ATHLETICS: Injured Ellena retains European title

Sprint champion Ellena Ruddock and her coach Roy Humphries
Sprint champion Ellena Ruddock and her coach Roy Humphries

Medals for veteran athlete in Poland

European Masters

Indoor Championships

Torun, Poland

The European Masters Indoor Championships were held in Torun in Poland over five days in a brand new facility.

Sprinter Ellena Ruddock was the current champion, a title she has held for the last four years in the over 35 years women’s category.

She was expected to do well and was currently top of the rankings. However, Ellena suffered a minor hamstring tear four weeks before the Championships, so she and coach Roy Humphries, and physio Nick Wright had to change her preparation and went into re-hab mode, in order to stand any chance of competing.

Ellena had her first and only full training session just two days before competing, and so moved on to unknown territory.

In the heats on Day 1, Ellena finished 2nd in her heat in 8.05 secs and was obviously ring rusty from lack of training. In the final, in Day 2, Ellena won by the amount of a vest thickness, in 7.98 secs from the Latvian athlete, who recorded 7.99 secs. Job well done and European 60m champion again.

On Day 3, the 200m event heats took place. The script had to be re-written, as Ellena finish 2nd in her heat in 26.97 secs, way below her normal standard. Ellena then qualified as a fastest loser, and that meant she drew the dreaded Lane 1. That proved to be too much to expect, and she finished 4th in 27.00 secs in the Final. The lack of training finally caught up with her.

However on Day 5, the 4x200m relays took place, and Ellena was given the final 200m leg position. After 3 legs, the GB team was in third place and Ellena took the baton, having to make up 12 metres from the Spanish last leg athlete. In the end, a flying Ellena reduced the deficit on just 0.20 secs, but the GB team had to settle for silver medal. The GB team time was 1 min 46.34 secs.

A good finish to the championship in the end. The summer season opens up in just three weeks.