Wattenscheid, GermanyTobias Unger once again was the athlete of the weekend at the German Championships held on Saturday and Sunday in Western Germany (2 / 3 July).
National 200m record and sprint double
The 25 year-old reached a major goal of the season on Sunday, when he broke the national record at 200 metres. Tobias Unger sprinted 20.20 seconds and beat the mark set by Frank Emmelmann in 1985 by three hundredth of a second. That was the highlight of the championships.
The day earlier he had won the 100 metres as well in a personal best of 10.16 seconds. But the overall results once again indicated that it will be a hard task for German athletes to win medals in the World Championships in Helsinki in August.
“We will send a strong team to Helsinki. And our athletes should achieve good results”, national head coach Jürgen Mallow said despite the difficult situation. He was appointed after the sad results at the Olympics last year, where Germany just won two silver medals in Athletics.
“At present I have really a lot of fun competing. And one secret of my success is that I am looking forward to every single race”, Unger explained. “It is great to have broken the 200m record. Now I have achieved this and can look forward to other goals.”
Asked about his personal best of 10.16 seconds with which he had won the 100m on Saturday Tobias Unger said: “To have run 10.16 is a great step forward for me – but it is not the end of the road for me.”
Unger’s international break through had come last year when he first won a bronze medal at the World Indoors and then went on to reach the Olympic 200 m final in Athens, where he finished seventh. “Of course the Americans are still faster, but I look forward to being pushed by them”, Unger said. He has not yet decided about doubling at the World Championships, but at present it looks unlikely that he will run the 100m as well since he would as well be a key figure in a German 4x100 m relay team.
Lobinger wins and Ecker looks set to join squad for Helsinki
A much anticipated event was the men’s Pole Vault on Saturday since only Tim Lobinger and Lars Börgeling had achieved the German qualifying standard for Helsinki before. The rule set by the federation is this year that athletes had to achieve the qualifying standard twice in the season (except long distance and multiple events). Tim Lobinger won the championship with 5.75m. “I don’t get younger so I should this time take the opportunity to win a medal in Helsinki”, 32 year-old Lobinger said. The pole vaulter has never won a World Championship medal outdoors.
“I would have like to have competed at the Golden League Meeting in Paris on Friday night, but the time in between the two events was simply to short”, Lobinger said. Once again the championships collided with the opening meeting of the TDK Golden League. And since the pole vault started in Wattenscheid on Saturday at 2 pm it was too risky for Tim Lobinger and the other jumpers to travel to Paris.
But the story of the day in the Pole Vault on Saturday was Danny Ecker. Having missed out on the qualification for several weeks Ecker once again produced a great competition when it mattered: in a championship. He was second with 5.75m. Although he has only achieved the standard once this season it would be foolish to leave him out of the German team. It was Danny Ecker who had been the best German pole vaulter in the Olympics, placing fifth. “I think I should get the ticket to Helsinki. But at present I have a couple of minor injuries. So it would probably make sense to put in a small break before the World Championships”, Ecker said.
Jürgen Mallow has already indicated that in some cases the federation would not stick strictly to their own qualification rules. That means that some athletes who have only beaten the qualifying standard once could be nominated. It would also make sense to give some young athletes a chance.
One of these should be Silke Spiegelburg. The 19 year-old won the title in Wattenscheid with 4.40 m. But again she failed to clear the decisive mark of 4.45 m. On the other hand one should remember last year. As an 18 year-old Silke Spiegelburg had been the only German to qualify for the Olympic final. In the end she was 13th, but the future could be hers.
Mockenhaupt takes 5000m
Sabrina Mockenhaupt won the 5000m in 15:09.39 minutes. “I had planned for a result between 15:20 and 15:30 so I was surprised myself to run such a fast race in warm conditions”, Mockenhaupt said.
Another fine performance was that of Kirsten Bolm, who won the 100m hurdles in 12.84 seconds.
While in the men's 800m, René Herms won in 1:45.39, over three seconds ahead of his nearest rival.
National Race Walk record
And there was a second national record besides that of Tobias Unger. Sabine Zimmer clocked 20:11.45 minutes in the 5,000 m walk. Beate Gummelt had been the holder of the former record. She had clocked 20:31.58 in 1996.
Olympic silver medallists win
Steffi Nerius, the women's Javelin Throw silver medallist from olympic last summer took the victory well clear of the opposition with an impressive 64.54m release.
While young shot putter Petra Lammert had to cancel her start due to an injury Nadine Kleinert won the competition. But it was still not the day of the Olympic silver medallist. She had to be content with 18.68m. Astrid Kumbernuss, Olympic Champion in 1996, was second with 18.31m in what was her last championship performance. “I wanted to reach the podium. It was my goal to have an honourable farewell”, commented Kumbernuss.
Riedel - back problems
While Lars Riedel could not compete due to back problems, and as reported on this site last week, the 400m runner Grit Breuer has announced the end of her season, suffering from a dislocated disc in her spin. She had this injury already a couple of years ago. But this time it is said that no surgery is needed. Still there are doubts about the future of Grit Breuer’s career.
Jörg Wenig for the IAAF