On Monday, just before 9pm, Niklas Strohmeyer-Danglin and coach Rolf Meixner could breathe a sigh of relief for the first time. At the “Last Call to Munich” meeting at the Eisenstadt athletics facility, Burgenland’s best athlete cleared the 400m hurdles in 50.66 seconds – the only time he has been faster in his career.
At that point, it was almost impossible for Strohmeier-Dungel to qualify for the European Championships in Munich. On Wednesday morning, that was certain.
At 35th (note: at the time of going to press) he was one of the top 36 in the European rankings, thus qualifying for the European Championships – the second Burgenlander ever. “There is great satisfaction in achieving that now,” says coach Rolf Mexner. “We really went to incredible lengths to make this happen.”
The worries and calculations are now at an end
The race to qualify was nail-biting right to the end. For a few weeks, Meixner and Strohmeier-Düngel subjected everything to “Munich” and reassessed what it would take to jump on the European Championship train. They did all this with the realization that the end was probably very near.
An invitation to the AAI Games in Ireland was a major event last week, flying home at short notice before the weekend. Flights and hotels were booked without a second thought, suitcases packed. The journey should pay off.
Strohmeyer-Dungle won Sunday’s race and gained 40 points in the European ranking. This laid the foundation for European Championship qualification ahead of schedule. The trip to Austria then turned into an odyssey. Meixner and Strohmayer-Dangl missed their flight to Frankfurt, where they spent the night.
The trip to Austria didn’t continue until the next morning, followed by a home match in the evening, which finally qualified Strohmeyer-Dungel. “The last few days before the border closure were tough,” Strohmeier-Dangle said in an interview with BVZ. “More than satisfied that it finally worked.”
The European Championships will not be a leisurely trip
On August 17, the European Championships for Neufeld will begin with the preliminaries over the 400m hurdles. Until then, Strohmeyer-Dungal will prepare intensively. “The coming week will be a tough training phase. In the final days before the European Championships, you allowed the form to perform well within the time limit.
Either way, Strohmeier-Dungell won’t be content with just being in the main event. “I don’t want to go there as a tourist, I want to show what I’ve made. A semi-final should be possible.
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