For 16 years, Kim Geffert set the Belgian record in the 400 meters (51 “45).
Cynthia Bolingo ran the race of her life today in Montreuil, France. The 28-year-old dived into the last straight line during the course of the track and was passed by Dominican athlete Marilyde Paulino.
But when Bolingo’s end date came out, it turned out she made Belgian athletics history.
With a 50″ 75 Bolingo running not only 7 tenths of a second faster than Kim Gevaert in 2005, she’s also diving well below the Olympic limit of 51″ 35.
With such a sharp chrono, Bolingo is the second fastest European woman this year in the 400 metres. Only the Dutch Femke Bol (50″ 56) can swing more quickly.
“I can say here that I felt this, but I certainly don’t,” said Cynthia Bolingo afterwards.
“In training I ran faster than ever, but I didn’t see that I was going to go that fast. I set my personal record, the Belgian record and the Olympic limit all at once. That’s so cool.”
“And then I’m also the first Belgian under 51s. This is the perfect evening. That Kim Gevert’s Belgian record finally benefits not only me, but also Belgian athletics in general. It indicates that we are still making progress.”
Due to her Olympic qualification, a full load was lifted off Bolingo’s shoulders. “Incredible liberation,” she calls it.
“The question was always on my mind if I would make it to the Games, because you can never be sure of that with the world rankings. Now I don’t have to look at those rankings anymore and I’m sure of Tokyo.”
Bolingo has always maintained that 200m was her best distance. It looks like she’s back from that. “I have to face reality,” she concludes with a laugh. “I’m officially a 400-meter runner.”
Elise Vanderlust finished fourth in the 1500m in 4’07” 81 during the same meeting, and the European Hall of Fame champion took important points in the Olympic standings.
Vanderelst’s personal best is 4’05″75 since 2018. The Olympic limit is 4’04” 20. The indoor European champion is still unsure about Tokyo, but he is in better shape in the Olympic standings.
She was already 33rd before the meeting in Montreux, while the first 45 were allowed to go to Tokyo. Vanderelst will undoubtedly enter the top 30 next week.
“It’s very strong,” Vanderlust said after her race in France. “Somehow I thought about the Olympic limit today and it didn’t come true, but I can’t complain.”
“What am I missing? It’s hard to say. There was a bit of thrust and traction today and I think the next race will be a little bit faster. The shape is there.”
Vanderelst recently modified her itinerary for Tokyo somewhat. She concludes, “Originally we wanted to peak into one game to max there, but it’s actually better to collect points little by little. This way I can save my absolute peak level all the way to Tokyo.”