eminent women’s race walker of 2008, Norway’s Kjersti Plätzer, the 2000 Olympic Games 20km silver medallist, has had to withdraw from this weekend’s 23rd IAAF World Race Walking Cup in Cheboksary, Russia, 10-11 May.
The 36-year-old Norwegian had given notice this season that she would be no pushover in either the Cup or this summer’s Beijing Olympics after winning the initial IAAF Challenge race in Mexico, the Rio Maior version last month, and a fine first at the Sesto San Giovanni last weekend, to lead the overall standings in the IAAF Race Walking Challenge 2008.
But now the threat of an old injury has reoccurred just at the wrong moment.
“I don't know what it is with me and the World Cup,” confirmed a naturally frustrated and disappointed Plätzer. “In 2004 I had some problems prior to the World Cup in Naumburg, still I went there and during warm-up I got injured and couldn't start. In 2006 I couldn't race in the World Cup in La Coruna due to an eight weeks race walk break due to an injury in March, and now I am not going to Russia for the World Cup this weekend.”
“During most of last season I had back problems which in June gave me a hamstring injury and hamstring problems at the Challenge final in Saransk last September. After the Challenge in Sesto last week I have had some trouble with my back again and I am afraid that I would get injured again if I raced now. Because of that our national team doctor advised me not to go to Cheboksary, especially because of the long travel and many hours with sitting around in airports and planes.”
“The Olympics in August might be my last major event and I want to be able to train through the whole season this year.....Therefore I will take a break from competing during the rest of May.”
“I wish everyone all the best and a great experience at the World Cup in Cheboksary. They organized a fantastic event in 2003 when they hosted the European Cup in Walking,” concluded Plätzer.
Chris Turner for the IAAF