Spain’s Chilla gets ready to challenge the world’s best

2011-05-04 21:41 by Administrator

Mercedes Chilla of Spain.

Spain’s 2006 European Athletics Championships javelin bronze medalist Mercedes Chilla opened her year when she threw 60.62m on Saturday and the performance has given her plenty of optimism that she can improve on her national record when the weather gets warmer in the coming months.

Chilla’s current national record, her fourth, stands at 64.07m which she threw in Valencia last June.

"She’s training better than ever and I am convinced that she will improve on the marks of the year, although, let’s not forget the influence in this discipline of external factors such as the wind conditions,” reflected her coach Pepe Vega, in an interview with Chilla’s local paper Diario de Jerez at the weekend.

“Sometimes you’ve also got people on the track close by, something that affects many meetings including the European Athletics Championships last summer, when there were runners on a nearby area,” he added, commenting on the timetable which saw the straggling and exhausted runners in the decathlon’s men’s 1500m inadvertently causing problems for the women javelin throwers.

Nevertheless, and despite the distractions which also affected several other top competitors, Chilla produced a creditable performance and still finished sixth in front of her family and friends in Barcelona.

After being consistent at continental championships - Chilla can also point to a silver medal at the 2001 European Athletics U23 Championships as well as gold at last year’s Ibero-American Championships - she now has the challenge again of proving herself at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, this summer.

In her previous three World Championships, from 2005 to 2009, she has failed to get beyond the qualifying rounds although she did make the final of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

However, this year Vega is confident his charge will succeed in getting among the global elite.

"Mercedes deserves great merit because she’s on the verge of getting among the women who have thrown 70 metres. They are generally tall and strong while she is small and slim. It’s her technique and character which is going to get her into the elite; she’s always working to the maximum, takes care of herself and is a person with a
great capacity to excel, as we’ve seen year-after-year."

Another of Chilla’s objectives is to provide good points at the SPAR European Team Championships in Stockholm next month.

Spain flirted with relegation last year in Bergen, Norway, and finished in ninth place at the Championships, just a handful of points ahead of the bottom three who will drop down to the First League this year.

Chilla finished sixth in both 2009 and 2010 but a better result in the Swedish capital, and a few more points contributed to the team’s tally, will certainly help towards calming the nerves of Spanish athletics’ fans.


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