This is the first of three columns on the European U 23s, which showed the discerning track fans some amazing upcoming stars from across Europe. 

Sophie O’Sullivan, following the family tradition.

It has been a busy period for European athletes, with the European team’s competition followed by national championships and then the continental under-23 championships.  With most of the top European athletes opting out of the European teams, a significant number of U23 athletes were taking part in their third championship event in four weeks.

It was a good event, with 23 countries gaining at least one medal. Great Britain topped the medal table at the recent European Under 23 championships in Finland with 14 medals (7 gold, 3 silver, and 4 bronze). France came second with 6 gold and 15 overall, Netherlands third with nine medals, with Spain, Norway, Italy, hosts Finland, and Germany next.

DITAJI KAMBUNDJI, SWITZERLAND, photo by Getty Images for European Athletics

There were a number of memorable performances, with Havard Bentdal Ingvaldsen winning the men’s 400 in 45.13, Jeremiah Azu defending his 100m title in 10.05, and Ditaji Kambundji winning the sprint hurdles in 12.68.

Oleh Doroshchuk and Roman Petruk (both 2.19) took silver and bronze, continuing their country’s high jump tradition.  Tizian Lauria (19.80) and Eric Maihofer (19.44) had a 1-2 in the shot as a new generation of German throwers emerges.

SARAH HEALY, IRELAND, photo by Getty Images for European Athletics

There was a brilliant 1-2 for Ireland in the women’s 1500, with Sophie O’Sullivan running a PR of 4:07.18 with Sarah Healy second in 4:07.36. 21-year-old O’Sullivan, who is the daughter of former 5000m world champion Sonia O’Sullivan said afterward: “It is good that is the first gold medal for Ireland in these championships. My plan was just to keep up with these girls until the last 200m before the finish. So I just tried to stay as close as I could. Then I just had to get going. I did not matter that much about the time, but I felt it was my chance. I wanted to get the job done. Before the race, my mother advised me to stay as close as possible. She wished me good luck and told me to do nothing too crazy to enjoy it. She is still both for me, a great athlete and a mum. My next plans are just to continue running, hopefully making it to the Irish team for the next championships.”