Citius means “faster”
This is the name of a new international athletics meeting in Bern. Several months ago, the organizers asked me if I would like to be the official meeting photographer. A few days before the event, I am really looking forward to it.
The background is remarkable. The organizers are six young athletes. When I say young, I mean really young. Their names are (l to r): Abdul Kadir Omar (age 29), Bas de Graf (21), Franco Noti (21), Raphael Clemencio (24), Julien Christen (19), and Matyas Kobrehel (22). Out of nothing they put together a budget of 150’000 francs and were really successful in attracting international top athletes.
100m women. This is the event that everybody is looking forward to. Mujinga Kambundji, bronze medalist at the 2018 Indoor Worlds, will do her first ever international race on her home track. And she will face tough competition. Alex Burghardt from Germany, Viktoriya Zyabkina from Kazakhstan, Ivet Lalova-Collio from Bulgaria will be in the blocks. Quite likely that some of these runners will meet again in the final of the Europeans.
Another interesting question is how the Swiss relay members will perform. As a team, the relay did a world class race last week (42.71 secs). However, there is still room for improvement. Hence, the eyes will be on Ajla del Ponte and Salomé Kora too.
4x400m relay races. For both the men and the women there will be 4x400m relay races. Several national teams (SUI, BEL, GBR) will try to qualify for the Europeans. The 4×400 is special to me. I loved racing it myself. Full of action, exciting, and really really hard. I’m really looking forward. The Swiss will line up with:
Women: Cornelia Halbheer, Robine Schürmann, Sarah Atcho, and Léa Sprunger
Men: Alain Hervé Mfomkpa, Joel Burgunder, Ricky Petrucciani, and Charles Devantay
100m/200m men. The Swiss Champion Alex Wilson is in top form and will run the 100m against the two fast Brazilians Rodrigo Pereira and Derick de Souza Silva. Alex is in top shape. Will he break his national record? In the 200m race things are even more exciting. There are 4 athletes with PBs below 20.40secs and Alex is one of them. Again, the Swiss national record is in danger.
200m women. Beth Dobbin (GBR), Agne Serksniené (LTU) and Zoey Clark (GBR) are the fastest starters. It is very likely that the winner must run below 23.
800m women. Egle Balciunaite from Lithuania leads the field with a sub 2mins PB. She is well known in Switzerland and she may be sure to receive a lot of support. Among the fastest Swiss is the young super talent Delia Sclabas who, like Mujinga, will have a home race in Bern.
800m men. Four runners have PBs of 1:46 or 1:45, Joshua Ralph (AUS) is the fastest. Will one of the three fastest Swiss (Jonas Schöpfer, Hugo Santa Cruz, Pascal Furtwängler) make a leap forward and qualify for the Europeans?
1500m men. A similar situation. The field is led by the world class runner Ryan Gregson (AUS) who ran 3:31 before! In a field with five other sub 3:40 runners this will be the chance for the Swiss starters Jan Hochstrasser and Julien Wanders to do great things.
3000m men. Five African runners will try to make the race fast. It’ll be interesting to see what the best Swiss will achieve in this field.
110m hurdles. The Swiss shooting star is Jason Joseph. After winning the Junior Europeans last year, this is his rookie season over the 107cm hurdles. And he is doing really well. Two weeks ago he ran 13.51 seconds. Will he break the Swiss record? His opponents, Devon Hill (USA) and David King (GBR) are world class hurdlers. It’ll be really exciting.
Pole Vault women. A nice international competition is waiting with Minna Nikkanen and Wilma Murto from Finland and Marion Lotout from France, all with PBs of 4.60 and more. Unfortunately, the Swiss vaulter Angelica Moser is still injured.
Long jump men. The Swiss jumper Chris Ullmann just recovered from a surgery. In his second competition he showed that is improving quickly. His season best is already 7.76m. In Bern he has the honor to take on the indor world champion Mauro da Silva (BRA).