Germany’s elite were present at the National Championships this weekend looking for their last chance to qualify for the 2000 Olympics. Despite a good atmosphere and great conditions in the Eintrachtstadion, very few took the opportunity to jump on the plane to Sydney. Nevertheless several of Germany's finest demonstrated promising form.
One of the best results was the 66,73m from javelin thrower Tanja Damaske (Berlin). After a series of problems with her Achilles tendon dating from the World Championships in Sevilla, she celebrates a major comeback this year. Just the day before she participated in the Oslo Golden League meeting, to come second (65,74 m) behind world record breaker Trine Hattestad of Norway.
"It was a hard test to throw one day after the other, but it worked well", Tanja Damaske said.
The same procedure for Tim Lobinger (Köln), who jumped 5,85 m in Braunschweig - a new German best mark for 2000. He won the event followed by Danny Ecker (Leverkusen/5,70). In Oslo Lobinger finished at 5,40m and was not happy with the result.
"My aim was to simulate the situation in Sydney. The qualification rounds on the first day, and the final on the second day." After vaulting 5,85m he unsuccesfully attempted 5,91m.
"I know that I can jump 5,90m, maybe I need a few more weeks."
Hammer throw World-Champion Karsten Kobs (Leverkusen) reached 80m for the first time this year and shouted for joy about his result of 80,12 m.
"I had many doubts about my current form, but now I know what I am able to do."
His training partner, the 1997 World Champion Heinz Weis, was very disappointed with his 77,94m.
"I will do a test before Sydney, because I don’t want to got to the Olympics to throw 78m. But I can’t imagine why I am not able to throw further ", Weis said after the competition.
Very satisfied and surprised about his 10,19 in the 100m race was Marc Blume (Wattenscheid). Bad luck: to qualify for Sydney he must have run 10,20 or less on two occasions, and this was the former European indoor champion first and only time under 10,20. So the Germans may not have a men’s 4 x 100 m relay, a 100 and a 200 m runner, a 400 m runner and a 4 x 400 relay in Sydney. Nobody qualified in these events.
Long distance runner Dieter Baumann won the 5000m title in 13:39.17. Kofi Amoah Prah (Berlin) won the long jump with 8,11 m and was very happy about his first title at the German Championships after being runner up three times. Lars Riedel (Chemnitz) won the "never ending battle" with Jürgen Schult (Schwerin) in the discus event. Riedel‘s result: 65,67m, Schult threw 64,66 m.
Charles Friedek (Leverkusen) played with his national rivals as usual. He jumped exactly 17m in the first attempt; it was enough to win. In the 110m hurdles, Florian Schwarthoff (Ludwigshafen) was the surprise winner in 13,42, pushing race favourite, European Cup gold medallist, Falk Balzer from Jena, into third place. Ralf Leberer (Ulm/13,46) came second.
"I can’t believe that I won this important event", said a delighted Schwarthoff."
Nils Schumann, as expected, won the 800m. In a tactical race he ran 1:47,82 and nobody could follow him.
Grit Breuer (Magdeburg) has serious injury problems at the moment. She won the 400 m in 51,22 and said: "If I am not able to go under 51 seconds, I will not run in Sydney". And Heike Drechsler (Ludwigshafen) was the old and the new "long jump queen" in Braunschweig. 6,72 m was enough to beat Susen Tiedtke (Chemnitz) who jumped 6,65 m.
World Champion Franka Dietzsch was the best discus thrower. Her result: 65,25 m, followed by former Olympic-Champion, Ilke Wyludda (Chemnitz) with 64,24 m. Oliver-Sven Buder reached his best result of the season in shot put with 20,41 m.
An exciting event was the women’s pole vault. In the end Yvonne Buschbaum (Stuttgart) won the event with 4,45 m, before the former world indoor record holder, Nicole Humbert (Landau), cleared the same height. Ulrike Urbansky (Magdeburg) is the champion in the 400 m hurdles in 55,51.
The only athlete to win two races was Marc Blume: he ran 10,19 and 20,82 - but it was not good enough for a start in Sydney.
The same for Claudia Gesell (Leverkusen), who was the fastest 800m runner in 2:00.53 min. She reached in the heats 1:59,71. To start at the Olympics she should have run 2:00.00 twice and she has only done so once.
Ursula Kaiser for IAAF