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Swiss champ keen to defend title

The 800 metre world champion believes his experience will stand him in good stead for Paris Keystone Archive

The 800m world champion, André Bucher, is gearing up to defend his title at the end of August in Paris.

This content was published on July 10, 2003 - 21:04

Fans will get a preview of what’s to come when Bucher competes on home turf next month in the prestigious Golden League series in Zurich.

He says he is looking forward to both events and hopes to be in top form. “It’s something special to be able to defend my world championship title,” he told swissinfo.

But there are several races to come before then. On Friday Bucher will take part in the Golden Gala meet in Rome and on August 10 will compete in the next stage of the league in Berlin.

No pressure

Somewhat surprisingly he says he doesn’t feel any pressure to win. “Two years ago I won gold. So now, the pressure to win the first medal is no longer there.”

The 2001 world champion believes that experience is one of his greatest assets. “Most of the young runners have not competed in major championships,” he told swissinfo.

Bucher – who lives in canton Zug - has a number of other advantages that could lead him back to the podium.

His instinct for the sport, combined with his ability to respond immediately to the conditions of a race, give him the champion’s edge. And Bucher seldom makes tactical errors.

Nevertheless, Bucher isn’t over-confident about a win. If he makes the final qualifying round, then he believes he will win a medal.

Injury

At the end of March, Bucher suffered a stress fracture in his right foot causing him to take a few weeks break from running.

Despite injury, Bucher is happy with the first half of his season this year. “I am at the top in terms of rankings and time.”

At the second meet of the Golden League series earlier this month, Bucher came third with a finishing time of 1:44.25, a mere 30 hundredths of a second behind the winner, Yuri Borzakovsky, from Russia.

For the upcoming world championships, Bucher has refined his strategy. He says if a runner comes out in front from the beginning, he will stay behind the pack, waiting for the opportunity to overtake.

“With the way I’m running now, it would be suicide if I peaked too early,” he says.

Fitness

Bucher keeps fit by swimming and biking – prior to the championships in Paris he will train at the high altitude mountain resort of St Moritz in Switzerland.

“Before big championships I follow a serious routine,” he says.

He says he is eager to run in front of his home crowd at the “Weltklasse Zurich”, from August 15 before heading to Paris.

“The cheering of the crowds after the starting gun is amazing. You have to experience this once, either as a spectator, or even better, as an athlete.”

swissinfo, Renat Künzi (translation: Karin Kamp)

Key facts

2000 André Bucher ran the 800m in 1:43.12 making him the fastest man of the year.
2001 Wins the world championship title in Edmonton running 1:42.55 - a new Swiss record.
2001 Awarded European Athlete of the Year.
2002 Silver medallist in Munich, Germany, at the European Championships.

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In brief

Bucher is back in top form, following a stress injury in March.

He is ready to defend his 800m world championship title in Paris (23 to 31 August)

Before the world championships, Bucher will train in St Moritz, a high-altitude mountain resort.

In the run up to the championships, Bucher will compete in "Weltklasse Zurich" in mid-August.

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