'Spencer Is my greatest rival'
TWO-TIME World 400-metre hurdles champion, Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic, has singled out Jamaica's Kaliese Spencer as her greatest rival. Hejnova made the admission as part of an interview with the online IAAF publication Personal Bests. She said that she and the Jamaican were equally matched.
"Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica is my greatest rival," the 28-year-old Czech said. "We have a similar personal best and we seem to be equally matched each season," she explained accurately. Spencer's best time is just 0.04 faster than hers at 52.79 seconds.
In 2010, when Hejnova and Spencer appeared in the top-10 world rankings published by the American publication Track and Field News for the first time together, they finished 1-2, with Spencer winning, in Gateshead, London, Zurich and Zagreb. They ended the year with Spencer ranked number two and Hejnova at number four.
Hejnova ran in the 2011 London Diamond League race where the Jamaican set her personal best. Earlier in that season, they were first and second in Paris with the Czech in front.
Spencer watched from the stands after a first round disqualification when Hejnova set her personal best of 52.83 seconds to win the 2013 World Championships.
Together, they have dominated the number one ranking spot recently. Though just fourth at the London Olympics, Spencer was on top in 2012 with Olympic bronze medallist Hejnova at number three. Despite the loss in London, Spencer had victories over Hejnova in Rome, Lausanne, Birmingham and Brusselone.
The Czech was number 1 at the end of a brilliant 2013 campaign, with Spencer regaining the spot in 2014.
Hejnova, who struggled last year with injuries, is likely to be world number one this year. Despite losses to Spencer in Birmingham and Oslo, she defended her World title in Beijing with the injury troubled 28-year-old Jamaican eighth.