Ingo Schultz and Daniel Caines will fight for Gold
Last year, when Ingo Schultz came out from nothing on the top, and won silver in Edmonton, everybody was astonished. This year the situation has changed a lot. Now the German 400 Meter runner suddenly is in the favourite position.
Ingo Schultz (Photo: Kiefner)But he is quite cool even he feels the pressure. "My coach and I, we are going our way, and I think we are doing the right thing", the 27 years old athlete, who lives in Hamburg said shortly before he went to Munich. The biggest competitor will be Daniel Caines from Great Brtain. The 23 years old runner from London reached in the semi-final at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester 44,98 seconds and is only one hundred of a second slower as Ingo Schultz. Caines beat him at the European Cup in Annecy, now the German wants to turn the tables.
Beside Caines there are a few runners they could be dangerous for the leading guy Ingo Schultz. One of him is Marek Plawgo, the 21 years old athlete from Poland, who is an excellent hurdles-runner as well, will probably prefer the 400 Meter. And the young russian 800-Meter-runner, Juri Borsakowski, will also starts in the 400 Meter race. A candidate for the final is Marc Raquil from France, who improved this year to 45,39 seconds. Iwan Thomas, who won the 400 Meter at the European Championships in Budapest 1998 even didn´t qualify for the british team. He is in a very bad shape and the british federation even didn`t select him as a substitute for the relay.
Who will beat the british relay ?
Only eleven teams will fight for the medals in the 4 x 400 Meter relay. As the years before, Great Britain again is the big favourite, followed by the polish guys and France, Russia or Spain. Maybe Germany has a litte chance to run for a bronze medal. If everything will run the normal way nobody can beat the british team. The quartet didn`t lose the gold medal in the 4 x 400 meter since 1986 in Stuttgart.
But 1998 in Budapest the result was very tight - Poland was only two tenth of a second behind the winners. The first time two relays ran under three minutes.
In the history of the European Championship from 1934 on, only five different teams won the 4 x 400 meter relay. Germany, included German Democratic Republic (1934, 1938, 1962), France (1946, 1954, 1969, 1971,1978, 1982), Great Britain (1950, 1974 and from 1986 on), and Poland (1966).
Great Britain has a big choice, because they have six runners in the entry list. Who will definitly run, and in which sequence, the teamleader decides only one or two days before.