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German Favourite: Tina Klein

Tina Klein
(Foto: Gantenberg)
[11.07.2005] 22-year-old Tina Klein couldn’t wipe the smile off her face at the German Championships at the beginning of July after clocking 13.09 seconds to take the Silver medal in the 100m hurdles and put herself at the top of this year’s European Under 23 rankings. She is now a hot favourite for Gold at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Erfurt on 14-17 July.

“Last year I wanted to give it all up and now I have finished second in the German Championships in 13.09 seconds, it’s crazy,” she said after the race, still not quite believing it. “I’m glad I didn’t pack it in now!”

Klein had a good year in 2002, winning Bronze at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Jamaica. 2003 however did not go so well. She moved to train in Mannheim in the same group as the current German number one Kirsten Bolm, but it didn’t work out as she hoped.

“I just didn’t adapt to the training methods especially the weight training,” she said. Her best time last year was just 13.81 seconds and she ended her season early in May, decided to give up her studies in Mannheim and go back to her home town of Sindelfingen and start again.

She started training with her father Manfred Klein who had a hurdles best of 14.50 seconds and took up a university course in German and sport at the University of Tübingen.

Tobias Unger also studies in Tübingen and the teachers are used to dealing with sports people,” explains Klein, who did ballet and jazz dance before becoming a hurdler. “At the moment everything is going well though exam time is a bit stressful.”

Training is also having the desired effect. She attributes her big improvement this year to the fact the “training is now adapted to my needs and I have found my speed between the hurdles again”. Her aim before the season was to run regularly around the 13.40 mark. She finished the first race of the season in 14.06 seconds, but then things started to fall into place.

“Suddenly my times started to go down by two tenths each race and I could hardly believe it,”she said. Klein’s athletics career was back on track.

The support of her parents has been a important factor in her renewed success and of her friends who accept that at the weekends she only has time for sport. “Unfortunately I see my best friend very little as she is not in Tübingen and I am always busy with athletics competitions at the weekend. At least she can sometimes watch me run on TV!”

And Klein's aim in Erfurt?

“In Erfurt I want to make the final. Up until now I am the quickest but who knows what will happen at the Championships, someone could appear out of nowhere. Anything can happen in the 100m hurdles. Ten hurdles stand in the way and false starts are always possible.”

But whatever happens in Erfurt, Tina Klein is back on the German athletics scene and has a bright future.