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2011 Fistball WCH at the OMV Linz Donau Marathon

11.04.2010, Linz - The Austrian Fistball Association was represented by an impressive 10 relay teams at the OMV Linz Donau Marathon. Head coach Winfried Kronsteiner registered the entire 2011 Fistball World Championship squad for the race. Players from the men's U21, U18 and the women's team made up the numbers for the 40-strong team.

"The players will need an exceptional level of fitness for the WCH in 2011. The marathon relay was the starting gun for regular training," says Kronsteiner, explaining the thinking behind the idea. "It was also an ideal platform to advertise next year's event that will be staged in Salzburg, Vienna, Kremsmünster, Linz and Pasching."
Kronsteiner himself was forced to lace up his running shoes as some of the players had to cancel two days before the event due to injury. Martin Weiss, captain of the World Championship winning team in 2007, now Fistball Association coach at the High Performance Centre in Linz and General Secretary of the WCH, also took part in the final leg for one relay team. Martin was delighted about the extremely successful PR: "Our U18 teams were on the stands with WCH banners and scarves to cheer on the players running the final leg of the relay. We intend to take part in as many sporting events as possible to promote the fact that we are the only World Champions Austria has in ball games."
The fistballers' individual times were very impressive. FBC Urfahr defender Béla Gschwandtner, for example, ran the 12.7 km stretch in 52:56 before handing over to national coach Kronsteiner.  He then decided to carry on and run the next 6.7 km with Kronsteiner to the finishing line because the shuttle bus would have been too slow for him. "He only ran the first 52 m with me though. Then I lost sight of him," joked Kronsteiner. His unofficial time for the combined 19.4 km was around 1:15:00. His Urfahr team-mate, Roland Helmberger from Laakirchen, ran the 14.1 km leg well under an hour in 58:43. The female final leg runners also put in a fine performance: women's captain Antonia Ritschel, U18 World Champion Magdalena Lindorfer and Salzburg's Teresa Pichler ran the 6.7 km in an impressive 32 minutes.

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