German Athletics Nationals 2023 – Day 1 Track (8th July 2023)

The German Athletics Nationals (or German Athletics Championships… or Deutsche Leichtathletik-Meisterschaften) 2023 in Kassel were truly one of the events I have been looking forward to most in that year. I covered the ISTAF Indoor 2023 in Dusseldorf early in the year and hope to cover one or two additional athletics events during the year. The event was held during the Finals 2023, which is gathering German Championships in several sports and disciplines. While most of these events were held in the Rheinland and Ruhrgebiet region on that weekend, the Athletics Nationals were hosted in the Kassel Auestadion. I decided to split my coverage by track and field and by day. Overall, the German Athletics Association hosted 36 disciplines, 18 for men and women each. However, pole vault has been held separately in Dusseldorf the days before.

This posting comes with 613 major size pictures in the sports gallery.


Kassel Auestadion – The Venue

The Auestadion in Kassel has been opened in 1953. The stadium, which has a capacity of roughly 18,000 spectators, underwent two waves of renovations since then. After 2011 and 2016, it is the third time the stadium is hosting the German Athletic Nationals. The home ground of soccer club Hessen Kassel is well connected to public transport (by tram), while parking is rather limited.


German Athletics Nationals – Day 1 Track Events

The event started with a press conference. Apart from welcoming words by the association and the hosting city, Of course, there were some questions about injured or recovering athletes. The mood felt to be relaxed to me. However, there were also some questions on the reduction of national financial support by the Federal Republic of Germany. The kick-off in regards of the event took the Women’s Hammer Throw on the field events side. On the track, the first heats were semifinals in the long sprint and middle distance, 400m, 800m and 1500m of both genders.

The 1500m men competition started with two rather slow, but compact races, in which finally six racers each qualified for the Sunday’s final race. In contrast to this, Tübingen’s Hanna Klein drove the second heat of the semifinals at the women to a much faster pace and thus lead to the situation that all athletes who qualified by the time came from her heat. Even the last finisher of the second heat, Sonka Reimers, was finally faster (4:26,70) than heat 1 winner Katharina Trost (4:27,52), who of course qualified as one of the four best runners of her heat anyway.

The next competition on the track were the 800m semifinals, which had three heats each at both, men and women. The male heats had rather similar winning times of about 1:50 minutes, while the third heat of the 800m Women saw three personal best times (despite the heat in Kassel), including Nele Gühl, who could by that seal one of the qualifying spots of to the Sunday’s finals.



400 Meters – With And  Without Hurdles

I have to admit that I was looking very much forward to the 400m with Germany’s most popular athlete (at least if you equal social media follwers with popularity), Alica Schmidt (SSC Berlin). However, the male competitors were first – and Dortmund’s Manuel Sanders dominated his first heat with a gap of almost a second to the second placed athlete. The second heat was closer and thus also took the two “lucky looser” time qualifying spots. Schmidt dominated the first heat with a season best of 52.49 sec, profiting from favorite Laura Müller had to pull out on the back straight of the stadium. The best time of the day was by Schmidt’s team mate Skadi Schier, who won the third semifinal heat with a time of 51.93 sec

The following events were qualifying heats for the 100m / 100m Hurdles / 110m Hurdles sprint races, which also had their finals on Saturday. Thus I first focus on the 400m hurdles in which Carolina Krafzik (VfL Sindelfingen) showed one of the most remarkable performances of the day with a meeting record of 54.47 second in the first semifinal. Her dominance was even underlined as the second best time of all three heats was about one and a half seconds slower. Similarly, her team mate Constantin Preis was the only male competitor being faster than 50 seconds. His 49.36 seconds was almost two seconds faster than second semifinal overall Joshua Abuaku.


Some Long Runs

The evening also featured some long distances. First, Karl Bebendorf (Dresdener SC) won the German Championship over 3000m Steeplechase (men), showing an impressive final in the last rounds of the final. Bayer Leverkusen’s Lea Meyer smiled most brightly after the 5000m women’s race, becoming the German Champion with a time of 15:26.82 minutes and thus leaving a gap of more than twenty seconds to second-placed Eva Dieterich (Tübingen). It is remarkable that this last long-distance heat of the day showed seven personal best times. One of the favorites, Alina Reh, tried to survive the race, but finally had to pull out.


The Sprint Events

And then, there were the sprint decisions. First of all, there were the Hurdles Sprints. The ladies opened the competitions and Leverkusen’s Franziska Schuster beat Isabel Mayer (Wattenscheid) in a close race just by 0.02 seconds. The king of the 110m Hurdles was Manual Mordi (Hamburger SV), who had a the better finish than Tim Eikermann (Leverkusen).

The last track events of the day were the 100m finals of men and women. With one of the favorites, Kevin Kranz, having a false start in the first semifinal, Yannik Wolf (LG Stadtwerke Munich) almost seemed to sail into the finals, where he won with a time of 10.19 sec, beating Julian Wagner (LG Top Team Thüringen) by 0.02 second. The women closed the day – and this even was the showtime of SCC Berlin’s Gina Lückenkemper, one of the crowd’s favorites. She left major gaps in the qualifying heat and semifinals to her opponents and also was 0.30 seconds faster than Chelsea Kadiri (SC Magdeburg), who was the hidden star of the competition, finishing as an 18 year old girl with a time of 11.33 seconds. Thus, there were two big smiles at the end of the day in Kassel.



German Athletics Nationals 2023 – Day 1 Track – Gallery

Here is the match gallery with 613 major pictures in the sports gallery section:

The pictures of all four posts representing the two days in Kassel are summed up in a dedicated gallery group.


German Athletics Nationals 2023 – Coverage Overview

Here is an overview of my coverage of the German Athletics Nationals:


Sports 2023

Here are all my Sports postings published in 2023:


German Travel Top Pick Reviews

Here are all my Travel reviews related to Germany ending up with a Top Pick! rating:

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