German steeplechaser Gesa Felicitas Krause earned the bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015. Here the 25-year-old talks about the significance of that achievement.
“I have always been a girl who has dreamed big. I competed at my first Olympic Games as a 20-year-old in London, where I placed seventh in the final but I realised from that moment I wanted more and I had lots of scope to improve.
“My training in the winter of 2014-15 went well. For the first time, I had an altitude training camp in the autumn and we had four training camps in the countdown to the 2015 World Championships in Beijing where we increased the range of training. I remember I was away from home in Frankfurt for long periods of time and that was tough.
“I felt in good shape and I set my first PB in three years in Monaco (9:20.15) in the countdown to the World Championships. During my final pre-Beijing training camp in Davos, Switzerland, I created a mental picture of what I wanted to achieve and I felt well prepared. I was sure I was in great shape and I wanted to achieve a PB at the major championships. That was the only thing I could influence.
“In my heat, I finished second behind Olympic champion Habiba Ghribi and it was pleasing to comfortably qualify. In the final, my coach Wolfgang Heinig told me to be aware and awake, but to not stress.
“In the final Lalita Babar of India ran away from the field, but unusually nobody followed her. My focus was to stay with the world-leading girls that year in the chasing group. When the pace suddenly accelerated, it felt comfortable, and going into the final lap I told myself to be patient as I could finish anywhere from sixth to first.
“I remember leading going into the final 100 metres and I pushed as hard as I could. I didn’t quite have the speed to hold off Hyvin Kiyeng or Ghribi, but to get bronze (and set a PB of 9:19.25) was a huge achievement for me.
“It was a huge breakthrough moment and a beautiful and inspiring moment too. Winning the bronze medal made me believe that anything in sport can happen and even if I am not in shape to run nine minutes flat for the steeplechase, if you work hard enough on the day than the rewards can follow.
“Without doubt, winning bronze changed the way I was perceived in the public, but it also changed my belief and made me think it was possible to beat the African athletes. In this sport anything can happen.”
Steve Landells for the IAAF