark horse in the race. The home crowd will only serve as extra motivation. Dina Asher-Smith's odds have been dropped as low as they can get. Pohrebnyak and Van-Schagen are underrated by the bookies and you can try them in your betting plans for Thursday.

* H2H: Tessa Van-Schagen - Gina Lückenkemper 49/20 Unibet

*** H2H: Nataliya Pohrebnyak - Jamile Samuel 7/10 Unibet

Ranking:

A: Favourites 

Gina Lückenkemper, Dina Asher-Smith, Nataliya Pohrebnyak

B: Challengers

Several.

 

18:40 WOMEN'S 100M HURDLES FINAL

This event looks to be a duel between Team GB's Tiffany Porter and Alina Talay of Belarus. Both women have the experience and level to make this race their own. However, in terms of the bronze medal it looks to be a much tigher-fought contest.

There are four major challengers for a podium place in this event. Sandra Gomis (FRA) is one of them, and she can be unstoppable on her day. Germany's Nadine Hildebrand (12,79), Finland's Noora-Lotta Neziri (12,81) and Team GB's Cindy Olifi (12,66) make up the rest of the chasing pack. Despite her strong season's best, there are no guarantees of Olifi's form, as she ran that time during April with a strong wind helping her.

Although this event can be settled by millimetres, it's unlikely that any other women will get even close to a podium-place finish. It will be nothing short of a miracle if anyone not listed above were to grab a medal.

Betting tips:

!!!!! The semi-finals are at 16:10, so all bets must be placed before that time! Porter and Talay should be the top two bar anything astounding happening. If the leading ladies fail, Sweden's Susanna Kallur could be a potential medal candidate. 

There are no especially good odds available on the market, so we'll leave H2H-bets out of this events' betting plans.

Ranking:

A: Favourites

Tiffany Porter, Alina Talay

B: Challengers

Sandra Gomis, Nadine Hildebrand, Cindy Olifi, Noora-Lotta Neziri

C: Surprise packages?

None most likely.

 

18:50 MEN'S 100M FINAL

There is only one favourite in the men's 100 metres. Jimmy Vicaut of France is the leading man of Europe, as he clocked 9,86 in June. Vicaut will also be looking to get his best form in the Olympics in Rio, but a normal day for him should be enough to secure a win in European competitions.

The second best time in Europe this season is held by a surprising name. Turkey's Jak Ali Harvey ran his country's record of 9,92 in June and could well challenge Vicaut if everything goes his way. Germany's Julian Reus has also ran a national record this season, with his time being 10,03.

Betting tips:

Churandy Martina of the Netherlands is probably in his last season at the highest level, so in a home Chamionships he will be super-motivated for one last hurraah. Martina has always performed his best in finals and a medal is close yet again. Money on Martina!

* TOP3: Churandy Martina 11/20 Unibet

Ranking:

A: Favourites

Jimmy Vicaut

B: Challengers

Jak Ali Harvey, Julian Reus

C: Surprise packages?

Several.

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The Netherlands host the Athletics European Championships of 2016 from the 6th to the 10th of July. Below is the whole schedule for the Championships!

The Athletics European Championships in Amsterdam begin on the 6th of July, with five intense days of competition culminating on the 10th of July with a lot of finals. Most of the events will be held at the Olympic Stadium of Amsterdam, but the hosts have given viewers a huge surprise by having the qualification for the discus and javelin in the fabulous Museumplein-park in the centre of the city.

The upcoming Olympics in Rio De Janeiro have slightly changed the format of the Championships. As there's only a month to go before the games, there will be no walking races in Amsterdam, and the Marathon will only be a Half Marathon.

For British viewers the highlight of the Championships will most likely be the Men's Long Jump final, as Greg Rutheford will attempt to defend his title from two years ago in Zürich. The final will be on Thursday the 7th of July at 17:20 UK time. The always interesting Men's and Women's 100m finals will be on the 7th and 8th of July at 18:50 and 20:45 respectively.

For viewers having their fingers crossed for Team GB there's something interesting for every single day of the games, as Team GB have as many as 98 athletes competing for glory. Check out the best hopes for a gold medal from this article!

