Maslak and Hejnova post fine times

Maslak and Hejnova post fine times
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Czech Republic's Pavel Maslak is favoured to defend his European indoor 400m title in Prague next month.

It was just the news that the Czech Republic wanted to hear: Pavel Maslak and Zuzana Hejnova are on course for the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague.

Both Maslak and Hejnova were forced to miss last August's European Athletics Championships in Zurich with injury but at the weekend in Moscow, they returned with fine runs.

Maslak is the defending indoor champion and he is now the fastest man in Europe this year after winning the 400m at the Russian Winter Meeting in 45.80.

And while Hejnova is more accustomed to the outdoor 400m hurdles, where she is the world champion, her fourth place over the flat 400m was a good start for the championships between 6-8 March.

Maslak, 23, has put himself in pole position for gold again with his Moscow performance as he puts the upset of last summer behind him.

He was aiming to defend his outdoor European title in a year where, in Sopot, he had added the world indoor crown to his list of honours.

Two years ago at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Gothenburg, Maslak won gold in 45.66 and will now be chasing more glory in front of his home fans in what will surely be an amazing atmosphere at the 02 Arena.

Click below to watch Maslak triumph in Gothenburg 2013:

At those championships in Sweden, Hejnova won 4x400m relay bronze in what became the best year of her career.

She progressed to storm to gold in the 400m hurdles at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow and was named European Athletics’ Female Athlete of the year for 2013.

But then 13 months ago an injury to her instep forced her out of the indoor season before an ankle problem saw her miss the European Athletics Championships in Zurich as she pulled out of the national championships after the heats.

Hejnova, 28, is used to finishing first but her fourth place in Moscow on Sunday could prove to be one of the most important races of her career.

It showed that the she is back, and her timing is perfect with Prague just around the corner.

The women's 400m at the Russian Winter Meeting in Moscow:

 

Hejnova ran 53.83 as Russia’s Yekaterina Renzhina won in 52.08, the fastest time in the world this year, and she will now further build towards the championships.