In the lead up to the race, the sprint relay shined with a national record. What’s in the final now?
The cheers after the preliminary round were great. The sprint relay with Ricarda Dich, Agla del Ponte, Mujinja Kampunge and Salome Cora set a new Swiss record in 42.05 seconds. The Swiss women had the fourth best time – even faster than the favorite Jamaican women.
Does the season run in the history books?
If the season does indeed podium in the final on Friday, it would be a historic success. Never before in the history of Olympic athletics has Switzerland won a medal among women. Indeed Del Ponte and Kambundji’s entry to the final over 100 metres was a first for Switzerland.
The last time Switzerland celebrated an Olympic medal in athletics was in 1988. Werner Gunthur took the bronze in the shot put in Seoul in 1988. Winning the medal in the sprint goes back longer. Marcus Revell ran the silver for 5,000 meters in Los Angeles in 1984.
What matters now is the present. Even if the competitors, especially from Jamaica, have not yet put all their cards on the table, there is great confidence. Kambundji, for example, said before her third final in Tokyo (after 100m and 200m): “We dream of a medal.” Ajla Del Ponte race coach Laurent Meuwly was more specific: “My advice is silver.”
Given the competition from the UK, US and Jamaica, these are bold predictions. Especially since the German relay team was faster than the Swiss quartet in the semi-finals. However, they may have already left out at the World Cup finals in Doha in 2019, when Switzerland was a fourth-placed lead over Germany.
Cora also added that there is still a possibility of the final match. The stick is not risked when handing over the stick. Accordingly, Kamponge gave a motto: “Give everything and hope it is enough.”
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