12 JUN 2012 General News

Germany's Rüh aiming to better her role model Dietzsch at World Juniors - Barcelona 2012

Barcelona 2012 logo (IAAF)Barcelona 2012 logo (IAAF) © Copyright
The German town of Neubrandenburg, which nestles in the north east of the country close to the Baltic and the Polish border, seems to be synonymous with discus throwing.

Both of the long-standing existing World records were set there by former East German athletes and a number of great discus throwers have worn the famous blue vest of the local club SC Neubrandenburg, not least the three-time IAAF World Championships gold medallist Franka Dietzsch.

The latest link between the discipline and the city comes in the shape of the new German throwing talent Anna Rüh, who has not only been signed up by the club but is also being coached by Dietzsch's former mentor Dieter Kollark.

Rüh, who only turns 19 on 17 June, advertised her burgeoning ability last summer when she won the discus silver medal at the European Athletics Junior Championships; and also took a bronze medal in the Shot Put.

However, this summer, she has made such big strides forward that in addition to being the clear favourite for the discus at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, 10-15 July, she also has a chance of making the German team going to the Olympic Games, despite the country's depth of talent in the event.

Best junior for 15 years

She threw 63.04m, the best distance by a junior anywhere in the world since 1997, in Halle on 19 May.

At the time of writing, Rüh had also shown her high-level consistency with five competitions over 61 metres and she currently stands third on the German yearly list, hence her coming into consideration for a place on the plane to London.

"I had been throwing in training over 60 metres so it does not come as a surprise what I've been able to achieve in competition. I'm also stronger competing than when I'm practising, because there is also the added factor of having the adrenaline flowing," commented Rüh rather modestly.

A demonstration of Rüh's likely status as the thrower to beat in the Catalan city can be gauged from the fact that the next best thrower on the 2012 world junior rankings is China's Gu Siyu with 60.59m, almost three metres in arrears.

What also caught the eye of observant athletics fans at the traditional Hallesche Werfertage throwing meeting last month was not only the outstanding distance she produced but also the implement she used to achieve it.

It was a recognisable black discus that Dietzsch had used to win her third and final world title in Osaka five years ago.

A golden gift

Dietzsch, who Rüh publicly acknowledges as her role model, had passed onto Rüh her gold-medal winning discus.

The gift was perhaps symbolic – and with the greatest respect to the German discus number one and 2011 World Championships silver medallist Nadine Müller – of passing the torch in the event from a former master to the new generation.

"When you know that discus has flown so far, then you certainly trust it," joked Rüh, who is expected to bring the implement with her to Barcelona, where she hopes to go one better than her idol at this stage of her career.

Dietzsch competed at the inaugural IAAF World Junior Championships in 1986, which were held in Athens, but had to settle for a silver medal on that occasion behind her team mate and World junior record holder Ilke Wyludda.

Slim-line success

Since the end of last summer, the 1.86m-tall Rüh has been in the weight room and put on a few kilogrammes, she now tips the scales at a fraction over 80kg, but most of her improvement has been down to Kollark's insistence on good style in the circle.

"We have been working so much on technique but it's paying off," said Rüh.

"She is slimmer than I was at the same age but she has good technique for just 18 years of age," added Dietzsch, running the rule over her young protégée. "So the sky's the limit for her in the years to come."

Despite being widely hailed as the future of German discus throwing, the 2011 European Athletics Junior Championships in Tallinn showed that Rüh's talents are not just restricted to one event.

Rüh has not thrown the shot outdoors in 2012 yet but her personal best of 16.53m indoors this winter is almost a metre better than any other German junior this summer and that sort of distance would give her a chance of another medal in Barcelona.

"This year, I'm concentrating on the discus and the shot is not a priority but I'm considering competing in Barcelona in both events," reflected Rüh.

If she were to stand on the podium in Barcelona after the shot put as well as discus then Rüh would make a little bit of history as nobody has ever before got a medal in both events at the World Junior Championships.

Phil Minshull for the IAAF