Tag Archive for: Germany

Training Talk with Kathrin Klaas

Apparently Klaas and other hammer throwers are “not good enough for the Diamond League.”

Kathrin Klass may be smaller than her competitors, but she certainly isn’t quieter. The two-time German Olympian is one of the most vocal advocates for the hammer throw and is leading an effort to get the hammer throw included in the Diamond League. Her recent writings have garnered the support of the German athletic federation. Klaas also is as aggressive in the ring as she is outside it, with a personal best of 75.48 meters (16th on the all-time world list) and a fourth place finish at the 2009 World Championships. While she is now clearly focused on London, she took time to answer a few questions in June about training and the current state of hammer throwing.

Training Update

Martin: Recently you had to withdraw from the German championships after you fell and hit your head during a throw at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene. Do you have any prognosis yet? Do you plan on still competing at the European Championships and being in top shape for London?

Kathrin: Thanks for asking. It has been a tough time since my accident in Eugene. First I thought I would still be able to train because I didn’t have any headaches but all of a sudden I started feeling dizzy when throwing and increasing speed during my four turns. I’ve been to four doctors and five physiotherapists now. It seems to be a complicated problem but I feel we are slowly getting there. Now I can lift and throw up to 60-70% of my normal speed. My plan is to throw at Europeans and of course at the Olympic Games. My federation wants me to prove my fitness on the upcoming Friday. If I pass the test I’m going to Helsinki next week.

London is still a ways away. I’m going to challenge myself, go all in and give the best I can. [Note: This interview took place just after the German championships in mid-June. Since then she placed fourth at the European Championships and just this week has been able to start training normally again.]
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Watching Fraenkisch-Crumbach From the Stands

For the fourth year in a row I ventured north for the memorable Fränksich-Crumbach Hammermeeting in small-town Germany. I’ve been explicit in stating that this is my favorite hammer meet around. Attendance looked a little higher at this year’s tenth edition of the meet, but the results were a little down and so was the excitement. I think everyone was expecting a world record and some mere international calibre results left them wanting; Betty Heidler defeated perhaps the best women’s field the meet has ever had, and Markus Esser convincingly won the men’s title. There is still just something unique about the meet. Nearly every one of the fans embraces the event in a way that makes the athletes feel like we have been adopted by a family. To take an example, I stepped into one of the local hotels to look for Sultana. I had never been there before, but as soon as I walked in the proprietor said: “You must be Mr. Bingisser.” He then explained to his wife that I had written a great article about Fränkisch-Crumbach on the internet.

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Throwing Hammer Indoors

Throwing the hammer indoors in Kamloops last winter.

Throwing in the winter can present all sorts of challenges, but as I keep repeating on this site, it is important to throw the hammer year-round. The weight throw might look like the hammer throw, but nothing can replace the real thing. Throwing outside is the best option since you can get more feedback from your results, and I posted some tips for doing that last month. But it isn’t possible for everyone. In some places the winter is just too extreme to have a productive training session outside. Elsewhere, you are constrained by limited sunlight. If you work a normal job, or even a part-time job, it can be difficult to find daylight hours to go throwing (luckily our new facility this year has some lights since that was the major issue for me last season).
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The Greatest Little Meeting in the World

You know a meet is great when you throw badly and still enjoy it. That is how I’ve felt after competing at the Sparkassen Fränkisch-Crumbach Hammermeeting the past two years. After returning to the meet this year I can tell you it feels even better when you walk away with a great result.

The top 10 finishers in the men's hammer throw.

The Setting
I have a great sense of direction, but I’ve been to Fränkisch-Crumbach three times and I still don’t know exactly where it is. In general terms, the town of 3,000 people lies about an hour south of Frankfurt. But the great American invention of straight roads have yet to arrive to the area so I end up taking a new route each time. When you finally arrive, you feel like you’ve set foot in hammer throwing mecca.
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In Search of a Good Ring

It’s hard to find good competitions this time of year, so I’ve actually spent a lot of time lately searching for good hammer rings. Showing up to a competition in Europe can be a bit of a gamble in this department. For instance, check out this ring fellow UW grad Aretha Thurmond had to throw out of in July. I’ve already found one great ring in Locarno and visited it for four meets this year. This week I had a chance to explore another ring with my former roommate, Sultana Frizell, who took a break from her training camp in Germany to visit me. On Wednesday, we found a good ring at a meet in Löffingen, a pint-sized town in the Black Forest of southwest Germany.

