A year ago, a Pole won an Olympic medal, and now he’s losing to juniors. Surprised coach

At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (held in the summer of 2021), the Polish athletes did a great job. They have won as many as nine medals. The author of one of the biggest sensations was Patrick Dubek, who until the age of 27 specialized in the 400 m hurdles, and suddenly he began to run for the 800 m and became the world star of this competition. Confirmation of the gold medal inside the hall in the European Championships and the bronze in the Olympics.

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We think Dubik wasn’t a revelation for one season. Experienced Zbigniew Król talks in an interesting way about his current situation. He is a coach who has led for years successfully, among other things, Pawe Czapiewski, Adam Kszczot and Dobek convinced them to change the 400m distance through fences to 800m.

£ukasz Jachimiak: Patrick Dubick did not start the indoor season and now has lost to 19-year-old Kasper Levalsky at the start. Is our neighborhood last year suffering from an injury? Do we have anything to worry about?

Zbigniew Kroll: The injury was in the fall. Patrick started training and there was a problem with his knees. He’s owned it for years, when he ran the 400-meter hurdles. This was one of the reasons why he escaped to a distance of 800 metres. Now the injury is back and Patrick was only able to function normally in January. He had little time to compete in the hall. But it’s okay now. We were at Font-Romeu and Zakopane camps, after which Patrick started looking great.

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So why this defeat with Levalsky? I know he’s a talented newbie, but he’s still a novice.

– I was surprised too. Especially since they ran 600 metres. Patrick left Zakopane for Suwałki and a day before the start he told me he was not feeling well. He started out much weaker than the training indicated. Maybe he got tired of the trip, because he had some way to drive, maybe it was because of his allergies, which started to bother him – it’s hard to say for sure. I have a puzzle. In practice, Patrick ran at 1:15, and in competition at Suwa³ki he was about three seconds worse than he could have been. [1:17.68]. Already, the first 200 meters was worse than it should be by 1-1.5 seconds. I analyze everything, watch Patrick and wait what happens next.

What does your starting calendar look like?

On Saturday, Patrick will run the 800m in Birmingham. We’ll see if they have time to rest for this start. Later he has the Ostrava and the Kosinski memorial in Chorzov. Training shows that Patrick can run better than last season.

For this season, Mr. Dobka was preparing with the intention of breaking the Polish record of Mr. Pawe Czapiewski, the former player?

– We like to do this. This record is old [z 2001 roku]. But you have to be lucky to beat him. One can run on a form, but there must be a very fast run. Adam Kszczot was ready multiple times for a much better result than 1:43.22. But he, being in good shape, won medals at the world championships and European championships, not chasing a single result.

What about your plan? At the Tokyo Olympics, you joked that Dubik won the gold for him, so as not to end your career as a coach. The Olympic Games will be held in Paris in two years.

– It’s a nice goal. And of course very difficult. To tell the truth, I just get to know Patrick. I’ve only been coaching him for a year or so. Sometimes, I can’t fully recognize his reactions. I must also admit that I drove it very carefully in my Olympic year. I was keeping an eye on the renovation items so it wasn’t worn out, and available at all times. And after the Olympics, I went towards hard training, which Kczazot used to do for me, because Chapevsky didn’t work hard. I’ve seen Patrick develop for me, but he’s probably now a bit exhausted with this work. Moreover, I think that family stories have additional meaning.

Let’s say here that Dobka’s wife is Ukrainian, Anastazja Kaliniczenko. Her father, the famous pole vault coach Vyacheslav Kalinichenko, drove the family out of Kyiv, which was bombed at the last minute.

– Yes, they hardly escaped from there. These are things that definitely have an effect on a person. Someone might find these excuses, but I’m far from making excuses when things don’t go well. Honestly, there is a problem with stamina. Quickly Patrick looks great. I have something to think about. There were probably too many triggers in a short time, maybe too few interruptions. I’ll have to analyze it carefully if you don’t go further.

Competition during the Kamila Skolimoska memorial at the Silesian StadiumPerfect news for athletics fans. Free entry to the Silesia Stadium

But this may have been a temporary problem in Suwa³ki. Just a week before in training, I was convinced he would run 600m in 1:15. Perhaps this is just a temporary inexplicable descent of the figure after the descent of the mountains. And we worked at an altitude of 1860 meters at Font-Romeu. There Patrick ran the 100m in 11 seconds, and three days after landing in 11.8 seconds, that’s a pretty big difference. I emphasize once again that this year we are doing things we haven’t tried yet. Before the Olympics, Patrick did not train to such a high level. At the time, before starting in Tokyo, we were at Zao Bodaira.

A year ago, it all turned out to be like a fairy tale. Patrick, who did not yet know if he wanted to convert the 400m with hurdles into the 800m, became the indoor European champion in a new competition for himself, later winning the most important Olympic medal in Tokyo.

– It was just like I said, everything is going well for us. To 800 meters, Patrick’s acceleration with 400, everything is identical, it was just successes. This year will be difficult, you will have to quickly get back in shape, and you will have to win a place in the national team for the World Cup in July already in June. And when training loads increase, such a pace in construction can be a problem.

How Tighten the Screw, Dubik? Can you tell me how many extra kilos Dubik carried, and how many extra kilometers he ran in this year’s preparations? Or how much faster?

– A year ago he had two very strong accents a week, and three this year.

