Friday, 15 July 2016
Dutch sprint sensation Dafne Schippers predicted that the Rio Olympics would be an altogether different experience from the London edition four years ago.
In 2012, a fresh-faced Schippers finished 12th in the heptathlon won by Briton Jessica Ennis-Hill on that famed ‘Super Saturday’.
Schippers has since ditched the gruelling, two-day multi-discipline event to concentrate on the sprints, her last major championships in the heptathlon coming in the 2013 worlds in Moscow when she won bronze.
But the change has not been without some success: her world championships-winning time in the women’s 200m at Beijing last year was the fourth fastest time ever run; last week she defended her European 100m title before helping the Dutch team storm to victory in the 4x100m relay.
“It’s always very special to have a competition like this at home,” Schippers said of the European championships in Amsterdam, billboards of the sprinter dotted across the city to ensure maximum coverage.
“It was the first tournament like that in our country. I’m happy with my results and now I want to go on to the next stage. The Euros were a first step to Rio.
“I have Monaco on Friday, then London (Diamond League meet on July 22-23) and then Rio. I search competitions with other fast girls with good starts. I’m hoping to run faster than the 10.90sec I ran in the Euros.”
Schippers said her improvement in the 100m, in which she will race on Friday at the Stade Louis II, had much improved.
“In the 100m, I’ve worked very hard on my start which is now better and better. I’m more stable now and am running faster times than last year,” the 24-year-old Utrecht-born athlete said.
“The Olympic Games are very special,” she added. “I was in London as a 20-year-old and I was very happy to be there. This is different because I’m going for medals.”
But Schippers said that natural talent was only one part of the story behind her success.
“Talent is not only just natural talent but the ability to train very, very hard,” she insisted.
“You have to love a bit of pain and not everyone has it.”
Schippers also warned that despite strong Jamaican and US teams in the sprints, everything remained open in the quest for Olympic gold.
“Last year before the worlds in Beijing, I had the eighth or ninth fastest time in the world over 100m, and it was the second fastest afterwards, which proves that everything’s possible. You get to the final and all’s possible,” she warned.
Source by: AFP