Young French pole vaulter Emile Denecker has been talking to his federation website about the experience of competing at Berlin Fliegt, the jumps competition that took place in Berlin at the weekend.
Berlin Fliegt is a four-way international between Germany, France, the USA and Russia. Each country enters four jumpers, two (male and female) long jumpers and one pole vaulter. The 20-year-old Denecker, who won the European junior title last year in Tallin, represented France in the pole vault.
“It is very different from traditional competitions,” stressed Denecker. “We only had four attempts and points were awarded after each attempt from four for first to one point for fourth. If you did not clear the bar you got no points. In the pole vault we also had to indicate to the judges on a piece of paper what we expected to clear and that was kept a secret for rivals and spectators alike right up to the moment you jump.
“The organisers placed the run-ups right in front of the Brandenburg Gate, the stands erected for the occasion were full with 3000 people and it’s a place with a lot of passers-by. Even during the warm-up people shouted and clapped. It is the first time I have ever experienced anything like that in the street.
“It helps you store up experience, I think the fact of facing the best athletes in these conditions helps when I have to meet them in other competitions. It is a good way of getting to know them and how they operate. I have jumped several times with Bjoern Otto but never with the Russian Dmitriy Starodubtsev and American Brad Walker. It motivates you to be alongside Olympic medallists. It makes you want to reach their level.”
Denecker has been injured all summer so Berlin Fliegt was something of a return to competition. He declared himself satisfied with the experience even though he only cleared 5.40.
“I am quite happy with the result after only getting back into training a few weeks ago. My back is much better even though I can still feel some pain there. In 2013 I am hoping to beat my personal (5.63) best because I have not been able to have a go at it in 2012. My ambition is to qualify for the European indoors this winter as well as the European U23 championships and the world championships.”
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