Injuries have prevented our 2013 European Athlete of the Year, Zuzuna Hejnova, from competing this year as she ultimately missed the European Athletics Championships in Zurich the biggest event of the season.
Although it was difficult to watch as her 400m hurdles rivals performed on the track, she could not run the risk of further injuring herself and jeopardise her presence at the 2015 European Athletics Indoor Championships which are held in her home city of Prague from 6-8 March.
“Of course it was hard to be on the sidelines but on the other hand I’m healthy now and three important seasons await me. Perhaps it will also benefit me that I was able to get a rest from the daily drills,” she told the Czech athletics federation.
At first there was a possibility of Hejnova returning in time for Zurich but eventually she decided to call it quits.
“My leg was getting better but unfortunately I started having problems with my heel and I began to worry that the injury could get worse.
"I tried everything possible: physiotherapy, Chinese medicine, herbs, needles, I went to laser, also tecar (electrical charges sent to the injured area). I cannot say specifically what helped me but each part contributed to the improvement of the condition, she continued."
Now Hejnova is almost ready to start training again according to her coach Dalibor Kupka: “Zuzana is almost fit and determined to prepare for the peaks at home in Prague and for her title defense in Beijing,” he said.
She will aim to replicate the sort of form she found in 2013 when she ran under 54 seconds on 10 occasions. Hejnova was also one of the standout performers at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow hurdling her way to gold with a national record of 52.83.
The Czech star will be her country’s strongest chance for a gold medal and the atmosphere is likely to be incredible in the O2 Arena as she lines up for the 400m final.
“It’s great that Prague will host such an important event, and I believe that a lot of people will come because they are needed for good performances.”
Hejnova will enter the championships as one of the favourites although she has not yet earned an individual European indoor medal. We expect her to set the record straight in Prague.