Tag Archive for: LC Zürich

Farewell to the Allmend

Every morning at sunrise I would start my day at the Brunau Allmend training facility in Zurich. It will be torn down in a few weeks.

On Monday I received an unwelcome surprise. My club’s manager told me that on November 14th construction would begin to turn our throwing facility into a skatepark. I was a bit in shock even if the news was not a complete surprise. A year and a half ago the city cleared the final legal hurdle to move forward with this project. We were first told that construction would begin last October. Then we were told May. And finally we were told it would start this October. With the month almost over and no sign of surveyors or bulldozers on the horizon I was starting to feel invincible, like a cancer patient who has lived decades after his doctor gave him just a month to live.
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Swiss Championships Three-Peat

In an interview after the competition.

The Swiss Championships in Basel yesterday were my last chance to set a personal best this season. All went according to plan and I improved my best to 67.90 meters and won my third straight Swiss national title in the process.

The Setting
When I heard that the Swiss Championships were in Basel, I had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, Basel has a great ring. It is probably the second best in Switzerland after Locarno. But on the other hand, I have never thrown well there before. The cage is outside the stadium and tucked into some trees. It is not spectator friendly and not athlete friendly since the opening is so narrow that it is possible to throw in the middle of the sector and still have your wire hit the cage (as happened to me once during the meet). Together, it feels like you are throwing out of a cave. Plus, my last two meets at Basel have been poorly planned and had the competitors waiting nearly 30 minutes between attempts.

To help get over this, I made a special trip to Basel last week to familiarize myself with the ring. I didn’t throw particularly far in that training session, but the increased familiarity gave me a lot of confidence heading into yesterday’s meet.
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Show Your Support at the Swiss Championships

Today Swiss Athletics posted a preview (in German) of this weekend’s Swiss Championships. The hammer throw was easy for them to predict:

The Swiss title has practically already been awarded. Martin Bingisser is throwing much farther than anyone else in Switzerland.

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Swiss Club Championships Recap

I woke up at 5:30 on Saturday to travel to Geneva. Thanks to Runnerspace, I was able to start the day off on the right foot despite the hour as I watched Mo Farah run an exciting European Record during breakfast. Then I headed out to Geneva for the Swiss Club Championships. 18 hours later I returned to Zürich.

The Setting
The Swiss Club Championships are one of my favorite competitions of the year. Since my club’s hammer throwing group trains at a different location, I only get to know the fellow throwers and the athletes that are good enough to travel with the national team. The Swiss Club Championships is an opportunity for me to get to know everyone else. It also reminds me a lot of the old UW-WSU dual meets I competed at in college. Everyone chips starts to do multiple events so that the team can score as many points as possible. It is a great concept that all of the clubs here take very seriously.
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Track and Field Finds More Respect in Europe

I used to think that track and field was more popular in Europe. Growing up in Seattle, I would always tune into CBC and see European stadiums packed with fans to watch the world’s best run, jump, and throw. But as I’ve visited and lived in Europe more and more, I’ve decided that it just isn’t true. Track and field is not more popular in Europe. With the exception of soccer, sports in general are less popular. American sports provide mass entertainment to millions of people. The Super Bowl tomorrow provides a perfect example. Die hard fans from coast to coast see their moods swing along with the win-loss records of their favorite teams. I haven’t seen anything like that in Zurich, where even the local soccer team fails to sell out its mid-sized stadium. Locals find it hard to believe that the Seattle Sounders have better attendance numbers (a sold out stadium of 36,000 for each match in 2010) because according to the stereotype, Americans aren’t supposed to like soccer. Even participation is much lower in Europe. The number of track and field athletes at my local high school is almost as high as the number of youth track and field athletes in the entire city of Zurich.
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Meet Recap: Swiss Championships

Congratulating my friend and runner-up Roland Widmer after the competition.

I just got back to Zürich after a long, but fun, weekend at the Swiss Championships that ended with another gold medal. It all started off on Friday, when I took the day off of work and headed down early to the meet. This allowed me to get a pre-meet training session in, a quick appointment with our team physiotherapist, and meet up with my family (who have been touring around Switzerland this month) for a pleasant dinner at the Castelgrande overlooking Bellinzona.
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Coming soon: Swiss Championships


A panoramic view of Lugano, the host of the 2010 Swiss Championships. The hammer throw will be hosted off-site in Locarno.

I thought I would post a quick note before heading down to the Swiss Championships tomorrow morning. The competition itself isn’t until Saturday afternoon. My first event will be the hammer in Locarno, where I competed last week. Immediately after the competition, I will head into nearby Lugano for the main portion of the meet, where I will throw the shot put. Both cities are beautiful and the weather should sunny and nearly 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Week 1 in Zurich

I’ve been pretty incommunicado the past week. That’s because I’ve been settling into life in Zürich. I arrived this week and will be staying here throughout the rest of the season. Through the support of my club, LC Zürich, and my job at UBS, I am able to train, earn some money, and have time to travel to some great competitions across the continent.
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Zurich to Host 2014 European Championships

It was great to wake up yesterday and read the news that Zürich had been named host of the 2014 European Championships. After the Olympics and the World Championships, the European Championships are the world’s next biggest athletics competition. In the hammer throw, where nine of the top ten throwers are often from Europe, the level of competition is as good as it gets. More than anything, winning the bid for the European Championships will bring more attention and devote more resources to athletics in Switzerland. As a country, Switzerland is not very competitive in athletics, but the fans still love a good track meet and they host two of the world’s most popular meets every year (Weltklasse Zürich and Athletissima). While no additional resources have been given to the throws, any additional attention for our sport is a good thing. I don’t know if I will still be competing in 2014, but if so it will be an exciting experience to compete in front of an excited home crowd in Zürich.
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