A Complete Guide To The Top Stars, Events To Watch At The 2024 European Championships

By Preet Majithia

June 4, 2024

The European Championships are appointment viewing for track & field fans in Europe. We often complain that the sport doesn’t have enough meets that matter, but the Euros certainly do. They’re undoubtedly the premier continental championships, featuring large numbers of superstars and passionate fans. And, for many athletes, they provide a special championship experience almost on a par with Worlds and Olympics with opportunities for medal glory that might not be available on the world stage. Plus, we have administrative drama – the hallmark of any worthwhile sporting venture!

We need to talk about Kevin

Remember those pesky Universality places that may have denied Lenny Korir a place in the Olympic marathon? European Athletics appears to have used its powers for good and offered a ‘Universality Place’ to Kevin Mayer in the Decathlon (this is in addition to the 24 qualified athletes for anyone asking). As one of the poster boys of the Olympic Games, and one of France’s only hopes for a track & field medal in Paris, it would be a real shame if the Decathlon World Record Holder wasn’t there. However, having DNF’d the decathlon in Budapest, he does not have a qualifying mark. Having made several attempts over the last few months to get to a decathlon start line, this is a last chance saloon for someone who is well known for only being able to do one decathlon a year at most.

The French Athletics Federation

Last week we were suggesting that British Athletics might not be making many athletes’ Christmas card lists and were clear frontrunners for most unpopular national governing body. That was until the thousand-year-old Anglo-French rivalry meant that the French Federation decided to say “Hold my beer, we can’t let the Brits win.” They managed to get in the bad books of not only their own athletes but athletes all across Europe. They failed to enter two of their own, including 1500m star (the recent Marrakech Diamond League winner) Azeddine Habz, and also failed to withdraw 12 athletes that they chose not to select, which meant that other federations were also unable to select their athletes that were next in the rankings. European Athletics’ initial reaction was “Sorry - no dice.”

However, after intense lobbying from athletes and federations over the weekend, they came out with this glorious statement of thinly veiled shade being thrown at the French Federation, concluding that because of their incompetence, European Athletics had to act to restore fairness in the sport and let the unlucky athletes compete. And also because they granted the same French Federation a special wildcard to allow Kevin Mayer to compete, people were pointing out the hypocrisy if they didn’t make special allowances for these other athletes.

Femke BolFemke Bol

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

Superstars show up

On the final entries, we have nine Budapest world champions showing up. Among them, Femke Bol (400mH), Karsten Warholm (400mH), Mondo Duplantis (PV), and Yaroslava Mahuchikh (HJ), all came in as heavy favorites in their respective events.

With Karsten and Femke there’s always excitement when they get on the track and the chance they could do something mind-bogglingly impressive is a given. (Although it is a shame we won’t be seeing a repeat of Femke’s crazy Euro schedule from 2022, winning the 400m /400mH double alongside relay gold.)

With Mondo, we have come to expect a world record nearly every time he steps on to the field, and there is almost no doubt he will want to give it another go in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome

Other superstars include Keely Hodgkinson, who ran an absolute 800m masterclass of a race against Mary Moraa at the Pre Classic, and comes here determined to defend her 2022 title, in preparation for finally upgrading her previous silvers to gold in Paris.

World Indoor Champion Molly Caudery has shown almost Mondo-like consistency this year, and winning has become a habit. Regularly reaching heights in excess of 4.80m and winning six of her seven competitions in 2024 so she will be looking to also build up a gold medal-winning habit.

Jakob IngebrigtsenJakob Ingebrigtsen

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

Jakob back for the double

Whether you love him or not, the one thing Jakob Ingebrigtsen does is show up to races and compete, and he isn’t afraid of competition. He’ll be a heavy favorite in the 5,000, with his biggest competitor likely being Norwegian nemesis Narve Nordås in the race for who gets to wear the Viking helmet at the end. In the 1500m, there’s no Wightman or Kerr. Not to fear though, the Brits are sending another Scot in an attempt to spoil Jakob’s party, with Neil Gourley looking to unleash his fearsome kick after that great fourth place showing at the Pre Classic. Other challengers include Nordås, Worlds fourth and sixth placer Mario Garcia, and recent Diamond League winner Azeddine Habz.

