Something unbelievable happened! Famous Bratislava athletic competition perked up after six-year break. Under the name which made it the most famous in the world (Pravda – Televízia- Slovnaft), but in a new location. Athletic stars did not return to the Inter stadium on Pasienky, but the modern sports complex x-bionic® sphere in Šamorín welcomed them.
On Saturday 4 June 2016, exactly six minutes after 16:00, when the Czech triple jumper Betuňák launched the initial attempt, the next chapter of the Pravda – Televízia – Slovnaft meeting started to be written. Around 17:22, the rebirth of the once renowned event was officially sealed by the IAAF vice-president Alberto Juantorena, Olympic champion at 400 and 800m of Montreal 1976, at the opening ceremony.
The fifty-first year offered a great experience at the beautiful stadium not only to sports fans in the VIP lounge (former Slovak president Ivan Gasparovic, Vice-chairman of the National Council of the Slovak Republic Béla Bugár, president of the Slovak Athletic Committee František Chmelár), but also to about three thousand spectators seated around the new sky blue oval.
The main attraction of the P-T-S meeting was the three world leaders at the time – the 100m runner Ogunode of Qatar, Kenyan Kipkoech at 800m, Polish hammer thrower Wlodarczyk – but also a myriad of medalists from the Olympics and World Championships of nearly four dozen of countries, as well as the Slovak athletic elite. Fans had an unusual opportunity to see our medal winners from the world and European championships – Hrašnová, Toth and Charfreitag in one place.
OGUNODE showed a great dash
The visitors, who stayed at the meeting until the very end despite the upcoming thunder storm, got the special reward from the fastest runners. The winner of the shortest sprint – 100m, became Ogunode of Qatar in 10.01.The 800m victory went to Nicholas Kipkoech in 1:44.70. Then they saw the three historical performances on the Slovak soil (100, 800 a 4 x 100m men), the world leading time of Anton Kučmín – 11:22.36 at 3000 m Race Walk, as well as the new Slovak record of women at 4x100m relay (44.65).
Femi Ogunode coming originally from Nigeria erased the American Calvin Smith from the P – T – S historical rankings (10.07 in 1988). It was also the fastest 100m in the Slovak history. Only Jamaican Nesta Carter achieved the same time in 2012 at the Athletic Bridge in Dubnica.
„I am not that pleased with the time but it was a good training. It is the Olympic year and I want to succeed in Rio. I believe I will get a medal there,” he stated with self-confidence and added that he wanted to run 9.90 or even 9.80 in summer.
The only Slovak victory and the world leading time was managed by Anton Kučmín at 3000m race walk. He beat the 50km world champion Matej Tóth second time in his career. „On the second kilometre, I felt I had enough power and energy. I knew from the experiences that it was the right moment to attack. But I was not sure about my victory because Matej is able to surprise anytime, even after the injury,” said the 32-year-old Kučmín.
WLODARCZYK crowned the hammer
The most valuable women´s result came thanks to the hammer throw world record holder; world and European champion Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland. „The stadium is beautiful, the circle is good,” said one day before the event and believed in a throw over 79 metres.
In the end, she achieved 77.70m but she did not have any strong opponent here. She won 6 metres far away from the rest of the field. „I am not glad about my result as I was thinking of even 80 metres today,“ Wlodarczyk sadly stated.
ASVÁNYI: We have something to build on
„The athletic stadium in Šamorín, and then the P-T-S meeting – that looked like an utopia from the beginning,” said the main initiator of the idea, and also the Slovak Athletics Federation vice-president Ladislav Asványi. „I experienced something similar when we were building the athletic hall Elán in Bratislava. But what happened in Šamorín that has a complete different dimension. It is almost unbelievable that in half a year there is a brand new athletic areal and we renewed the P-T-S. The competition was successful in every way – sport, organisation and financial. I think we have something to build on in the future.”
GABRIEL BOGDÁNYI, denník ŠPORT