 

ATHLETICS EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS 2016 - FULL SCHEDULE

Wednesday 6th of July (1st day of competition):

Morning session:

09:45 Hammer, qualification Group A (women)

09:50 Decathlon, 100m (men)

10:05 High Jump, qualification (women)

10:40 100m Hurdles, heats (women)

10:45 Decathlon, Long Jump (men)

11:00 Discus, qualification Group A (women)

11:05 Hammer, qualification Group B (women)

11:10 200m, heats (women)

11:40 100m, heats (men)

12:05 Long Jump, qualification (men)

12:10 400m, heats (women)

12:15 Discus, qualification Group B (women)

Evening session:

14:30 Decathlon, High Jump (men)

16:05 Javelin, qualification Group A (men)

16:05 400m hurdles, heats (men)

16:30 200m, semi-finals (women)

16:50 Pole Vault, qualification (men)

16:55 3000m Steeplechase, heats (men)

17:25 800m, heats (women)

17:40 Javelin, qualification Group B (men)

17:40 Long Jump, qualification (women)

17:55 10 000m, Final (women)

18:10 Shot Put, qualification (women)

18:35 Decathlon, 400m (men)

Thursday 7th of July (2nd day of competition)

Morning session:

09:00 Decathlon, 110m hurdles (men)

09:05 Pole Vault, qualification (women)

09:50 Decathlon, Discus, Group A (men)

10:10 Triple Jump, qualification (men)

10:20 200m, heats (men)

11:00 Javelin, qualification Group A (women)

11:05 800m, heats (men)

11:10 Decathlon, Discus, Group B (men)

11:45 100m, heats (women)

12:15 Decathlon, Pole Vault (men)

12:25 Javelin, qualification Group B (women)

Evening session:

15:15 Decathlon, Javelin, Group A (men)

15:15 400m Hurdles, semi-finals (men)

15:35 Discus, qualification Group A (men)

15:45 400m, semi-finals (men)

16:05 Shot Put, Final (women)

16:10 100m Hurdles, semi-finals (women)

16:20 Decathlon, Javelin, Group B (men)

16:30 High Jump, Final (women)

16:35 400m, semi-finals (women)

17:00 100m semi-finals (men)

17:15 Discus, qualification Group B (men)

17:20 Long Jump, Final (men)

17:25 1500m, heats (men)

17:35 Javelin, Final (men)

17:50 800m, semi-finals (women)

18:10 200m, Final (women)

18:20 Decathlon, 1500m (men)

18:40 100m Hurdles, Final (women)

18:50 100m, Final (men)

Friday 8th of July (3rd day of competition):

Morning session:

11:15 Heptathlon, 100m Hurdles (women)

11:30 Hammer, qualification Group A (men)

11:55 110m Hurdles, heats (men)

12:00 Heptathlon, High Jump (women)

12:10 Triple Jump, qualification (women)

12:30 3000m Steeplechase, heats (women)

12:40 Hammer, qualification Group B (men)

13:15 400m Hurdles, heats (women)

Evening session:

17:05 Heptathlon, Shot Put (women)

17:10 Hammer, Final (women)

17:15 1500m, heats (women)

17:35 800m, semi-finals (men)

17:50 200m, semi-finals (men)

18:10 Pole Vault, Final (men)

18:15 100m, semi-finals (women)

18:20 Long Jump, Final (women)

18:40 400m Hurdles, Final (men)

18:50 400m, Final (men)

19:00 Heptathlon, 200m (women)

19:15 Discus, Final (women)

19:25 400m, Final (women)

19:35 200m, Final (men)

19:45, 10 000m, Final (men)

20:25 3000m Steeplechase, Final (men)

20:45 100m, Final (women)

Saturday 9th of July (4th day of competition):

Morning session:

12:00 Heptathlon, Long Jump (women)

12:05 Shot Put, qualification (men)

12:55 4x400m relay, heats (women)

13:10 High Jump, qualification (men)

13:20 Heptathlon, Javelin Group A (women)

13:25 4x400m relay, heats (men)

14:25 Heptathlon, Javelin Group B (women)

Evening session:

17:45 Javelin, Final (women)

18:15 110m Hurdles, semi-finals (men)

18:20 Pole Vault, Final (women)

18:40 4x100m relay, heats (men)

18:45 Triple Jump, Final (men)

19:00 4x100m relay, heats (women)

19:20 400m Hurdles, semi-finals (women)

19:35 Discus, Final (men)

19:45 Heptathlon, 800m (women)

20:05 5000m, Final (women)

20:30 110m Hurdles, Final (men)

20:40 800m, Final (women)

20:50 1500m, Final (men)

Sunday 10th of July (5th day of competition):

Morning session:

08:30 Half Marathon, Final (women)

08:50 Half Marathon, Final (men)

Evening session:

16:00 High Jump, Final (men)

16:05 400m Hurdles, Final (women)

16:10 Hammer, Final (men)

16:15 3000m Steeplechase, Final (women)

16:25 Triple Jump, Final (women)

16:30 Shot Put, Final (men)

16:35 4x100m relay, final (women)

16:45 1500m, Final (women)

16:55 4x100m relay, Final (men)

17:10 5000m, Final (men)

17:30 800m, Final (men)

17:40 4x400m relay, Final (women)

17:50 4x400m relay, Final (men)

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