Llopis, fourth in the 60m hurdles at the World Athletics Championships; Asier Martínez, disqualified in the semifinals | Sports


Llopis, on the right, in the semifinal.ADAM VAUGHAN (EFE)

They were born the same year, 2000; They measure almost the same, around 1.90m; They go everywhere together, you can almost say they love each other; They don’t like to get up early, and they suffer in the morning series; They run the same test, they are guys with high hurdles, the 1.06m hurdles, and, as juniors, their best times differ by hundredths.

The two have had a tough 2023, which they do not want to remember, after both competing in the final of the European Championship in Munich 2022 outdoors, and they have overcome it.

They are Asier Martínez, from Navarre, and Enrique Llopis, from Valencia, and only the semi-finals in Glasgow have separated their destinies, their lives so parallel that when María Vicente, on Saturday night, makes an unexpected appearance in the Glasgow pavilion – crutches and a large protective boot on her left foot–, she is surprised when they tell her, how good, how good that you are so excited to come to the court, and she responds: “Man, of course, I wasn’t going to miss Asier and Quique for nothing in the world.” And everyone talks about them at the same time, as if they were an artistic couple. And when one wins the other congratulates him and is almost happier than if he had won.

Asier Martínez, after the semifinal that he won running under protest.
Asier Martínez, after the semifinal that he won running under protest.ADAM VAUGHAN (EFE)

Only an accident can separate them. And the two are on the verge of crying when the starter disqualifies the Navarrese for a no start in their semi-final. The stopwatch shows that he left the blocks 93 thousandths of a second after the shot. The established limit, arbitrarily based on various studies on the reaction capacity of the best nervous systems, is 100 thousandths. Asier Martínez, who runs on 5th Street, accepts his mistake, but justifies it: “My neighbor on 4th Street (Cypriot Milan Trajkovic) moved his foot ahead of time, and encouraged me to react sooner.” The justification is the basis of his appeal and his request to run under protest, which the judge accepts. Asier Martínez, is so strong, and his adrenaline is so pumped by rage, and he arrived at the World Cup so prepared and in good shape, that, despite holding back at the start, he wins his semifinal ahead of Trajkovic (7.53s), precisely, and of two athletes tied at 7.534 thousandths, the Frenchman Justin Kwaou-Mathey and the Belgian Michael Obasuyi. His effort was worthless. An hour and a quarter after the complaint, the response from the appeal jury arrived, rejecting his request for reclassification: “The movements on the neighboring street are not enough to distract the Spaniard.” Upon receiving the news, Asier Martínez reacts firmly. “I feel frustrated and helpless,” he says. “I am outraged that yesterday a reaction of 0’087s from Klaver (Dutch in 400m) was a yellow card and mine was a greater reaction (0.093s), and on top of that with videos that justify a previous movement, it was dismissed.”

“Well, at least this has its sweet side, which is that I will be able to enjoy Quique Llopis in the final,” the Navarrese consoles himself minimally. “I think he will be able to do a good role. But, well, I already told you that now he weighs the bitterness more.”

Llopis competed in the final that once again crowned Grant Holloway (7.29s), the sacred monster of hurdles, three-time 110m world champion and already 60m hurdles world champion two years ago, and world record holder (7.27s), and, although he finished fourth (7.53s), like Asier two years ago, he inevitably met his goal. “Ugh, I gave him the last hurdle and there I already knew that he had lost everything. I may be a little upset now because I saw myself with the bronze, but I wanted, I think, to push myself too hard at the last fence and I screwed up. But hey, I had to risk it,” he says, and in his spirit the pain of having lost a medal that he thought was within his reach weighs more than the joy of being, at 23 years old, fourth in the world and showing that he knows how to compete. “Yes, I am very happy, without a doubt. They told me a year ago that things didn’t end the same… It’s my best championship, obviously. It’s a shame that my coach (Toni Puig) is not here, but when I get home we will celebrate.”

Llopis talks about the blow that occurred when he was competing for the gold medal in the European 60m hurdles in Istanbul a year ago. Llopis hit his head and was left lying full length on the ground, motionless. “That is already forgotten. So nothing. “Now let’s move on, and that’s it,” he quickly ditches, while he shows on his chest a medal with a lightning bolt, which is his dog.Ray, and not him, and, on the biceps of his right arm, a long, tattooed lines, a text that was engraved into the skin in September. “Are from Harry Potter. “I’m a big fan of books,” he says, and reads them: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest moments if we are able to use light well.” The self-help phrase surely helped them talk for a while before going to bed, and find serenity for their soul.

The Navarrese athlete, who runs as if sulking, with his head down and very serious while methodically crushing the tartan between fences, revealed himself in 2021 by finishing sixth in the final of the 110m hurdles at the Tokyo Games, where he suffered from the syndrome. impostor. He believed, and said so, that his place was not there. When, after winning the European 110mv in the Olympic stadium in Munich in the summer of 2022, he knew that he was not fooling anyone, that his place was there, he convinced himself of it with such enthusiasm that he came to believe that he was worth more than what the market actually dictated. He signed a big contract with a clothing and sneaker brand without having broken with the previous brand and ended up in court, in lawsuits and lawsuits, and without a brand. When a painful work of introspection, and the help of his usual coach, François Beoringyan, swan As a graffiti artist, they allowed him to overcome the mental disconnection between reality and imagination; plantar fasciitis physically crushed him and prevented him from competing in the summer. He returned, and stronger than ever. In his first 60 this year he lowered his best mark ever by six hundredths, to 7.49s. Back in the world elite. “I have felt very good this year,” he says after qualifying for his second world final after his fourth place in Belgrade 22. “Much better than expected at the level of marks, at the level of physique, health above all. It was a bit of what we prioritized and, in addition to that, we have also managed to perform in the territory that matters, in World Cups. In hurdles, rallies and championships are very different. It is relatively easy to run in good times in Lievin, for example, or in Miramas (where the Frenchman Belocian achieved a time of 7.44s), but where you have to show your courage is in the championships.” Both Belocian, who arrived with the fifth best world time of the year, and the Swiss Jason Joseph, who was registered with 7.43s, the fourth, were eliminated.

In the men’s and women’s 3.00m, the African athletes, favorites, were defeated by a blonde North American (Elle St Pierre, 8m 20.87s) and by a red-haired Scot, Josh Kerr (7m 42.98s), the same He had defeated Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the 1,500m in Budapest, whose last 400m drove the respectable man crazy. Adel Mechaal (7m 45.67s) was sixth on the eve of his 1,500m final, while in the women’s event Marta García (10th, 8m 40.34s) and Águeda Marqués (14th, 8m 48.57s) competed.

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