Berlin – German athletics is alive and kicking! Twelve years after the last gold medals – for Heike Drechsler and Nils Schumann in Sydney – and four years after the slim pickings at Beijing, with a single paltry bronze medal awarded, the Internationales Stadionfest Berlin (ISTAF) has been quick to react to German successes in London. The line-up for the 71st ISTAF meeting has been modified to admit all German medallists from the Games!
Local discus hero Robert Harting, winner of the first gold medal for Germany in a track-and-field discipline in twelve years, has been signed up for months. He hopes to throw a wild athletics party with his fans in his own backyard, Berlin’s Olympic stadium. “We athletes have done eight times better than we did in Beijing in 2008. People should be reminded of that loud and clear and start celebrating. So anyone who’s still without a ticket for the ISTAF should hang in there,” says Harting.
In the run-up to the Olympic Games all German athletes with a place in the London squad were told that the disciplines and timetable for the oldest, most popular one-day athletics meeting in the world would not be finalised until after the Games. With Christina Obergföll and Linda Stahl taking silver and bronze respectively in the women’s javelin and world champion Matthias de Zordo being eliminated in the early rounds, the decision in favour of the ladies was not a difficult one. The same was true in the pole vault, where there were two medals for Björn Otto (silver) and Raphael Holzdeppe (bronze), while the women failed to make the podium.
Berlin’s Olympic stadium has a special place in Betty Heidler’s heart and she will be heading back there on the back of her bronze medal in the hammer. So too will David Storl, who initiated the run of medals in London with his silver in the shot put. Lilli Schwarzkopf, silver medallist in the heptathlon, will be present as a guest of honour at ISTAF and may even line up for the 100m hurdles after all.
The eight triumphant Germans have also been recruited to boost ticket sales. By 15th August 38,000 tickets had been sold for the upcoming event on 2nd September.
ISTAF CEO Martin Seeber: “The ISTAF approach of pitting the best Germans against the best of the rest has been showing itself to be a successful system since 1921. We had all the Germans signed up for ISTAF within three days of the end of the Games. Now our athletics manager is putting together the various international starting line-ups. I’m pretty sure we’re going to see some competitors coming up against the same athletes they were vying with in London, which means absolute top-notch performances for the spectators’ once again.”
Tickets are available in five price categories. The most inexpensive seats are in the upper tier and start at 9 euros. The best seats, in the lower section of seating and level with the finishing line, cost 39 euros. Category 4 tickets for spectators at either end of the stadium, lower tier, cost 14 euros, Category 3 tickets (back straight, lower tier) cost 19 euros and Category 2, level with the 100m starting blocks, cost 29 euros. With the ISTAF Family Ticket, four people can enjoy a riveting afternoon for only 25 euros. All tickets can be reserved by visiting www.istaf.deor phoning 030/20 60 70 88 99.