With Richard, Yvette, and Sultana at the Schwarzwälder Werfercup

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Fraenkisch-Crumbach Recap

I’m not sure whether to call it complacency or having perspective, but I threw horribly this weekend and am fine with that. I could search for reasons why I didn’t throw far and I could find the small victories that came from this meet; there are plenty of each. But, I’d rather not spend my time doing that. This is all that matters: I was in great shape two weeks ago, yet I only threw 62.53m on Sunday. Five meters of distance doesn’t just, like they say in the Shawshank Redemption, up and vanish like a fart in the wind. The distance is still in me: I just need the technique to bring it back out. I was talking with my friend Sergej Litvinov Jr. after the meet and he told me that “Everyone must have both good and bad meets every season.” I agree. But unlike him, I’m not able to win a meet on an off day and still throw over 77 meters.
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Training Camp in Saarbrücken

Since Norway, I’ve been busy training again. I feel the most comfortable in the ring when I have had consistent training, so I felt it was best to get a few solid weeks of training after several weeks in a row of competitions. I’ve been training again outside Saarbrücken, Germany with coach Christoph Sahner‘s training group and also house sitting for my sister in nearby Ramstein. In training, I have been feeling better than I have all season, and have consistently thrown some good marks. I also feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m lighter than I have been in nearly five years, but feel as strong and powerful as I’ve ever been. I’ll get a better idea of how things are going on Wednesday when I compete at a small local meet.
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And the Swiss Rejoice

Roger Federer

Switzerland's Roger Federer

I arrived back in Switzerland this weekend and had the pleasure of watching the French Open final with some friends yesterday afternoon. For those of you who don’t follow tennis, Roger Federer is arguably the greatest tennis player in history. He is tied for the most career Grand Slam titles and has also reached an unheard of twenty consecutive Grand Slam semifinals. However, until yesterday, one Grand Slam title had eluded him: the French Open. Despite playing great tennis there the past two years, he settled for a hard fought second place each time. Things worked out better this year and he took he finally won.
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Fraenkisch-Crumbach Results

Competitors at the Sparkassen Hammerwurf-Meeting

Competitors at the Sparkassen Hammerwurf Meeting

This morning I competed at the 7th Annual Sparkassen Hammerwurf Meeting in Fränkisch-Crumbach, Germany.  My result was representative of how this season has been going for me so far.  I threw only 61.05 meters (video below), which by my records is my worst result since September of 2005. My technique actually felt the best it has in any competition so far this year.  I had only one foul and was able to keep a low center of gravity in all my turns.  While I was not hitting the release very well, I still was doing so better than I have been lately.  So why the poor result?  Perhaps it was the early morning competition time, perhaps it was jet lag, perhaps it was the cool weather, perhaps it was nerves … who knows.  In any case, I’m not that happy with it.  I had big expectations for this season since it is the first time in my life that I’ve really had a coach and the time I wanted to train.  I know I can do better than this and it is frustrating not to be able to reach the potential I have shown in training this spring.
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European Tour 2009

I arrived in Zürich today to begin my ten week European comeptition season.  I will only be here for a few days before heading off to competitions in Fränkisch-Crumbach (Germany), St. Pölten (Austria), Bern (Switzerland), and Bergen (Norway) in June.  My schedule for July is not yet finalized, but I will likely be doing a competition or two in the former Yugoslovia before returning to Zurich for the Swiss Championships on August 1st.  A complete schedule is can be found on the site. Right now, I’m just focused on recovering from the tiring flight so that I can set a new season’s best on Sunday.
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