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    Storl rounding into form with 21.19m at German Indoor Championships

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    • Storl rounding into form with 21.19m at German Indoor Championships

    Places on national teams for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham from 1-4 March were the target at the national championships this weekend and in the first our two round ups, here are some of the majors stories from Europe this weekend.

    Storl extends season's best in Dortmund

    David Storl won the European indoor shot put title in 2015 but at the World Indoor Championships, he is yet to reach the top of the podium.

    Gearing up for his pursuit to improve on his two silver medals, the three-time European champion stretched his season’s best to 21.19m at the German Indoor Championships in Dortmund to show he is progressing well on the way to Birmingham. It was also a good weekend for reigning world U20 champion Alina Kenzel as she took the women’s title with 17.37m.

    Lisa Ryzih has claimed silver medals at the European Indoor Championships but the pre-competition favourite had to settle for second on her season’s debut. Katharina Bauer cleared 4.51m to lift the title ahead of Ryzih who only registered a mark with a third-time clearance at her opening height of 4.45m.

    Reigning European triple jump champion Max Hess improved his season’s best to seal the domestic title with 16.84m and former world pole vault champion Raphael Holzdeppe continued his resurgence with a 5.68m clearance before three attempts at 5.80m.

    After claiming the 60m title on Saturday in a lifetime best of 7.06, Tatjana Pinto completed the sprint double the following day, winning the 200m title in an indoor lifetime best of 23.19.

    Rutherford and Johnson-Thompson claim long jump titles in Birmingham

    It was a big weekend for Greg Rutherford, the multiple long jump gold medallist, as he returned to action for the first time since last June after injury at the SPAR British Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

    And while Rutherford will hope to go further at the World Indoor Championships, he was happy to claim his seventh British title with 7.80m ahead of Ireland’s Adam McMullen with 7.75m.

    “It feels like it has been years and years since I competed. I am exhausted now, that’s the overriding thing. It is the stress of having no idea what shape I am in. I only started walking again in mid-November so it has been a very quick turnaround since the two surgeries (on his ankle and groin),” he said.

    Later in the summer when Rutherford should be closer to top form, the Brit will be looking to become the first male long jumper in history to claim three successive European titles at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.

    Former European indoor champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson showed good shape ahead of the pentathlon at the World Indoor Championships, winning the long jump with 6.71m.

    On the track, European indoor champion Andrew Pozzi recovered from a bad start to win the 60m hurdles title in 7.58 from Dave King in 7.63; European indoor silver medallist Shelayna Oskan-Clarke won the 800m title in an indoor PB of 2:00.06; and Eilish McColgan claimed the 1500m title in 4:13.94.

    In non-championship events, Tom Bosworth won the 5000m race walk title in a national record and world-leading mark of 18:28.70.

    Haratyk defeats Bukowiecki to claim the Polish indoor title

    There was a big shock in Torun as Michal Haratyk beat Konrad Bukowiecki to the national shot put title.

    Only three days after breaking the European U23 record with 22.00m, Bukowiecki had to settle for second this time as Haratyk delivered a personal best of 21.47m - along with 21.29m and 21.25m - to win from Bukowiecki, who has been struggling with a finger injury this season, with 20.60m.

    Poland topped the medal table in Belgrade with seven gold medals and they will go to Birmingham - and then to the European Championships in Berlin - looking to repeat that success with their athletes in top shape.

    European indoor pole vault champion Piotr Lisek cleared 5.83m in the pole vault to defeat former world champion Pawel Wojciechowski at 5.72m and European indoor high jump champion Sylwester Bednarek cleared 2.25m to win on countback from Norbert Kobielski.

    Fellow European indoor champions Adam Kszczot and Marcin Lewandowski delivered on the track with wins in the 800m (1:48.08) and 1500m (3:48.05) respectively while European 1500m champion Angelika Cichocka won the 800m title in 2:04.81.

    Thiam in good form in Ghent

    With the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham fast approaching, Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam competed in two events in Ghent. The reigning world and Olympic heptathlon champion went out to 6.28m in the long jump as fellow multi-eventer Hanne Maudens won with 6.45m.

    Thiam was also third in the 60m hurdles in 8.35 as Eline Berings won in 8.10.

    Sagnia smashes long jump lifetime best

    It only lasted 24 hours but Sweden’s Khaddi Sagnia must be hugely happy with her long jump, taking a momentary world lead on Saturday with an outright lifetime best of 6.85m in Gavle.

    She dropped to second on the world lists a day later as American Brittney Reese went three centimetres further in more favourable conditions at altitude in Albuquerque at the USATF Indoor Championships but Sagnia should be a major challenger in Birmingham.