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Top performances at “Finals”: German stars fuel hope for a strong World Cup

Top performances at “Finals”
German stars stir up hope for a strong World Cup

Long jump ace Malaika Mihambo jumps out of training unchallenged for the next German championship title. Other sporting highlights on the way to the World Championships in Athletics will be provided by sprinter Gina Lückenkemper and discus thrower Kristin Pudenz.

Malaika Mihambo received the deserved applause from the athletics fans in the Olympic Stadium on Sunday. Led by the defending champion, several German World Cup hopefuls gained self-confidence for the upcoming world title fights at the national championships in Berlin. World champion and Olympic champion Mihambo jumped a good 6.85 meters in Berlin and was the best in Germany for the sixth time. Gina Lückenkemper also shone on Saturday with a 100-meter sprint in under eleven seconds, as did discus thrower Kristin Pudenz, who is one of the medal candidates at the World Championships from July 15 in Eugene, USA. Another highlight will follow on August 15 with the European Championships at home in Munich.

Mihambo was happy with the win but still sees a lot of potential. “Of course there was more today. Not everything worked together in the details,” she explained on ZDF. “I know the form is very good. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it on the board. I’ll definitely work out the last bit.” Before the start, she had indicated that she would be competing out of full practice. The 28-year-old from LG Kurpfalz, who has already jumped 7.09 meters this year, also had to recover from a minor knee injury. In the third attempt she managed to win in front of a few thousand spectators.

“Social media is both a blessing and a curse”

Four years after silver at the European Championships on the blue track in the Olympic Stadium, Lückenkemper, who had been slowed down for a long time by injuries and pitfalls of the corona pandemic, really got going again. Her winning time of 10.99 seconds was also satisfaction for difficult phases for the 25-year-old Westphalian. According to her own statements, she experienced massive insults and hostility on social media. “The worst thing was that in society someone who was on the ground was more likely to be stepped on than a helping hand came,” said the athlete from SCC Berlin in the ZDF “Sports Studio”. “Social media is both a curse and a blessing, it was a curse for me two years ago,” she reported, but emphasized: “I always had the feeling that I had done everything right.”

Previously, Pudenz threw the discus to a personal best of 67.10 meters and, after winning the Olympic silver in Tokyo last year, underlined her entitlement to a medal at the World Championships as well. Shanice Craft (64.64), Julia Harting (64.34) and Claudine Vita (63.36) competed powerfully with Pudenz in a high-class competition. In the men’s competition on Sunday, Christoph Harting failed to turn the tide for the better six years after his Olympic victory in Rio and only finished fourth with 59.91 meters. Magdeburg’s Martin Wierig won his second title with 64.25 meters.

In the high jump, Mateusz Przybylko returned four years after winning the European Championship and jumped 2.30 meters. Defending champion Tobias Potye also managed to do this, also making it the EM standard. Pole vaulter Bo Kanda Lita Baehre also impressed with a jump of 5.90 meters on Saturday. Javelin thrower Julian Weber won with a good 86.61 meters. For other top performers like Weber’s rival Johannes Vetter, who injured his shoulder, it’s now up to the first international highlight of the season in just under three weeks to get fit enough. Long-distance ace Konstanze Klosterhalfen, obstacle runner Gesa Krause, javelin thrower Christin Hussong and sprinter and bobsleigh Olympic silver medalist Alexandra Burghardt are also German hopefuls in the US state of Oregon.

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