Drahotova walks the walk in style

Drahotova walks the walk in style
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Czech Republic's Anezka Drahotova is a pure talent and we look forward to watching her compete at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Tallinn from 9-12 July.

By the age of 19, to have a world and European junior gold medal and a senior European bronze to your name is pretty impressive going. But there again Anezka Drahotova is a pretty impressive athlete.

It is why at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Tallinn next month she is the walker who could have them all talking.

But what has been equally eye-catching about this teenager from the Czech Republic is her ability to switch sports, let alone, events.

In 2013, the year she won the 10,000km walk at the European Athletics Junior Championships in Rieti, she returned to Italy two months later to compete in the junior race at the UCI Road World Cycling Championships where she finished 19th.

To go from the sturdy nature needed to walk - where that slight break into a run could mean disqualification - to the momentum of a fast cycle takes a concentrated mind.

So, it should be no surprise that she ran a personal best in the 5000m last weekend when she was competing for USK Praha in Mersin at the European Champions Clubs Cup.

Never mind the daunting prospect of a race featuring Portugal’s brilliant and vastly experienced Sara Moreira, Drahotova took on the challenge to finish fourth in 16:16.75.

With each year, her performances show improvements and no athlete can ask for more than that.

When she won that European junior title, she triumphed in a personal best of 44:15.87 before last summer taking that mark down by almost a minute-and-a-half for gold at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene in a world junior record time of 42:47.25.

Drahotova then followed it up by showing no fear to mix it with the seniors as she made the podium at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich with a national 20km walk record of 1:28:08 as she finished third, missing out on silver by just a second and gold by 12 seconds.

By the time of the European Athletics U23 Championships in Tallinn on July 9-12, Drahotova will have hit 20 - her birthday is later this month - but even with all this success behind her, her career is just beginning.

The possibilities ahead are endless.