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Borås 2019 European Athletics U20 Championships press conference highlights

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Ahead of the Boras 2019 European Athletics U20 Championships, four of the prospective stars of the next four days spoke to the press about their preparations for the championships.

Amy Hunt (GBR) - Hunt was initially named on the British team for the 100m but she switched to the 200m after eclipsing the world U18 best with 22.42 in Mannheim which also broke Dina Asher-Smith’s British U20 record by nearly two-tenths. Hunt is also part of a strong British team in the 4x100m relay.

On contesting the 200m instead of the 100m in Boras...

“After my run in Mannheim where I set the world U18 record, I decided it was the event I would probably go for but I’m happy with both - I enjoy both so it’s really nice to have the choice to be able to do either but I'm really excited to do the 200m and see how it goes.'

On how has she prepared since breaking the world U18 200m best...

“Because I ran so fast a couple of weeks ago, it’s just been a case of maintaining it since so I’ve been doing a lot of block starts on the bend, keeping up my diet, keeping in the mind frame, keeping positive - all these things.'

On how life has changed for her since breaking the world U18 best...

“It’s been really crazy especially after Mannheim; it’s been quite a whirlwind with everything happening and everyone getting in touch! I’ve postponed a lot of it until after this competition so I can remain focused on this and get the job done and do what I want to achieve here. But it’s been incredible - I’ve loved it so much and it shows all the hard work and all the decisions I’ve made over winter have been the right ones.”

On whether she expected to run as fast as 22.42 in Mannheim...

“Definitely not! The whole focus and the whole purpose of going to Mannheim was the relays so that was my number one priority because we had two rounds of that before the 200m so I thought ‘we’ve really smashed that, we’ve got a season’s best and we were all really happy’ and then I thought I’ll just enjoy the 200m and see what happens.

“Even when I was running it and I crossed the line, I really expected to see a 22.9 so I was so, so shocked and I was completely and utterly in shock about what happened. It took a long, long time for it to sink in and I still don’t think it has fully sunk in yet.

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Leo Neugebauer (GER) - Neugebauer looks the best placed out of the German triumvirate in Boras to maintain his country’s excellent tradition in the decathlon at this championships. Two years after Niklas Kaul won the title in Grosseto, Neugebauer currently leads the world U20 list with 7886 points for the U20 decathlon.

On preparing for the decathlon in Boras...

“I almost train every day except for the day before a competition to relax the muscles because you need your full body power - it’s hard on the body. I also have a diet plan and I just have to hold my diet for this week and then I can eat what I want and I’m really looking forward to that!”

On his plans for after Boras...

“I have one relaxed week and then I have the German Championships in the single disciplines - I will compete in the long jump, high jump and the relay. And after that I will work at a company to save a bit of money to see the whole world. I like to travel a lot. I want to go to Thailand because it’s very beautiful and especially the massages. I’ve heard they are really good.”

On watching Niklas Kaul at the Gavle 2019 European Athletics U23 Championships...

“He [Niklas] made the second best score in the world and I was really impressed so I think that gave me more motivation to reach my goal - over 8000 points. I was just about 100 points under the 8000 points mark [at the German U20 Championships] so I’m really excited and really looking forward to the competition, especially with this really good field this year. I think it will be a very good show for the viewers and it will be really close.”

On his role model in athletics...

“It was Ashton Eaton because he’s such a nice guy, he’s always smiling and he was the world record-holder before Kevin Mayer took it. He was always the star I looked up to. I always dreamed of always competing at the top of the world and I’m really working hard for that goal.”

On the morale in the German team in Boras...

“The Germans, we are a really good team and I’m really proud to be a part of Team Germany. We all support each other and we are always cheering the other athletes. We also have the bright yellow suits so we always know when our supporters are in the crowd. We all like each other - there’s no trouble and between our team, especially in the decathlon when we spend two days with the other athletes, we are a really close group.”

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Carl Bengtstrom (SWE) - Bengtstrom is ranked second in Europe in the 400m hurdles with 50.77. He was also part of the Swedish team at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin and at the 2019 European Indoor Championships in Glasgow.

On his recent preparations for Boras...

“I haven’t been training much in the last week in order to relax and get my body the full rest to be at the highest level.”

On how much support he will get this at the stadium this week...

“Actually, my parents are volunteering here. I think they will be in the long jump or doing something there but I have a lot of friends coming to support me.”

On watching Henrik Larsson winning gold in Gavle...

“I was so happy when I saw Henrik win the gold in the 100m. I’m close friends with him so I was so happy. It was a close race and in the middle of the race I thought he would be last! He came strong in the last 10 metres and I don’t know what to say: he’s just an amazing sprinter. Of course that gave me motivation to perform at my best and hopefully it goes all the way but we’ll see.”

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Tilde Johansson (SWE) - Johansson leads the world U20 list having recently broken the long-standing national U20 record with 6.73m. Johansson also comes fresh from a victory in Varberg on Monday night when she jumped 6.65m into a headwind. She is also ranked second on the European U20 list in the 100m hurdles.

On juggling the long jump with the hurdles...

“I think I can combine both. I do some heptathlon as well so I like to compete in many events.”

On competing against three-time Olympic champion Tianna Bartoletta in Karlstad recently...

'It was very cool. I have been in good shape all season and the season has been great so far. It will be really cool to compete in Boras too.'

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