At 12:45 on Friday in the Kombank Arena in Belgrade, the athletes in the women’s 60m hurdles will be preparing for their heats.
There will be nerves, there will be anticipation, there will be excitement and, for the final time at a major event, there will be Susanna Kallur.
The Swedish superstar has announced that this week’s European Athletics Indoor Championships will be her last competition, which means with both the semis and the final also on the opening day in Belgrade, the countdown really is on to the end of an era.
“I have decided the European Championships next Friday will be my last race,” said Kallur, 36, whose first senior title was the European indoor gold in Madrid back in 2005.
Two weeks ago she ran 8.06 to sit joint-14th on this year’s European Athletics rankings, a time which along with her depth of experience puts her in with a great chance of making the semis – and possibly beyond.
You have to turn the clock back to 1998 for Kallur’s first major medal when she won 100m hurdles bronze at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Annecy. Two years later in Santiago she was the champion, progressing on a course which saw her win European gold in front of her own fans in Gothenburg in 2006, either side of her two European indoors in Madrid and Birmingham (2007).
But injury then played such a cruel part.
Constantly Kallur was hit by a series of problems but never gave up, never gave in, and last summer she returned with acclaim at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam where she was second fastest in the heats (13.01) but did not make the final. A few weeks later, in Rio, she failed to progress past the heats in the Olympics and in the last few months she has been troubled by injury again.
Speaking to SVT, Kallur said: “The decision has emerged over the winter. I think I am starting to cry, it's emotional but now may be the end. I feel that I did not develop any further as I had hoped.”
She has nothing to prove. She has been one of the great ambassadors for European Athletics and fittingly on Friday in Serbia she has the chance to say goodbye on the track, rather than the treatment room.