Athlete in Berlin: Konstanze Klosterhalfen back on the big stage

Dhe pained face of Konstanze Klosterhalfen was deceptive. Fifth in the 1500 meter run at the Berlin Istaf (in 4: 05.26 minutes) she was beaten behind winner Kate Grace from the USA (4: 01.33). But she was healthy, she was there and she was cheered. “I can’t expect to be in a bit of condition to accelerate on the final lane and pass,” she said afterwards: “That’s what I thought at the finish: It’ll be a little more fun.”

20,000 spectators in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday evening, live on television and, above all, again: in the race – the 24-year-old running talent had dreamed of such a return after a long break and rehabilitation due to a stress syndrome in the pelvic area.

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At the Olympic Games in Tokyo, she started over 10,000 meters after just eight weeks of training and finished eighth. She is still a little distant from the form she had when she last started in Germany, at the 2019 German championship in Berlin. And so the Rhinelander, who belongs to an American team at the sporting goods manufacturer Nike, seemed to be bursting with entrepreneurship. Yes, there must be a vacation, she said, but then the indoor season will start right away.

She sounds like she wants to prove that she used her injury break. “If you do it right, you emerge stronger, especially mentally,” she said: “You value what you have.” In the coming year there are big titles to be won in her new home Oregon and in Germany: at the World Championships in Eugene and at the European Championships as part of the European Championships in Munich.

“I’m really at the end”

At the end of the athletics season in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, Konstanze Klosterhalfen embodied a feeling of departure. Many stars and extras seemed to be dragging themselves to Berlin, as an encore after the final of the Diamond League. Gesa Krause sprinted to victory over the 3000 meter obstacle (9: 26.00 minutes), but contradicted the impression of freshness that she had given her light-footed jumps: “I’m really at the end.”

Malaika Mihambo signaled the same when she leaned against the gang next to the sandpit at the end of her competition, unlike in Tokyo six weeks ago. In August, she waited eagerly for her rivals to do their final jumps before she could be sure of the gold medal. In Berlin, it seemed, the strain of the season fell away from her when she finished second behind the Briton Jazmin Sawyers (6.73) with 6.73 meters.

She is looking forward to the quiet time with friends and family, said the Olympic champion. This time could be quieter and longer than usual. This time the globetrotter is on vacation in Austria, and she has not yet decided on the indoor season. Karsten Warholm won the 400 meter hurdles, in 48.08 almost two seconds slower than the world record and Olympic victory, and stated: “My body is tired.” Without words, pale and with an expression on her face as if she were at work in the office Russian Olympic champion Marija Lassizkene won the high jump with 1.98 meters.

  Pushing back into the race: Konstanze Klosterhalfen (left) in the 1500 meter run at the Berlin Istaf


Pushing back into the race: Konstanze Klosterhalfen (left) in the 1500 meter run at the Berlin Istaf
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Image: Imago

Only Valarie Allman would like to continue. The discus Olympic and Diamond League winner from America is stronger than ever and increased her best to 71.16 meters – a North American record. Johannes Vetter was happy that he threw close to ninety meters in the 17th competition of the season – he won the Istaf for the fifth time, this time with 88.76 meters – and allowed himself a lap of honor with the German flag. He too stated that he was ready for a vacation. Next destination: Italy.

Konstanze Klosterhalfen was in Berlin with Sonia O’Sullivan. The Irish woman was world champion over 5000 meters in Gothenburg in 1995, Olympic second in this distance in 2000, in 1998 cross world champion over two distances and European champion over 3000, 5000 and 10,000 meters. She competed in races from 800 meters to the marathon, before and after the birth of her children.

“A living legend,” said the German and introduced her as her trainer, with whom she worked when she was in Europe. They spent a lot of time together. In America she continues to work with Pete Julian. Julian is the former assistant to Alberto Salazar, who founded the Nike Oregon Project and was banned from sport for violating anti-doping rules and for sexual and emotional misconduct. Contact with Salazar was interrupted, she said in Berlin.

The collaboration with the versatile, now 51-year-old Sonia O’Sullivan suggests that Klosterhalfen will focus on the 5000 meters, the route on which she finished third at the 2019 World Cup in Doha. “If you want to run among the best in the world, you have to be able to run a fast 800 meters and have endurance from above,” she said. “I am working on it. It’s nice to feel the speed. “

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