Spain looking for a repeat performance | 12.02.2013
|Experienced high jumper Ruth Beitia will spearhead the Spanish charge
at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Göteborg.
In what is popularly known as the coffin lane in bookmaker circles, Spaniard Angel David Rodriguez roared to a new Spanish record of 6.55, placing himself firmly in the frame for a medal at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Göteborg 1 – 3 March.
Two days later he then went on to record a win in Gent with another fine sub-6.60 clocking of 6.57.
That time in Germany of 6.53 displaced the previous record by Venancio José of 6.58 from 12 years ago and gives the Spanish team for Sweden a shot in the arm as their number of qualifiers swells to 18 prior to their national championships to be held in Sabadell this coming weekend.
Pride of place in the squad goes to 800m exponent Kevin Lopez who leads the European rankings with his 1:46.72 and is second on the world lists.
Lopez took bronze in Paris two years ago and will once again be in the frame for a medal while former silver medallist from 2009, Luis Alberto Marco, is only 0.2 slower on paper this winter.
Another potential podium placer, Ruth Beitia, came back from a short retirement to once again assert herself in the high jump this winter.
Beitia intended to retire last summer after winning her first title in 20 years of competition at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki and finishing fourth at the London Olympics.
But her political career for the ruling PP party appears to have been put on hold as the 33-year-old has recovered her old zest for competition.
Already holder of three European indoor silvers, Beitia has put herself once again in contention with a leap of 1.98 in Albaricia, Cantabria last Friday.
Only favourite Alessia Trost of Italy has gone higher in the world this year and the Spaniard might well feel herself capable of doing the outdoor/indoor European double in Sweden given her wealth of experience.
Düsseldorf proved to be a happy hunting ground for former silver medallist Natalia Rodriguez who dipped under the Spanish minimum qualifying time for the 1500m when she recorded the second fastest time in Europe for 2013 of 4:09.86.
No sooner had that transpired than she was joined two days later by Isabel Macías who in Gent on Sunday was timed at 4:10.94. Spain will be presenting a strong front in this event in Göteborg.
European outdoor champion in 2010, Arturo Casado, has qualified for two events, 1500m and 3000m. Though not particularly dominant in recent years, the 30-year-old finished a fine second in Athlone in January showing his racing head is intact.
To date, Spain has 18 athletes who have gone under the minimum requirement for Sweden set by former triple jumper, Ramon Cid, for the Spanish federation. Five of those names mentioned above figure in the top three of the continental rankings.
Last time round in Paris, Spain harvested five medals, one of them gold and this year's edition of the European Athletics Indoor Championships appears to promise at the very least a repeat performance.
As recently as 2005 they won 12 medals and in 1996 the country enjoyed their best ever gold medal haul of four.