Czech distance runner Radek Juška during his qualifying attempt at the Indoor WC in Istanbul on March 3, 2023.
Istanbul – Czech athletes were 100% successful in the fight for advancement in today's morning program at the European Indoor Championships. Distance runner Radek Juška, pole vaulter Amálie Švábíková and mile runner Kristiina Mäki advanced to the finals. Matěj Krsek, Lada Vondrová and Tereza Petržilková managed the 400-meter heats without any problems, advancing to the early evening semi-finals.
The silver medalist from 2015, Juška, who got into the nomination thanks to a wild card from the Czech Athletic Association, could calm down already after the original jump of 782 centimeters. Based on the analysis of the results of the previous championships, he believed in advancing. “We were already safe. We went with a reserve, so that all three attempts were made,” Josef Karas' confidant told Czech Television.
He improved by four centimeters in the second series, and added 784 centimeters in the third. He held on to the third position for a long time, until in the final round he dropped to the seventh place. As in the domestic indoor championship, he competed with a bandage on his injured right hand. “At least some stimulus will occupy that monkey in the head, distract from all the stress and so on. So it's actually a plus,” he noted.
One of the medal contenders in the pole vault competition, Švábíková entered the qualification at 445 centimeters and crossed the bar for the first time. This proved to be key. At 455 centimeters, she failed twice, but she did not have to make a rescue last attempt, because only eight competitors remained in the qualification after the failure of her opponents. They all made it to Saturday's finals. “I jumped it with scraped fingers. I'm happy to be in the final. I have to adapt a little bit to the start, I was very nervous, I didn't catch the technique that much,” she said.
Despite health problems in the indoor season, Mäki made it to the next big final at the age of fifteen. She handled the start very tactically and at the finish she defended the third place, meaning direct advancement. She improved her season's best to 4:10.86. “I was a bit nervous before the start. Having a breakdown, my confidence wasn't what it always was. In these races, every collision, every fumble is decisive. I'm concentrating there on not pushing myself too much and concentrating on the finish. I'm very satisfied ,” she rejoiced.
For the first time at the HME, fourth-place finisher Vondrová, who failed at this stage in 2019 and 2021, advanced from the start. This time she ran first in the opening round and then just checked her position. She could have easily missed the finish and still won in 52.77. “It was great. I was a little bit scared about the six, so I nailed it from the beginning and then checked it. I didn't want to make a mistake like the years before,” she said.
Petržilková joined her in the final run. She drove away with the fast Polish Anna Kielbasiňska and easily stayed on the second place, meaning direct advancement. In the fastest run of the day, she improved her personal best by five hundredths to 52.14. “My goal accomplished. I felt great today. I think I still have a reserve,” she smiled.
Twenty-two-year-old Krsek was the first to run in the start and kept the leading position until the finish line. He also defeated defending champion Ósar Hussilos from Spain. With a performance of 46.23, he ranked second overall, right behind the favored Nor Karsten Warholm. “It's a second time, but I've seen runners from other heats run similar times and drop at the finish line,” he said. He's a little worried about how he'll handle two Thursdays in one day. “I'm still terribly tired, it's hard to say,” he said.
Qualifications and heats with Czech participation:
< strong>400 m: 1. Warholm (Nor.) 45.75, 2. Krsek (Czech Republic) 46.23 – advanced to the semi-finals.
Distance: 1. Montler (Swed.) 814, …7. Juška (ČR) 786 – advanced to the final.
400 m: 1. Kielbasiňská (Pol.) 51.77, 2. Petržilková 52.14, …8. Vondrová (both Czech Republic) 52.77 – both advanced to the semi-finals.
1500 m: 1. Boboceaová (Romania) 4:07.93, .. .9. Mäki (Czech Republic) 4:10.86 – advanced to the final.
Bar: 1. Murtová (Fin.) and Šutejová (Slovenia) both 455, …7. i.a. Švábíková (ČR) 445 – advanced to the final.