What does “very strong accent” mean?

– It’s about running in such a way that the runner is as acidic as it is during the most critical starts. This is about 15 mmol [kiedy¶ o zakwaszeniu bardzo ciekawie mówi³ na Sport.pl trener naszej sztafety kobiet 4×400 m Aleksander Matusiñski: “Zakwaszenie, które dziewczyny uzyskuj± na treningu, zabi³oby cz³owieka nieprzygotowanego do utylizacji kwasu mlekowego. W okresie przedstartowym, startowym, jak teraz, chodzi o to, by zawodnik bardzo bod¼cowa³ i wysoko siê zakwasza³ i ¿eby dziêki temu umia³ kontynuowaæ wysi³ek na wysokim zakwaszeniu. Niejednokrotnie biegamy wytrzyma³o¶æ i zakwaszenia s± powy¿ej 20 milimoli, a ja jeszcze ka¿ê zrobiæ odcinek, ¿eby podbiæ zakwaszenie. Maszynki pokazuj± maksymaln± warto¶æ 24 milimola, a Justyna ¦wiêty-Ersetic jest w stanie osi±gn±æ wiêcej, wtedy wy¶wietla nam siê “high”, to jest mega odlot”]. Training at an altitude of 800 meters is not easy. You also have to build your aerobic endurance, that is, at 2-4 millimeters, and run a long distance as quickly as possible.

how long?

A week ago, Patrick realized that at 1.5 mmol he could run 8 km at a pace of 3:28 per km. This is ridiculous fast. A year ago, at this time, he wasn’t looking very good. He did not pick up such benchmarks until Tokyo. And now he has the start of the season. A year ago, at this time, Patrick was running 8 km with acidification of 1.5 mmol at a speed of 3:40 per km.

So it must be very good. But it is not yet.

– Because 800 meters is a very complex and very difficult distance.

I understand that fatherhood did not make Patrick neglect anything. If that was the case, he wouldn’t have improved in training.

– He’s definitely a different father. His daughter was born when we traveled from Zao Bodaira to Tokyo. At that time, he was also living with a family in preparation, because he is very family. Does he always get enough sleep now? I do not know in any way that the work does not fail at all. He tries very hard, does everything to make things go well. Of course, as an experienced coach, I know that training is not just hard work. It is also the art of renewal. This is due to many factors. In order for there to be a great result, great work must be done, but there must also be rest so that there is supercompensation, a stage of rising to a higher level. The trick is to know how much of this work has to be imposed on the player, so that he can regenerate. If the rider cannot recover, if he is subjected to very heavy loads, training will be missed.

Tough moment for Ma³achowski after the end of his career. Tough moment for Ma³achowski after the end of his career. “I used to live in a bubble”

Patrick cares about renewal. It is not only about sleep, but it is also important to eat well. Patrick eats in a certain way, and does not eat meat, but complements it with something else. At Zao Bodaira, our boot camp hosts purchased an expensive, slow-speed juicer just for him. They even took his beet. The Japanese gave him everything he wanted. They bought him the most expensive and best juicer. They gave it to him and brought him back from the games. They treated us there as if they were theirs. Staying with them gave us medals. Not only Patrick, but also the 400-meter runners. We had an advantage over those who came directly to the village. It was only possible to appear three times before the start. It is impossible to cope well at such a time. Of course, the work of our players and coaches cannot be underestimated. But I stress that good planning for the last few days was also very important.

Finally, please tell me honestly how many times you watched the Olympic 800m final. Patrick said heartily that if he hadn’t made a mistake, he would have gotten the silver, not the bronze. She explained that there was even a gold medal in the range.

– I watched him several times and became convinced that if he had not blocked Australian Peter Paul Patrick 120 meters before the finish line, Patrick would not have had to slow down, he would have gone at full strength and could get the gold. But that would be a lot of luck.

Why so much?

– In the qualifying and semi-final rounds, Patrick was lucky. For Lopez from Mexico, it didn’t work out so well. In the semi-finals with Patrick, he ran 0.03 seconds ahead of later gold medalist, Currier, and was eliminated. And he was in very good shape, maybe winning games. Unfortunately, it turned out that he was running, which made him add three meters and he was a little lower than her. Or let’s look at the final – do you know who ran the fastest out there? Because it’s not the person who won.

Who then?

– The last one, Clayton Murphy. The American ran so much on the second and even third track that, according to my calculations, he ran about 812 meters and not 800, however, at the finish line, he fell 6-7 meters behind the gold medalist. Murphy is the bronze medalist at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. I remember him well because he was the one who kicked Kezazot in the semi-finals. Now he could truly be an Olympic champion, and he was the last. Aside from that situation with the Australian, Patrick was doing perfectly what we had planned throughout the final. Fortunately, it turns out I expected everything. He was really lucky in general.

Finally you did a good job. After all, Mr. Kszczota was the leader at the Rio Olympics, and was a strong contender for the medal, but missed the promotion to the final by 0.05sec. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Chapievsky was eliminated by 0.02 seconds.

– That’s exactly how it was. And all of them can get a medal. Czapiewski even gold. In 2016, Rudisha was unplayable, but in 2008 it was all within reach of “Chappi”. It’s great that Patrick hasn’t run out of anything and that we have this bronze.

And you’re working for that gold in Paris?

– Paris is still far away but yes we are working.

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