An overjoyed Konstanze Klosterhalfen can be seen on her Instagram account. The German long-distance runner forms a heart with her hands and holds it around the stadium. Whether the exceptional runner will also be seen beaming at the current World Championships in Athletics in the USA is uncertain, if not unlikely. Klosterhalfen tested positive for Corona in June. In Eugene, she will start over 5000 meters, according to her management. “She feels good, but the corona infection didn’t come cheap.”
Unfavorable describes the timing of the World Cup for the German team in Eugene in the US state of Oregon. Even before a decision was made at the World Championships, there had been a number of setbacks for the already shaken German Athletics Association (DLV). One of the few hopes for a gold medal, javelin thrower Johannes Vetter, had to withdraw from the World Championships weeks ago due to shoulder problems. “It’s hard to say when I’ll be able to compete again.”
Injuries before big events usually hit every nation. But Germany is particularly unlucky this year. The DLV selection around head coach Annett Stein will be missing a number of medal candidates. Germany’s best javelin thrower Christin Hussong will not be there in Eugene, nor will Carolin Schäfer, former vice world champion in the heptathlon, and Jonathan Hilbert, Olympic silver medalist in walking. On Friday, the DLV reported that the shot putter Sara Gambetta (virus infection) and the sprinter Yasmin Kwadwo (muscular problems) were out of the World Cup.
As if that wasn’t annoying enough, a number of athletes are still weakened. In addition to Konstanze Klosterhalfen, this affects the steeplechase runner Gesa Krause. The 2015 and 2019 World Cup bronze medalist is still feeling the after-effects of a cold. At the start of the season two weeks ago in Stockholm, she ran a disappointing time of 9:44.44 minutes (her personal best: 9:03.30 minutes). She skipped the following finals in Berlin.
Niklas Kaul is still a bit away from his best form. The decathlete, who sensationally became world champion three years ago in Doha, has had bad luck with injuries in recent years. After all, he recently managed the EM standard for Munich in Götzis. But he also had to struggle with his body in Götzis, because of pain in his jumping foot he had to stop the high jump.
The reports from the DLV camp do not promise anything good for Eugene. That’s why head coach Stein doesn’t want to raise any great expectations. Of course you are weakened, she said. She hopes that the few remaining contenders will take their chance – and that there will be a few surprises.
The most promising athlete is Malaika Mihambo. The long jumper has had bad luck with injuries in recent months, but recently the Olympic champion almost found her way back to her old form. With a width of 7.09 meters, she is currently leading the world record for the year. A medal could also jump out for Kristin Pudenz from Potsdam. The discus thrower impresses with consistency. Should America’s Valarie Allman be at her best, Pudenz may not have a chance of winning, but a place on the podium is likely.
The surprise candidates include the women’s 100-meter relay with a regained Gina Lückenkemper and the pole vaulter Bo Kanda Lita Bahre, who jumped 5.90 meters at the finals in Berlin.
So there are a few sparks of hope, but nothing more. This is probably also due to the fact that the European Athletics Championships in Munich are scheduled for August 15, three weeks after the World Championships in Eugene. For almost all German athletes, the competitions in the Bavarian state capital are the highlight of this year’s competition calendar.
In Munich, public attention in this country should be many times higher than at the competitions in Eugene in the middle of the night. In addition, the chances of winning a medal are much higher because the best athletes in most disciplines do not come from Europe. In this respect: A meager World Cup record would probably be bearable for the Germans.