Janek Oiglane was forced to watch the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships from the sidelines but the Estonian made a winning return to the multi-events on home soil at the International Combined Events Meeting in Tallinn last weekend.
Oiglane’s story is a typical one of an athlete who picked up an early season injury only to break down again in a bid to play catch up. Oiglane injured his heel during a pole vault competition in late February which left him unable to run for two months and in a race against time to get fit for the summer campaign.
“After that I had to hurry with a lot of things in training and especially in sprinting because competitions had already started and I needed to qualify for the European Championships as well,” he said.
“I did a lot of running and my hamstring couldn’t hold up under the pressure and I ruptured it. I was down and I couldn’t do almost anything so I decided to finish my season.”
Oiglane was still sporting preventative tape on his leg in Tallinn last weekend and he was unsure whether his body would withstand the rigours of the seven events up until the eve of the competition.
“Two weeks before this competition I was unsure if I was going to compete and I literally decided on the last day,” he said.
“I had a micro-rupture in my hamstring and that is why I competed with so much taping on my leg. I was just nervous before the 60m and I knew if I could do the maximum there, I would be OK for the rest of the competition.”
Oiglane made it to the end of the competition with five individual lifetime bests along the way, and with his hamstring intact. His winning score of 6085 points was a lifetime best and will almost certainly be sufficient to qualify for the Glasgow 2019 European Athletics Indoor Championships from 1-3 March.
“My expectations were to get close to 6000 points and just enjoy the competition because it’s been a pretty long time since I did my last multi-events competition. To be honest I felt like I was in good shape and I was ready to do some good results,” he said.
Oiglane began both days with lifetime bests in the 60m (7.07) and 60m hurdles (8.13). He also set PBs on the first day in the shot put (15.16m) and high jump (2.02m) and added nine centimetres to his lifetime best in the pole vault with 5.19m.
“I think the most pleasant one was the 60m because everybody thinks all the time that I am a slow athlete. But with that I think I am showing that my speed workouts and speed overall is getting better and we are moving in the right direction.
“The pole vault was emotionally good as well; I really love the event and the crowd helped me a lot there.”
Oiglane made his breakthrough on the senior stage two years ago, first by winning the European Combined Events Team Championships Super League in Tallinn before finishing a surprise fourth at the IAAF World Championships in London the following month.
Oiglane’s lifetime best score from the World Championships of 8371 points would have put him in title contention in Berlin last summer but rather than dwell on what could have been, Oiglane is looking forward to what will be a new experience next month.
“It will be my first indoor championships and it will be a cool experience. My expectations are just to enjoy the competition, venue and the crowd and if I do that, the results will come too,” he said.
“Whenever I compete I want to do my best and to do a personal best so that will be my goal there.”