German sprint hurdler Pamela Dutkiewicz reminisces about the greatest moment in her career so far which came in the British capital at the height of the summer earlier this year.
"My success at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London can be traced back to 2015. At the German Championships that year, as I crossed the finish line I twisted both my ankles and tore several ligaments. During the enforced break from competition that followed, I worked on my weaknesses such as my core, and I started to work with a nutritionist to reduce my weight. The nutritionist, who happened to be a retired athlete, reduced my intake to three meals per day in order to give my body more time to digest the food. I adjusted my supplements and in a matter of weeks my body shape changed.
“The injury had made me stronger and after years of setbacks in 2016 I found I could train without issue. That year I ran a PB (12.85) and I took part in the 2016 Olympic Games where I was finally able to show my strength on the international stage.
“Last winter my coach, Slawomir Filipowski, and I did not particularly change too much in my training regime but both physically and mentally I was a stronger version of myself. I recall how during warm-weather training in Tenerife at the beginning of 2017 everything started to click. I did not have to push too much to generate speed off the hurdle, my strides were light-footed and I understood what it meant to sprint. It was an amazing feeling.
“The indoor season was another important step as I won my first international medal with bronze in the 60m hurdles at the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade. Outdoors I was more consistent than ever and ran many races in the mid-12.70s, which gave me a lot of confidence.
“Going into the World Championships I did not feel any pressure because I did not see myself as one of the main contenders. My goal was to run to the best of my abilities and reach the final.
“My heat and my semi-final in London were definitely important (Dutkiewicz placed second in both her heat and semi-final). These two races showed I was on the right track. I had a good feeling ahead of the final. My memories of the final are very clear. My stride towards the first hurdle was not good. It took me until the third hurdle to find my position and start to catch up. I thought a little too much during the race, which led to me slowing down. But somehow I got into a good rhythm to fight my way into contention.
“When I crossed the line, I thought I had finished fourth which I was completely happy with. So to look up the screen and find out I had won bronze was crazy. I could not believe it. I can only describe this moment as a combination of relief, pure joy and blissful happiness.
“The hours afterwards felt like I was in a film. On one hand I felt like I had experienced every moment very intensely and on the other it felt like I was being steered from the outside. I am really thankful everything fell into place and I was able to win bronze. Fourth and fifth were just a blink of an eye away. Winning bronze is a great feeling and no one can take that away from me.”
Steve Landells for the IAAF