Drahotova in the mood for a podium

Drahotova in the mood for a podium
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Czech Republic's Anezka Drahotova hopes to demonstrate her incredible race walking talent by taking a medal over 20km at the World Championships in Beijing.

Among the 25 athletes that the Czech Republic are sending to the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, Anezka Drahotova is the youngest.

She is just 20 but her record speaks for itself.

A year ago this week, Drahotova made the podium at the 2014 European Athletics Championships in Zurich when she was third in the 20km walk in a national record.

Her time was 1:28:08, and she missed silver by the agonising blink of an eyelid as Ukraine’s Lyudmyla Olyanovska beat her by 0.01 in a thrilling, dramatic race won by Russia’s Elmira Alembekova in 1:27:56.

Now Drahotova will chase more success in China in a career where for the past four years her level of consistency has been outstanding.

"I want to achieve a high quality result which will be enough for top eight but I am thinking also about a medal," she said.

It has been another memorable year for her, particularly back in May at the European Race Walking Cup in Murcia where she lowered the national record to 1:26:53 when finishing fourth.

Last year, a few weeks before Zurich, she was crowned world junior champion in the 10,000m walk in Eugene and now she is so ready for the challenge of the world championships again after finishing seventh in Moscow 2013 when she demonstrated what a brilliant future she has.

She is doing everything she can to give herself the best preparation and get used to the humid climate conditions in China.

The championships start on Saturday week and the women’s 20km walk is not until the following Friday but Drahotova has already started her journey to Asia.

She left on Monday as the first member of the team and will spend two weeks in Tsukuba in Japan before arriving in Beijing four days before her event.

It should be fascinating championships for the Czech Republic, with Zuzana Hejnova peaking at just the right time as she bids to successfully defend her 400m hurdles crown.

Her 53.76 from Paris last month puts her second on the world lists behind America’s Shamier Little who has run 53.74m.

That performance led her to being voted by the fans as the European Athlete of the Month for July.