Team Europe: Dobriskey, Dehiba, Çakir to spearhead continental challenge in women's 1500m
Over the next two weeks, European Athletics will present brief profiles of the athletes who will represent Team Europe at the IAAF Continental Cup to be held in Split, Croatia on 4-5 September.
Besides Europe, three other continental teams: Americas (NACAC and CONSUDATLE), Africa and Asia/Pacific (Asia and Oceania), will lay claim to the title of “Continental Champion.”
Today, in two parts, we run the rule over Team Europe’s female middle distance runners.
|Lisa Dobriskey of Great Britain.|
Lisa Dobriskey (GBR)
Height: 171 cm
Weight: 56 kg
Team/club: Ashford AC/LSAC
Major championships record:
Olympic Games: 4 2008
World Championships: sf 2007, 2 2009
European Athletics Championships: h 2006, 4 2010
World Indoor Championships: 10 3000 2008
European Athletics Indoor Championships: 5 3000 2007
World Junior Championships: 4 2002
European Athletics U23 Championships: 3 2003
Personal Best: 3:59.50 (2009)
Season’s Best: 3:59.79 Paris 16.7.10
Born with a left leg turned in and made to wear shoes on the wrong feet by her mother as a young child to correct the problem, few would have predicted Lisa Dobriskey would have developed into a world-class athlete.
Following the great British middle-distance tradition, Dobriskey will be hoping for a good showing in Split but her main target remains the London 2012 Olympics, where she will hope to be at her best.
A gifted schoolgirl athlete, she made her international debut at the 2002 World Junior Championships in Jamaica, finishing fourth in the 1500m final. The following year she won a 1500m bronze at the European U23 championships to claim her first international medal.
Her big breakthrough in the senior ranks came at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne when she landed a shock gold medal to announce herself as a major talent.
Injuries have restricted her development but she gave notice of her world-class ability in 2008 when recording her quickest ever time of 4:00.64 in a mixed race, and, with very little competitive action behind her, finished fourth in the 2008 Olympic final.
Dobriskey emerged a stronger athlete in 2009 and landed the silver medal at the World Championships in Berlin, just 0.01 behind the gold medal winner Maryam Jamal of Bahrain. After an injury restricted build up to the 2010 European championships, she finished fourth in Barcelona.
Dobriskey is married to 800m international Ricky Soos, who appeared for Great Britain at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Her sister, Sarah, competed for England in the hammer throw.
Hind Dehiba (FRA)
Height: 162 cm
Weight: 43 kg
Team/club: Ca Montreuil
Major championships record:
Olympic Games: h 2004
World Championships: h 2005, sf 2009
European Athletics Championships: 9 2006, 2 2010
World Indoor Championships: 4 2006
European Athletics Indoor Championships: 3 2005
Personal best: 3:59.76 NR 16.7.10
Season’s best: 3:59.76 NR 16.7.10
The French athlete is in the form of her life after landing European 1500m silver and setting a personal best this season. Dehiba, now aged 31, only really started to make her presence felt on the international stage in 2004. That year she made staggering progress, hacking almost four seconds from her personal best in the 800m (2:01.37) and more than 17 seconds from her previous best in the metric mile with 4:03.72. She also made her senior international debut at the Athens Olympics that year, but failed to progress beyond the heats.
The French athlete continued to make real progress in 2005, winning European indoor 1500m bronze and later that year ducking below 2:00 for the 800m and setting a national 1500m record of 4:00.49 in Rieti.
For the second successive major outdoor championships, though, she disappointed as she failed to advance beyond the 1500m heats at the worlds in Helsinki. Dehiba finished ninth at the 2006 European championships and then was banned from competition for two years from 2007 to 2009 for a doping offence.
On her return, after a slow start to the summer she then ran a stunning national record of 3:59.76 to finish third in Paris and backed this up by claiming a silver medal in Barcelona – the biggest achievement of her career to date. Even Dehiba seemed a little shocked by her accomplishments and added: “A silver medal was more than I really expected.”
Dehiba also showed her versatility by running 1:59.99 for the 800m in Monaco in July.
Aslı Çakir (TUR)
Height: 168 cm
Weight: 50 kg
Club: Üsküdar Belediyesi Spor Kulübü
Major championships record:
Olympic Games: h 3000S 2008
World Championships: h 3000S 2009
European Athletics Championships: 5 1500 2010
World Junior Championships: 6 3000S 2004
Personal Best: 1500m 4:02.17 (2010)
Season’s Best: 1500m 4:02.17 (2010)
Turkey’s status as a rising power in women’s endurance running has been cemented by the dramatic emergence of Aslı Çakir this season.
The 24-year-old was virtually unheard of until this summer, but a fifth place finish in the 1500m final at the European Athletics Championships in Barcelona in a personal best of 4:02.17 suggests she is set for a very bright future.
A useful junior Cakir finished sixth in the junior race at the 2002 SPAR European Cross Country Championships. It was not, though, until six years later when she started to show real promise, recording a national record of 9:43.34 in the 3000m steeplechase at the European Cup 1st League in Istanbul. She qualified for the Turkish team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but failed to progress beyond the heats, finishing a lowly 14th.
Last season she lowered her lifetime best to 9:36.01 but again disappointed on the major championship stage exiting the heats at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin. She did, however, show the first signs of 1500m potential by clocking a PB of 4:08.07 in Patra.
She has improved markedly this campaign, setting a hand-timed 4:04.8 at the Turkish championships in Izmir before further lowering her personal best in the Catalan capital. The Turkish athlete also posted an 800m personal best at her national championships with 2:03.09. The IAAF Continental Cup will be another big test of her ability as she competes sparingly on the international stage.