World record holder Fimik Poll vigorously defended her indoor European title

World record holder Fimik Poll vigorously defended her indoor European title

Dutchman Fimke Boll celebrates after winning the women’s 400m final during the European Indoor Athletics Championships at the Atakoy Athletics Stadium in Istanbul, March 4, 2023 (Photo by Yasin Akgül/AFP)AFP photo

Fimik Paul and Licky Claver walk almost shoulder to shoulder after 150 metres. But in the next 250m, 23-year-old Paul leaves no doubt who is the best runner in the 400m at the moment. She’s a world record holder for good reason and is defending her indoor European title with a time of 49.86.

A respectable distance, but ahead of Poland’s Anna Kielbasinska, Claver ran for her first individual international medal in 50.57. She and Winner Paul fall around each other after they finish. “It’s great that Like also receives a medal,” she said afterwards at NOS. The two are the first medalists for the Netherlands at this tournament in Istanbul.

About the author

Eric van Likerveld has been writing about Olympic sports such as speed skating, athletics and rowing since 2016.

Moments later, Paul and Claver stand proudly with the Dutch flag around their shoulders, with a call for donations for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria on the white ribbon. Kielbasinska, who trains regularly with the Dutch and has a record of 51.25, joins the two.

Two years ago, Paul also became European Champion in Toruń, Poland. However, there is a big difference with then: it got a lot faster. This stems from the training she has had in recent months for her major, the 400-meter hurdles.

In an effort to bridge the gap with Olympic and world champion Sydney McLaughlin, she began taking longer strides. The American takes 14 steps between the barriers, Paul used to take 15, but now one step less. make it more powerful.

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On the narrow 200-meter indoor track, where the corners slope upward, the long stride isn’t an advantage. So Böll took smaller steps in Istanbul, but capitalized on her growing power. And the mental change she went through. I recently realized that the 400m on the indoor track has to hurt. Or as she says: “It must be uncomfortable.” If so, it is difficult.

She didn’t run as fast as two weeks ago, when she broke the 41-year-old world record in Apeldoorn and clocked it at 49.26. Paul stayed above it for 0.6 seconds. I noticed that everyone was hoping that I could go faster and set a world record again. But it is not as easy as it seems. That was a bit of pressure.

These were also the best times, because the woman ran only six times faster. ‘I can not complain. It’s really nice to be running such a time in this championship. In any case, few have broken the fifty-second barrier. Paul hasn’t done that until this season.

The chance of her setting another European Championship record was slim. Unlike outdoors, indoor 400-meter runners run between each other after 150 metres. Then tactics prevail and not the end time. In the run-up to the championships, Poole said she had to therefore abandon the idea of ​​a “perfect race”. “It’s against each other a lot, you have to adjust accordingly.”

During the world record race, Paul had no tactical considerations. Apart from Klaver, there was no one in the Dutch Championship that she had to take into account. And she knew from her colleague and friend, without saying it, that she wouldn’t stand in her way. It was no different at the European Championships and Paul managed to reach the final round as she wanted.

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For Paul, indoor competitions cater to the outdoor season. Then, on the 400-meter track, there are again obstacles that she can jump over. And that’s what you’d rather do in the end: hitches.

But there are no obstacles on the inner track. And then she can also enjoy a walk. She predicted a week and a half ago that she would thus cherish the European indoor title, just like the previous one. “Every medal is a medal and you should get it anyway.”

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