Last Sunday, the plane headed for Canada for Anna Seidel and her training colleague Yanghun Ben Jung, where the first World Cup of the season for short trackers will take place in Montreal starting Friday.
Despite tough months, which were marked by operations, rehabilitation and permanent pain after a severe training fall, the anticipation of the new season for the 24-year-old from Dresden is unbroken: “I am very pleased that the decision was made that we will actually drive. Let’s do it. The training was so intense and long. I’m glad it’s just starting.” In April, the offending metal – one last remnant of the fall – was removed from his tibia and fibula. Since then he has been able to train almost painlessly.
Seidel with thoughts of ending his career
Body is one thing, head is another. An early clearance of over 1,500 meters in the Olympic quarterfinals had long existed for the veteran athlete: “It was so terrifying and intense. After a run I never felt like I’d wake up now. I felt that.” It was in the wrong film. I thought, this can’t be right, I’ve been working on this one moment for the last four years and it’s happening to me.”
An experience that shows how close joy and sorrow are in sport: “This game is so brutal. It’s a moment and everything is settled there and then you have to wait four years,” Seidel says and shares his thoughts. To a potential career ending: “I’ve had so many good years, I don’t want to leave the stage like that anymore. I want another year that feels a little easier. Train well without pain, so for me The decision was clear, that I could go on for one more year”.
Threats to seasonal due to funding
The new season is imminent, but there were big question marks over a start in Montreal until a week before departure. Reason: The German Speed Skating and Short Track Association (DESG) lacks financial resources. “It was clearly communicated that the association could not spend any money,” Seidel said. Because the Federal Ministry (BMI) does not release the fund that was promised to the association for this year. So till December 31, 2022, there will be no money for training measures, flights and hotels.
Thanks to a personal solution, the Seidel debut in Montreal on a Friday and a week later in Salt Lake City (November 4-6) is next to nothing. Seidel himself and his home club, the Dresden Ice Skating Club, are providing the funding needed for the World Cup travel. Risky, as it is still unclear whether funds will be released during the season. Discussions are on between DESG and BMI.
Season’s goals: Top ten and European precious metals in the world
Despite such a stalemate, the successful Dresden native’s goals for this winter are clear. After a drop in motivation, Seidel came back in October at the Dutch Open in Heerenveen with a strong third place over 1,000 meters. The fact that she overcame a serious injury training so well, physically and mentally since March 2021, is thanks to intense work with sports psychologists and long conversations with friends and family outside of competitive sports.
Physically she is back at a strong level and ready to attack. The highlights of the season are obviously the European Championships in Gdansk in January (13 to 15 January 2023) and the World Championships in the South Korean capital Seoul (10 to 12 March 2023). Gdask in particular still exists in Dresden natives in a very positive sense.
Gdansk is a good place for Seidel
Last year at the European Championships, which also took place in Gdansk, Seidel won three medals. She is looking to build on this career high this year and certainly has medal ambitions for the continental title fight. For these dreams to come true exactly, it is necessary to have the right circumstances. And they do so in Dresden, the only federal base for short track in Germany.
But the competition never sleeps. It would be easier than anything, especially because of the extremely strong Dutch women, but: “Really anything is possible if I can keep training like this,” Seidel said confidently. Sports psychology should again support this. Visualization of good runs should help with future starts, which is why the short tracker specifically tries to recall past European Championships and internalize the details of their medal runs.
Seidel wants to start the season with fun in the game
Seidel will remain in the States between the first two World Cups in Montreal and Salt Lake City and will work with the US national team to prepare for the World Cup ahead. She is grateful for opportunities like these and international exchanges with the strong women on the US team.
Apart from the top spot and European Championship medals, her wishes for the current season are almost modest: “I certainly wish for the lightness and I really enjoy running. It’s a little lost due to the pressure of the Olympics and It has to get fit. I hope I can enjoy the sport again and find my passion again,” Seidel says.
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