While no one likes to receive the same birthday present two years in a row, Sweden’s Charlotta Fougberg might not be complaining if hers is first place in a major sporting event.
On June 19, the eve of next month’s European Athletics Team Championships in Cheboksary, Fougberg will be 30 and just as 12 months ago, she will look to mark the moment by landing a big win.
There might not be a cake with candles for finishing first in the 3000m steeplechase at this Super League competition but the maximum 12 points will have her teammates cheering her on.
Just as they did in Braunschweig when she produced a brilliant performance to win in 9:35.92 from Germany’s Antje Moldner-Schmidt in 9:40.21 and Poland’s Katarzyna Kowalska in 9:41.78.
A vital victory, too, as Sweden survived relegation by five points, with Fougberg's success being one of the keys to them staying up.
It is often thought that sport is a young person’s game, but sometimes there is no guarantee when an athlete will peak.
The case of Fougberg sums that up perfectly as she is in the middle of the best spell of her career.
On the back of her fine performance in Braunschweig came the countdown for the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, the showpiece event on last summer’s track and field calendar.
It became another duel between Fougberg and Moldner-Schmidt and this time the German had a bit too much, winning in the home straight in 9:29.43 as she overtook the Swede on the final barrier with Fougberg second in 9:30.16.
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But such was her electric smile as she stood for pictures holding her country’s flag, that Fougberg could not have been more delighted.
When she was interviewed by Sweden’s TV4 in their studio after the race, she was reminded of how, three years earlier, she had spoken of her hopes of competing in international events.
Fougberg became emotional because what she had longed for had happened.
She said: 'It was my dream and I really live my dream now. I have won a silver and I am really excited for it.'In Cheboksary’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium, the rivalry between Fougberg and Moldner-Schmidt is set for its next instalment with the birthday girl chasing another day to remember.