domingo, 27 de febrero de 2011

The Magical Night of Angelica Bengtsson

      "All pole vaulters are artists... The best part is to fly- to feel you do not have any control.  Yes, it is scary sometimes.  When you are upside down and you see the floor under you, then it is scary.  But..."  (1)
(Do not understand it but it sounds fresh and lively enough)

                The 1993 gifted generation keeps impressing the whole athletics world this winter.  After the sensational exploits of 17-year-old Mariya Kuchina in the high jump and Isaiah Koech in the 5000 metres, now it is the turn for Swede pole vaulter Angelica Bengtsson, an athlete widely regarded as the future star of her specialty.  Everybody knew it was a matter of time for her to improve the 4.48 World Junior record which Silke Spiegelburg set in 2005.  Yet the way it happened has no precedent in Athletics history. 
                      Bengtsson started the 2011 season with a 4.47 best mark: the World youth record she had jumped last May at the European Trials for the inaugural Under-18 Olympic Games, just one centimetre below Spiegelburg. After two competitions, in which she cleared 4.42 and 4.41, she felt ready for the Swedish junior championships, held in Sätra the 20th February. After winning the contest, Angelica, as she did several times before, raised the bar to 4.52, one centimetre over Kirsten Belin’s nine year-old outdoor national record.  This time everything came together and in her first attempt she became at the same time World junior and Swedish senior number one all-time.  “Now, I feel relieved and, not anymore worried about a target, special heights, I can just jump in future competitions.”(2)
 Two days afterwards, she could show the world what she called “just jump”. In one of the most prestigious meeting indoors, the Stockholm’s XL Galan, not really intimidated for competing against the likes of Svetlana Feofanova or Fabiana Murer, Angelica Bengtsson demolished her two-day-old register, jumping over 4.53, 4.58 and finally over 4.63. Three World Junior records in 15 minutes, beating all her rivals but one: Feofanova.  The European champion must be amazed about the young athlete progression.  Bengtsson is mentally as tough as it can be and her motivation and level grow bigger as bigger is the test she has to overcome.

Angelica Bengtsson competing at 2010 Youth Olympic Games (Mark Dadswell/ Getty Images Asia Pac)
                Bengtsson started "flying" as her sister introduced her to the sport at the precocious age of eleven. Angela was already familiar with acrobatics because she had been practising gymnastics since she was six and still does, as veterans Feofanova and Isinbayeva, among others, before her.  In such difficult discipline as hers is, gymnastics skills are a bonus. “The part in the air I am quite good at. I am just trying to run faster.”(1)  She also has an athletics background as her father, also her coach, used to be a javelin specialist. With his support, Angelica has quickly become a prodigy in the sport, winning successively in overwhelming fashion the 2009 World Youth Championships in Bressanone, the 2010 World Juniors in Moncton and the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in SingaporeDeservedly she was bestowed the prize of rising athlete of the year by the IAAF.                 
A country as enthusiastic of Athletics as Sweden has no reasons to be glad lately about its results.  Kajsa Bergqvist and Stefan Holm retired, Carolina Klüft has given up heptathlon and Christian Olsson and Susanna Kallur have been struggling against injuries for several years. Angelica Bengtsson has become its biggest hope for a near future and pole vault is making all the athletics highlights right now. A second athlete, Malin Dahlström, born in 1989, has taken turns with Bengtsson beating the national indoor record this winter and has already obtained the A standard for Daegu World Championships (4.50). A third one, Michaela Meijer, completed along with Angelica, a 1-2 for Sweden after grabbing the silver medal in Bressanone. 
            Icelandic Vala Flosadóttir and Thorey-Edda Elisdóttir were among the world finest pole vaulters some years ago, the former even winning a bronze Olympic medal in Sidney.  Now a young Nordic generation has taken the relay. Minna Nikkanen from Finland, Cathrine Larsåsen from Norway and Caroline Bonde Holm from Denmark have all them improved on their respective national indoor records this winter.  And much more is in the way. The youngest girl of this talented generation, Angelica Bengtsson, still a junior until 2013, is already making a big impression in senior competition and only time will tell how far can she arrive.

Angelica Bengtsson’s first internacional victory at 2009 World Youth Championship in Bressanone, along with mate Michaela Meijer ( I like the way Meijer claps her hands to encourage Bengtsson).  SOURCE: SUPERDUP580


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