More and more Swiss athletes are selected for major competitions. They will be 26 at the Worlds in the United States in July.
Twenty-six Swiss athletes – including 18 women – have been selected for the World Championships in Eugene, USA (July 15-24). The Swiss delegation will thus have four more athletes than three years ago during the Worlds in Doha, Qatar. “The density has never been so high, and this is the best news for Swiss athletics,” applauds Marc-André Berset, athletics specialist at RTS.
For Jacky Delapierre, this dynamism is “a great satisfaction, but not a surprise”. “The limits for Worlds were severe, it shows the quality of our athleticism.” The boss of the Athletissima meeting (Friday August 26 at Pontaise) adds: “It is a set of things which, put together, mean that Swiss athletics is now reaping the fruits of its investments and its efforts.
Long term strategy
Athletissima – which works closely with the Federation and the Weltklasse meeting in Zurich as part of the “Swiss Athletics 2030 strategy” – invests, for example, more than 150,000 francs each year for the Swiss next generation. “The infrastructure is better, the coaches are more competent than in the past, we have several performance centers across the country (note: like that of Aigle for Romandie) where the athletes now have structures allowing them to develop. The Kids Cup also plays a big role, since it allows nearly 200,000 children across the country to come into regular contact with athletics. The pool of potential athletes has grown significantly.
Coming back to the athletes who have carved out a place for themselves and shined on the international scene, Marc-André Berset raises another point: “There is not only density, but also quality: now, several Swiss athletes can fight for medals in major competitions.”
Like leader Mujinga Kambundji, of course, but also Ajla Del Ponte (she is coming back from injury, however), and recently the length prodigy, Appenzeller Simon Ehammer.
Swiss athletics has succeeded in becoming denser to the point of now fielding several athletes per discipline (certainly not in all disciplines, like throws). As in the women’s 800m, where several athletes, including Audrey Werro and Lore Hoffmann from Romandes, sparkle.
The 2014 Europeans Effect
“What we are witnessing today is the direct consequence of the Europeans of 2014 in Zurich, when Swiss athletics gave itself the means to produce top-level athletes,” recalls Berset.
In less than ten years, Swiss athletics has already made a giant leap forward. “Those who thought there would be a vacuum after the generation of athletes led by Mujinga Kambundji are royally mistaken. The succession and the potential are there. The new generation is very dense, it’s impressive”, rejoices Jacky Delapierre.
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