Austria sends 15 athletes to compete at European Athletics Championships in Barcelona. Multi-talented runner Günther Weidlinger is the most prominent person on the team. The 32-year old takes part in his fourth European Athletics Championships but it will be his first as a marathon runner. Having competed in the 3000m Steeplechase in Budapest 1998, Munich 2002 (12th) and Gothenburg 2006 (7th) he has since turned his passion to road running. The personal best of 2:10:47 he set in Frankfurt 2009 underlines his ambitions for a top-8 place in Barcelona, although he thinks he has not reached his peak in marathon running yet. Weidlinger showed great shape over a shorter distance an 18 July when he placed second at the “Great North 10K” in Sunderland, UK, in 28:45 minutes, beating defending European marathon champion Stefano Baldini who finished 6th in 29:31 and the silver medallist from Gothenburg Viktor Röthlin (7th in 29:54).
“This certainly gives me a good feeling in the run-up to Barcelona but it doesn’t mean that I will be ahead of Stefano and Viktor at the championships as well”, he says. Weidlinger, who earned a university degree in economics, has another goal beside the marathon race in Barcelona as he is a candidate for European Athletics Athletes Commission elections that are held during the championships.
Discus thrower Gerhard Mayer, 30, has good chances to shine in Barcelona as well. He made a breakthrough at the World Championships in Berlin 2009 where he unexpectedly qualified for the final and finished in eighth place. Biomechanical support by Aadu Krevald from Estonia helped him to develop a new throwing technique during last winter. This paid off with a national record of 65.24 meters at the IAAF Diamond League Meeting in Rome.
Alongside Weidlinger und Mayer there are others to watch in the Austrian team. Ryan Moseley, 27, clocked 10.18 seconds for a personal best in the 100m this season. Born in Barbados and married to an Austrian, he was granted citizenship in April 2008. In Barcelona he has his eyes set for a place in the final. Roland Schwarzl, 29, tenth at the Olympic Games in Athens 2004 and bronze medallist at the European Indoor Championships in Madrid 2005, is right on track to reach his best again. He broke the 8,000 mark for the first time in six years by collecting 8,032 points in Götzis this spring. In Barcelona he wants to improve on this result and tackle his personal best of 8,102 points. Clemens Zeller, 26, set a national record of 45.69 in June. Placing 6th at the European Indoor Championships in Birmingham 2007 and 4th in Torino 2009 he wants to race in the final again. Most promising female athlete is Elisabeth Pauer in the javelin throw. She achieved 61.43m on 11 July und thus improved her national record by a huge margin of 2.40m.
Read full portraits, stats and quotes of all 15 athletes in the Official Magazine of the Austrian Athletic Federation for the European Athletics Championships!
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Austrian Team for the European Athletics Championships in Barcelona
100m | 200m: Ryan Moseley (Union Salzburg)
400m: Clemens Zeller (ULV Krems)
800m: Andreas Rapatz (VST Laas)
1500m: Andreas Vojta (team2012.at)
10,000m: Michael Schmid (LCAV doubrava)
Marathon: Christian Pflügl (SU IGLA long life)
Marathon: Florian Prüller (SIG Harreither Eisenwurzen)
Marathon: Günther Weidlinger (Union Neuhofen)
3000m St: Martin Pröll (SK Vöest)
Discus Throw: Gerhard Mayer (SVS)
Decathlon: Roland Schwarzl (Union Salzburg)
200m: Doris Röser (TS Lauterach)
100m hurdles: Victoria Schreibeis (DSG Wien)
100m hurdles: Beate Schrott (Union St. Pölten)
Javelin Throw: Elisabeth Pauer (SVS)
Pictures: Katzenbeisser, Plohe