It actually still exists, the good news from the German track and field athletes at the World Championships in Eugene. Yes, what would the team be without their extremely strong discus throwers? Unthinkable, after the first four final days full of bankruptcies, bad luck and breakdowns, if the strong women had also shown muscle weaknesses. At least they finally caused a small change in mood combined with a glimmer of hope in the previously disappointing German team.
The three of them, Olympic silver medalists Kristin Pudenz (29), Claudine Vita (25) and Shanice Craft (29), will be throwing for the coveted medals on Thursday night from 3.30 a.m. on the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field. And that at least one of them could make it onto the winner’s podium is quite conceivable.
The protagonists don’t see it any differently, after their sovereign qualification of the required 64 meters they gave themselves loose and relaxed. “All three of us have the potential to throw at the front,” said Kristin Pudenz (64.39) from the heart of her teammates and was confident. “We can still gain a few meters. It will be an exciting competition, I can promise that much,” said the Potsdam native and was nodded in agreement by Claudia Vita (64.98) and Shanice Craft (64.55).
The longing for the first notable success for the German association is great. What the men and women from the 79-strong contingent had shown up to the convincing performances of the discus throwers among the world elite so far can be described with the word modest yet benevolently. There are quite a few who are already talking privately about a shameful, unacceptable performance by the athletes in black, red and gold.
The figures show that the Germans have almost no chance in the land of unlimited opportunities: 38 athletes have tried their disciplines so far, with only obstacle runner Gesa Felicitas Krause (29), pole vaulter Jacqueline Otchere (26) and high jumper Mateusz Przybylko (30) doing so reached finals. With which nothing is gained. Almost all of the others in the tour group were eliminated without a word in the preliminary round or at the latest in the semi-finals.
Otchere, who had only been informed last week that she was allowed to start and then arrived exhausted in the World Cup metropolis after a two-day odyssey, did not manage to get past tenth place with a mastered 4.45 meters. Przybylko, the 2018 European champion, stuck at a depressing 2.24m.
As twelfth-placed, the man from Leverkusen at least had enough time to watch the best in his discipline duel on Monday evening. Mutaz Essa Barshim turned out to be number one for the third time in a row. The Olympic champion from Qatar won without a failed attempt with 2.37 m in front of Woo Sanghyeok (2.35) from South Korea and Andrej Prozenko (2.33), who won the first medal for Ukraine and celebrated it accordingly.
Understandable – the 34-year-old wasn’t even sure a few weeks ago that he would even be able to take part in the World Championship. “I managed to get my family out of Ukraine and the occupied territories,” Protsenko said, visibly touched. “But I left everything in my hometown of Kherson. I only took one bag with me. That’s all I have.” He arrived in Oregon, USA, with a season best of 2.26 m. “I wanted to do something special for my heroic country. I think that’s how I surpassed myself,” he tried to explain his unusual increase in performance.
As the only one from the final trio with Otchere, Przybylko and Krause, only the latter remains the hope of being able to build on their third World Cup places from 2015 in Beijing and 2019 in Doha via their favorite track. 90 minutes after the discus throwers, Krause will start over the 3000 meter obstacle course early Thursday morning. “If our strong girls have already won a medal by then, that would be good for me too. Then at least not all expectations of the knot bursting are on my shoulders, ”said Krause, who pushes the thought that a fate similar to that of her discipline partner Lea Meyer (24) could happen to her, far away.
The woman from Lower Saxony dived head over heels into the water at the first water ditch after her spikes got caught on the beam. To a certain extent, this mishap is symptomatic of the previous German appearance at the first world title fights in the most successful country in athletics.
Heptathlete Sophie Weißenberg (24) jumped three times in the long jump and then packed her things. She left the facility without comment, on which Olympic champion Nafissatou Thiam (27) from Belgium laid the foundation for her second World Cup triumph with 6.59 m.
Jürgen Schult (62) doesn’t think it’s impossible that the German discus throwers could finally succeed again. The Olympic champion from 1988 and for 36 years still the world record holder with 74.08 m supervised the triumvirate in the preparatory camp in Santa Barbara and is now bringing his expertise to Eugene. “What all three showed today is normal for me. But the sovereignty with which she mastered the normal had real format. The girls still have something up their sleeve,” Schult is certain. The fact that German throwers have won five titles more often than any other nation at world championships should be a good omen.