Is it Italy’s year?

Barely a few days seem to go by without another national record being broken by an Italian athlete, with a staggering 38 so far in 2024 across a multitude of events. After their surprising five gold medals at Tokyo 2020, it is looking like a home Euros could be just the thing to get their athletes primed for Paris. Lamont Marcell Jacobs is rounding back into 100m form. Gianmarco Tamberi will be an entertaining watch wherever he goes. World Indoor Medalists Leonardo Fabbri (SP), Mattia Furlani (LJ), Lorenzo Simonelli (60mH) and Zaynab Dosso (60m) will also be looking to put on a show for their home crowd.

Will France win any Olympic medals?

France won a solitary silver medal in the men’s 4x400m relay in Budapest, and their team failed to qualify for Paris in the Bahamas last month. The Euros is a chance for a couple of other nations to leapfrog them in the race for the last two rankings spots. Their 110m hurdlers were thought to be one of their best chances for a medal, but none of them are showing up to Rome. French hopes perhaps rest on the shoulders of Cyréna Samba-Mayela (100mH) who will be looking to show that she is the best of the Europeans in an incredibly competitive field. After the French Federation’s admin disaster and the relay runners’ failure in the Bahamas could this be what can only be described as an ‘omnishambles’ period for French track & field, coming unfortunately in the build-up to a home Olympics? Here’s to hoping that Rome is something of a reset as we all want to see engaged fans in the stadium with great home athletes to get behind when we get to Paris.

Nafi ThiamNafi Thiam

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto


We’re also hoping to see a fantastic heptathlon in Rome, with reigning Olympic Champion Nafi Thiam making her comeback from injury against last year’s World Champion Katarina Johnson Thompson. The Nafi vs. Kat rivalry has been spectacular over the years with them pushing each other to their limits. If everyone gets to the start line healthy, the heptathlon could be one of the highlights of the Olympics, and this will provide a chance for USA’s gold medal hopeful Anna Hall to check out from afar what she will be up against come August. Like Kevin Mayer, the pressure is on for Thiam, as she also needs an Olympic qualifier, and this is likely her only opportunity.

Daryll NeitaDaryll Neita

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

Short Sprints

With a few last-minute withdrawals, the shorter sprints are not as competitive as they perhaps could have been, but the 100m still features Dina-Asher Smith (GB) going up against Ewa Swoboda (Poland), the pair who made the 100m final last year with identical times, alongside Zaynab Dosso of Italy who medalled at World Indoors. For the men it is Olympic Champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs facing off against the in-form Jeremiah Azu of GB.

In the men’s 200m, it’s a field where no one has broken 20 this season, but that gives us a chance to see everyone’s favorite surprise 2017 world champion: Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev. On the women’s side, Daryll Neita (GB) looks to continue her great start to the season and continue improving to put herself in the mix for medals in Paris.

In the 110m hurdles no one in the field has broken 13.20 this year with the French superstars absent, but rapidly improving World Indoor medallist Lorenzo Simonelli (Italy) takes on Swiss star Jason Joseph, who is a 13.08 performer at his best. The women’s field in the 100m Hurdles is, however, loaded, with ten women sub 12.90 this year. And continuing the trend of fantastic worldwide depth in this event with Cyrena Samba-Mayela (France), Ditaji Kambundji (Switzerland) and Pia Skrzyszowska (Poland) leading the way.

Lieke KlaverLieke Klaver

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto


The women’s 400m promises to be one of the most competitive events of the championships, featuring last year’s world finalists Rhasidat Adeleke, Natalia Kaczmarek, Lieke Klaver, gutsy Norwegian breakout Henriette Jæger, plus relay MVPs Sharlene Mawdsley, and Laviai Nielsen looking to make their mark as individual athletes.

On the men’s side, a late withdrawal from GB’s Matthew Hudson-Smith after his European Record 44.07 in Oslo puts World Indoor Champion Alexander Doom in pole position to take another gold medal and continue to revise his 44.44s PR. But Charlie Dobson of GB ran a sub-44 relay leg in the Bahamas and Havard Ingvaldsen of Norway broke out in Budapest and are potential challengers.

