Orlando Ortega, after the test he won in Berlin on February 5. TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AF
P The myth that everything works well in Germany was dismantled for another day, last Sunday, February 7 in Dortmund, before the cold body of Orlando Ortega . The Rio 2016 Olympic runner-up stiffened as he awaited the start of the final of his 60-meter hurdles, his second competition of the season, which finally started half an hour late. He arrived first, without known rivals and without problems …
Or yes. But not because the 7.71 seconds that those 60 meters lasted were far from his best time ever, the 7.45s achieved in Lodz, Poland, in 2015, where he should have competed this Friday. Ortega shook his head when crossing the goal because he had collided with the second fence, and with the third and the fourth and the fifth… And in one of those supports he suffered a dislocation in his left foot. “With the fourth fence it was the one that I hit the hardest, but with the pulsations at a hundred thousand per hour I did not realize it. As I passed the last fence, reaching the goal, it was when I noticed as if I had a ball in my foot. At that moment I said: I was annoyed. When I removed the nails, the three toes on the center of my left foot were turned upwards, until I did not manipulate them, they did not move, they were stiff. ”
The next day, Ortega and his coach, Antonis Giannoulakis, ruled out going to France to compete in the Lievin rally, where American Grant Holloway gave an exhibition of 7.32 seconds, touching by two hundredths the world record of Colin Jackson, and were treated in a hospital in Holland. This Thursday, after an MRI, the doctors confirmed that, luckily, nothing is broken. “I am sad because physically and muscularly I am well, I knew that I was safely down 7.60s, and at the best moment I felt to compete this happens to me. But it better happen to me now and not at the Olympic Games ”, explained the athlete by phone.
Depending on the evolution, Ortega will have to spend between one and two weeks without training to recover from the dislocation. He will miss both the Spanish championships (February 20) and the Madrid international rally (February 24) and the European Championship in Torun, Poland, scheduled from March 4 to 7, is on the air, the city in which the Artemisa (Cuba) has achieved some of his best indoor records, such as the Spanish record [7.48s in 2019], and of whose track he keeps a very special memory. “My first objective”, he said a week ago in Berlin, “is the European Championships, but the main thing is not winter, but the Tokyo Olympic Games.”
In fact, Ortega spent a month in South Africa this December with a group of seven sprinters doing training specifically for the summer. Despite wanting to remove the thorn from the last two indoor Europeans – seventh in Belgrade 2017 and fourth in Glasgow 2019 – the tight winter calendar that the hurdler had set himself, with seven competitions before the big event in Torun, lo he saw it as a specific preparation to help him improve the first part of the race. That repetition work with the first five hurdles, Ortega explained, is something necessary to beat explosive monsters like Holloway. “To improve the first part of the race and finish the second part as usual”, he explained in Berlin.
The important thing now is to recover to get to Torun or to the outdoor season with the Diamond League, as he wanted to reach the European Championship: "Well, healthy, without discomfort and in top shape."