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August, 2006 - Nr. 8


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FIFA U-20 World Cup
Jan Fitschen Wins Gold
Germans & Washington, DC
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From Pork to Solar

From Flagstaff to Gold in Gothenburg:

Jan Fitschen Wins 10,000 Meter at European Track and Field Championships

   TWIG - Germany’s Jan Fitschen surprised even his own coach when he charged past the favorites José Manuel Martinez and Juan Carlos de la Ossa of Spain in the home stretch to win gold for Germany on Tuesday in Gothenburg, Sweden. Fitschen, who achieved a personal best time of 28:10.94 in what was only his fourth 10,000 meter race, claims he never expected victory himself. He told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) that after "floundering around" in the middle of the pack, he suddenly found himself trailing a trio of the two Spaniards and the Swiss Christian Belz. "I thought, man, fourth place is pretty damn good!" Fitschen told the FAZ, recounting his thoughts during the race. But when Belz fell behind, Fitschen spurted ahead of Martinez and de la Ossa, who finished in 28:12.06 and 28:13.73 respectively.

Hungry for Gold: Fitschen’s strategy paid off

Although Fitschen and his coach Tono Kirschbaum’s comments were modest – "I thought 6th place was realistic," said Kirschbaum – the sensational win was the result of a well-crafted strategy. Fitschen, who specializes in the 5,000 meter race, selected the 10,000 meter in Gothenburg because he knew that he could deliver stronger spurts than the other runners there. The physics student from Bochum also trained at high altitudes, including a month in Flagstaff, Arizona, to prepare for the race.

Fitschen’s dash to the finish line was the culmination of a string of German successes. On Monday, Ralf Bartels from Neubrandenburg won the gold medal for shot put with a personal best of 21.13 meters, and Lilli Schwarzkopf of Paderborn took the bronze in the heptathlon, just ahead of Jennifer Oeser in fourth place.
Republished with permission from "The Week in Germany"


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