While the end of the season cannot come quick enough for the athletes who are tired, for Susanna Kallur it is coming too soon. In the DKB-ISTAF Berlin - IAAF Golden League - meeting today, Kallur edged closer to the Swedish national record for the 100m Hurdles but she has only one more race remaining in which to break it.
Kallur continued her brilliant form since the disappointment of finishing fourth in the World Championships, in Osaka, as she recorded a personal best 12.49sec for victory in the final leg of the 2007 Golden League. It was Kallur's third successive Golden League victory since Osaka and her fourth in all in unbeaten streak since leaving Japan.
The Swedish record stands at 12.47 to Ludmila Engquist, the former Russian, who recorded the time twice, in Atlanta in 1996 and in Seville in 1999. "The Swedish record is only two-hundredths of a second away," an excited 26-year-old Kallur said. "I cannot deny that it is close and I really want to beat it. I wish the season was a little bit longer."
So, if Kallur is to break the record this year, she will have to do so at the IAAF / VTB Bank World Athletics Final, in Stuttgart, Germany, next weekend. She said that would her last race of the season. But she must have every chance of attaining the record in Stuttgart, judging by her form in the Golden League, in which she has won races in Zurich, Brussels and Berlin by increasingly wider margins and faster times.
Having set a personal best of 12.51 in the final in Osaka, where she was leading until the eighth hurdle and was apparently impeded by Michelle Perry, of the United States, on the last flight, Kallur went on to Zurich for a victory in 12.66 then to Brussels for a win in 12.52. Between Zurich and Brussels, she chalked up another win in the Sweden versus Finland match.
In Zurich, Kallur won by 0.02, in Brussels by 0.09, and in Berlin by 0.18sec, on each occasion with Perry in the field. Any chance of a challenge in Osaka by Kallur to Perry's World title evaporated as the Swedish management did not see the evidence they believed would have confirmed the incident until it was too late to protest.
It is an issue that Kallur has put behind her. "I have put it to rest," Kallur said. "What can I do? There is nothing more to say. The morning after (the Osaka final) I was OK because I did a personal best, and I have never been in the final before, so I was happy with my performance."
"I was close to a medal and I feel I can be there. It wasn't to be that time but I am happy I am running really well now." Asked if her post-Osaka form was compensation for missing a World Championships medal, she replied: "Yes, it is really satisfying. I'm very happy about this and my hurdling is getting better and better. It's amazing."
"I had quite a good start today and the rhythm is perfect for me right now. I touched the eighth hurdle so I think I could still improve. I was mentally prepared to run so many races within a few days so I did not feel too tired after Brussels. I will just try to stick to this really nice rhythm I have found in these last few days."