This summer, the European Championships take place in Berlin. Today we preview with Lea Sprunger to this tournament. In Amsterdam, she won the bronze 400m hurdles medal. She came from the heptathlon but realized she had more change on other events. Besides the 400m hurdles, she is a great 400m runner as well. Last Sunday, she ran a new Swiss record on the 400m flat. During the Championships in Berlin, she hopes to win a medal.
In your junior and U23 years, you mainly did the heptathlon on international tournaments. The following years, you often ran the 200m and 400m and last years you also competed in the 400m hurdles. Can you tell something about this evolution?
The philosophy of my club was to do every event. That’s how I started with the heptathlon and what I did all my junior years. In 2012, I really wanted to go to the Olympics in London. I realised I had more chance over 200m that season so I changed the event. But already at that time, I knew I will end up in the 400m Hurdles and after the European championship in Switzerland in 2014, I analyzed the situation and I decided to jump into the 400m hurdles. I am still competitive over 200 and 400m flat, that’s why I sometimes also do these events.
In 2012, I really wanted to go to the Olympics in London.
Which event do you like the most and why?
To choose, I prefer the 400m hurdles over the 400m flat. And I really miss the long jump.
You did a lot of championships, among others two Olympic Games. On which competition do you contain the most beautiful memories?
This was always in London. My first Olympic Games in 2012, it was just wonderful. My dream came true. The village, the atmosphere in the stadium, everything was amazing and huge. And then in 2017 at the World Champs, this was my first World final and I have some very good memories from that championship.
17 July you ran a great 4x400m relay with the Swiss team. What makes relay special?
The relay is always fun. You compete not for yourself, but for the team. It is the only way to be part of a team in our sport. So relay is fun. You share the emotions differently because you experience the race with a team.
The village, the atmosphere in the stadium, everything was amazing and huge.
You also ran races with your sister in the past. How was it to run together?
We were together in the relay 4x100m during many years. It was always fun and great. For us, it was a chance to see each other a bit more because we didn’t live in the same place. And to receive the stick from your sister at the Olympic games is just indescribable.
In Amsterdam, you won the bronze 400m hurdles medal. Does this medal give you confidence for the Europeans this year in Berlin?
This medal shows me I took the right decisions of changing many times to different events. For sure it also gave me confidence.
My goal is to reach at least the same level as in 2016.
What is your goal to achieve in Berlin?
My goal is to reach at least the same level as in 2016. So I really hope that I can end on the podium again.
Picture: Evert Woutersen