If Jakub Vadlejch raised some eyebrows with his world-leading javelin throw of 85.54m in Potchefstroom last month, he has now shown that he is ready to mean business this year by extending his lead at the top.
The Czech Republic athlete improved his personal best of 86.21m from last year to 86.76m with victory at the Golden Grand Prix in Kawasaki on Sunday.
Vadlejch failed to make the final at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich in 2014 and IAAF World Championships in Beijing last year but that could all change in the months ahead in Amsterdam and Rio if he maintains this level of consistency.
The early season European Athletics rankings saw a quick-fire change at the top of the shot put this weekend.
First, Serbian Asmir Kolasinac, the 2013 European indoor champion, occupied that position with 20.96m in Senta on Saturday.
But then 24 hours later at the 7th Furmanek Memorial in Kielce, Poland's Michal Haratyk overtook him with a personal best of 21.23m.
At the same meeting, Pawel Fajdek, the double hammer world champion, delivered a world lead of 79.12m.
Two-time world champion Pawel Fajdek opened his season with a world-leading throw on home soil in Kielce. pic.twitter.com/xBMkqmLLJA— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) May 8, 2016
In the week she was named in the squad for the first half marathon at the European Athletics Championships, Germany’s Sabrina Mockenhaupt showed good form to be crowned national 10,000m champion in Celle (32:40.80) as Mitku Seboka (29:23.57) won the men’s race.
With the European 10,000m Cup just a few weeks away in Mersin, it will be interesting to see whether either of them are named in the team for one of the big events before the summer’s championships.
Mockenhaupt took that title in 2013 in Pravets and it could be a good speed test ahead of Amsterdam.
The first day of the World Race Walking Team Championships in Rome on Saturday brought two individual medals for Spain.
As Chinese athletes achieved a one-two in the men’s 20km, with Wang Zhen (1:19:22) beating Cai Zelin (1:19:34), Alvaro Martin flew the flag for Europe with a personal best in third (1:19:36).
But there was a European medal in the men's 20km walk!— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) May 7, 2016
Spaniard Alvaro Martin won bronze in a 1:19:36 PB. pic.twitter.com/Zdr2qa48qV
Martin was sixth at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich 2014 and this performance in a race won by the world silver medallist will give him great confidence for the Olympics.
The second Spanish medal was silver in the junior men’s 10km as Manuel Bermudez (40:27) was just four seconds behind China’s Zhang Jun with Noel Ali Chama, of Mexico, in third (40:29).
Sunday brought gold for Italy in both the individual men’s 50km and team event - led by Alex Schwazer.
He took the title in 3:39.00 from Australian Jared Tallent (3:42:36) and Ukraine’s Igor Glavan (3:44.02).
Italy won the team event with 10 points with Marco De Luca (3:44:47) in fourth and Teodorico Caporaso (3:48:29) in fifth, both in personal best times. Ukraine (28 points) won silver followed by Spain (33), whose first man home was Jose Ignacio Diaz (3:51:10) in sixth.
Nadine Broersen, of the Netherlands, the European heptathlon silver medallist, started her season with a fine 51.50m in the javelin in Lisse on Saturday and in Trikala, on the second day of the Greek InterClubs, Paraskevas Batzavalis, the 2015 Greek javelin champion, threw 79.01m, the second best of his career.
Italy’s European 400m champion Libania Grenot won over the one-lap distance in 51.52 and the 200m in 23.23 in St Martin, while France staged a series of Interclub events which saw Jimmy Vicaut win the 200m (20.53) in Franconville, Christophe Lemaitre win the 100m (10.14) in Grenoble and Eloyse Lesueur triumph in the long jump (6.32m) in Aix-En-Provence.
Lemaitre was quite satisfied with his time and said: 'It's not bad but can still be improved.' He will next run in Villeneuve another round of the Interclubs on 22 May where he will face Jimmy Vicaut over 200m.
And in the women's race at the Prague Marathon, where Kenyan Lucy Karimi (2:24:44) won, there was delight for the Czech Republic's Eva Vrabcova-Nyvltova as she finished sixth on her debut (2:30:10).
Vrabcova-Nyvltova is a renowned cross-country skier, with three Winter Olympics to her name, but her marathon time was enough to qualify her for her first summer Games in Rio in August.There are 79 events across Europe this week. For full information, go to http://www.european-athletics.org/calendar