Malaika MihamboMalaika Mihambo

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

Long Jump

Miltiadis Tentoglou looks to hold off the fast-improving 19-year-old Mattia Furlani after his narrow win on countback in Glasgow, with the Swiss decathlete and 8.45m jumper Simon Ehammer coming in as a potential spoiler.

On the women’s side Olympic Champion Malaika Mihambo is making her comeback from an injury-hit 2023, and having jumped 6.95m so far, we wait to see if she can get back to her very best and over 7m. That’s likely what it will take to set up an exciting contest with World Indoor Champion Tara David-Woodhall and Budapest World Champion Ivana Španović come Paris.

Leonardo FabbriLeonardo Fabbri

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto


Leonardo Fabbri has been inching his way towards that 23m mark in the men’s shot put, showing remarkable consistency his year, and is probably the leading challenger to the supremacy of Crouser and Kovacs come Paris if they show any chinks in their armor.

The Men’s Discus features the ‘big three’ of newly minted world record holder Mykolas Alekna, 2023 world champ Daniel Ståhl, and 2022 world champ Kristjan Čeh. Alekna holds the edge based on recent Diamond Leagues, and Čeh appears to be struggling to rediscover his consistency from the last two years.

The Men’s Hammer Throw is headlined by four of the top five from Budapest, including Poland's reigning Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki and five-time world champion Pawel Fajdek.

The Men’s Javelin gives us a chance to get a look at Max Dehning of Germany, who at the age of 19, is the only one in the world who has thrown over 90m this year. He faces off against compatriot Julian Weber who has the unfortunate record of placing fourth in the last three global championships, and world bronze medallist Jakub Vadlejch.

On the women’s side the discus has double Olympic and World Champion Sandra Elkasević (formerly Perković) and the evergreen Melena Robert-Michon at the tender age of 45 looking to qualify for her seventh Olympic Games, and that too at home in Paris. There is also the intriguing storyline of former Oregon Duck Jorinde van Klinken looking to become the first woman to medal in both the discus and the shot put at a major championship.

Megan KeithMegan Keith

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto


With no Sifan Hassan, the main interest from a distance perspective is probably in the 10,000m, where GB will be looking to sweep the podium with a team of Megan Keith, Eilish McColgan, and Jess Warner-Judd. All have PRs more than 20s better than anyone else in the field. However, McColgan is coming back from an injury that took her out shortly after running that amazing 30:00 at the TEN in 2023, outkicking Alicia Monson. Warner-Judd has been open about her own struggles this season. Italy’s Nadia Batocletti (Keith’s nemesis in the junior ranks) and the Netherlands’s Diane van Es will be looking to spoil the British party.

Meanwhile, Patrick Dever of GB in the 10,000m is currently the first one out on world ranking in the 10,000m for Paris, and will be looking for the placing points that would be available at Euros to help him improve his ranking.

We know Europeans love their track, but someone at European Athletics decided it would be a great idea to include two heats of each 10,000m in a six-day championship, as they plan to score the meet and have team medals. This does add interest to the race lower down the field, but having two races does seem a little overkill. The team medal in the half-marathon by contrast seems an altogether better idea and will hopefully make the event a fun watch.


Who doesn’t love a relay? Those of us who didn’t get our fill from World Relays will get another chance to see how some of the Paris medal contenders are shaping up. This is also probably the only chance for a number of nations who didn’t make the cut in the Bahamas to try and run a fast time to try and snag one of the two Olympic places in each relay based on the fastest times in the qualifying period. A couple of things to watch include whether the Italian men’s 4x100 team gets back to their Olympic winning best, as the same four athletes will be lining up. Netherlands, Ireland and GB are all strong medal contenders for Paris in the mixed 4x400m, with Belgium and Poland always being in the mix when it comes to relays.

Preet Majithia

Preet is a London based accountant by day and now a track fan the rest of the time. Having never run a step in his life he’s in awe of all these amazing athletes and excited to help bring some attention to the sport.