Will Grit Breuer defend her two titles?
She was the last to qualify for the German team in her first non-relay race outdoors. Grit Breuer had had her first outdoor competition at the National Championships on July 7th where she ran the 4x400 relay for her Magdeburg club.
Grit Breuer (Foto: Kiefner)The European Champion of 1990 and 1998 made the team only 10 days before the beginning of the Championships because of achilles problems that had made running impossible at the beginning of the season. With her qualifying time of 51.12 seconds she is now number three in Europe´s top performance list. The 30-year-old athlete knows that it will be very hard to win her third gold medal even with the help of her home crowd that will be on her side and cheer heavily.
Good news although for Breuer: As there are only 21 athletes in the entry list, the heats of August 6th were cancelled, so she can save her power for the semi final the next day. "I am happy about every day that is left before the Championships to improve my speed. But her rivals must be quite as happy about the news: 21-year-old Olesya Zykina from Russia who is Europe´s fastest 400 meter runner so far with 50.46 seconds and Antonina Yefremova from the Ukraine (50.70 seconds, 21 years). British runners Lee McConnell and Catherine Murphy have also good chances to win a medal as they run excellent times of 51.29 seconds and 51.36 seconds at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester last weekend.
German Relay in front of Russian like in 1998 or vice versa?
A look at the European Relay Rankings gives a wrong impression: The British women (3:27.87 minutes) lead before the German (3:28.72 minutes) and Italian (3:29.14 minutes) quartets. And especially the Germans hope that their last runner – most probably Grit Breuer – will be able to repeat the same pathetic, outstanding and unbelievable finish that she had already showed in the 1998, 1999 and 2000 finals and thus make them win the gold again.
Yet, the Russian relay does not appear in the rankings as it was disqualified at the European Cup in Annecy and has not run another relay race since. But it is obvious that Olesya Zykina, Natalya Nazarova, Natalya Antyukh and Anastasiya Kapachinskaya are the clear favourites because they are 1st, 4th, 5th and 9th in the 400 meter rankings. So the German and Britain women can only hope for another mistake of the Russian runners in order to have chances to win the gold…