European 100m hurdles champion and world silver medallist Cindy Roleder has assembled an impressive international record over the past couple of years. The German sprint hurdler takes time out to answer some firsts in her life both on and off the track
My first coach was Siegmar Grosser. I did some speed testing aged eight where I discovered I was very fast for my age. On the back of this, Mr Grosser, who was also a sports teacher, asked me if I would like to join his group. I was very proud because this allowed me to train with children who were one to two years older than me.
The first competition I remember was competing in the high jump and long jump aged seven. The first hurdle race I recall came the following year when I ran over very small plastic children’s hurdles. To be honest, I was really scared at that time to run over those hurdles and I didn’t win the race. However, my memories were not to give up and try to do better in the next race.
First media interview
I gave my first interview after a National U18 Championship. I was interviewed by someone from the German Athletics Federation website. It was nice to see my interview online the next day.
First international competition
My first international event came at the 2007 European Junior Championships in Hengelo in the Netherlands. I finished fourth but ran 13.65 (Roleder had tied her PB at the time of 13.54 in the semi-finals), so I was really happy with my performance. I recall the weather was very hot and we shared four people per room. We had a lot of fun as a team.
My first sport was gymnastics. I had a very good coach, a woman who trained a lot of world-class athletes, even Olympic medal winners. I was not bad, but after three years I had grown too tall to continue. I competed to a regional standard, but it gave me a good base in terms of my general co-ordination.
First international athletics medal
That came when I took bronze at the 2011 European Under-23 Championships in Ostrava. I remember I was in the doping control until late into the night, so when I came back, everyone was sleeping and we couldn’t really celebrate the medal. It was only the next day I could really celebrate.
First major athletics disappointment
My first athletics disappointment came at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona, when I missed out on qualifying for the final. I was disqualified in the semi-final, but it wasn’t a big disappointment because I had no realistic chance of making the final at that time.
First athletics injury
That was a shoulder injury I picked up after crashing into the first hurdle. At the time, I tried to change to a seven-step rhythm for the first hurdle. As it turned out, this was not the best option for me and it took me four weeks to recover from the injury and train again.
First sporting hero
As a child, it was Heike Drechsler (the two-time Olympic long jump champion) and later it was Kirsten Bolm, the best German hurdler between 2002-2006. Heike Drechsler was a national hero and won many medals. Kirsten Bolm was very dedicated and full of passion.
It was a small ape, which clapped his hands when you screwed him up. I liked the noise and the rhythm he made.
First thing you learned to cook
To be honest, I am not a great cook but I can make great fish sticks with mashed potatoes. My brother taught me that at the age of eight. Once in a while I still cook it.
My first car was an old Audi A3. It was a gift from my parents for my 18th birthday. I drove it for five years. I loved the car and it was very reliable.
My first pet was a cute little rabbit named ‘Fritzi’. I always took him with me in a baby buggy and he gave me a lot of great memories.
Steve Landells for the IAAF