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Track prodigy Jolanda Kallabis reinforces OAC Europe

German track prodigy Jolanda Kallabis is the newest member of the On Athletics Club Europe.

The 18-year-old is joining head coach Thomas Dreissigacker’s team and brings copious amounts of talent and future promise.

In her still young career, the multi-talented Kallabis, who does not only run the steeplechase but also the 800m and even the 400m hurdles, has already accumulated quite a merit list. 

In a breakthrough year in 2022, the then 17-year-old smashed one of the longest-standing German records when she ran the 800m in 2:04.57 and broke the German indoor U18 record, which had been held by East Germany’s Hildegard Ullrich since 1976. A few weeks later, Kallabis proceeded to win the German indoor U20 title in the event, beating athletes up to three years her senior.

In July, she earned her first European title at the U18 Championships in Jerusalem, where she won the gold medal in her signature race, the 2000m steeplechase, and emulated her father Damian, who won a European steeplechase gold medal in 1998. Just two months later, she pulverized the U18 2000m steeplechase world record in a fable race that improved her personal best from 6:20.22 to 6:07:32.

Born into a family of runners, Kallabis credits much of her success to her parents. She said: “I basically grew up on the track and have been doing athletics all my life. My father Damian was a European champion, and my mother is a sports scientist and has been my coach until now. It was great to work with her; she obviously knows me very well. Even though we’ve been able to do everything pretty professionally so far, the OAC is the next right step, because I’ve always trained without a training group until now. It is hard to find another place or training group where I can train and organize my everyday life as professionally as here. Everything is geared toward professional athletics and that’s what I really want to do right now.”

Her move to the On Athletics Club is the next step to further professionalize training and environment. Kallabis, who has been sidelined with a stress fracture to her foot since spring and is limited to alternative training at the moment, just finished her A-levels and will now spend some time at the OAC training base in St. Moritz. 

“Jolanda has joined the team in St Moritz and is in her first weeks of training with us. She is still rehabbing her foot but we are preparing her return to running”, OAC Europe head coach Thomas Dreissigacker said. “Joining the OAC Europe team is a chance for her to put full focus on running and to profit from all advantages of a team, including the older, more experienced athletes as training partners but also the entire setup with coaches, physiotherapists, mental coaches and so on. She has already shown fantastic performances in a broad spectrum of different races and has been trained very comprehensively by her mother Nina. This is a great base to take the next step from, to break into the senior category and celebrate successes also there.”

“We are super excited to assist Jolanda on the next step in her already super promising athletic journey”, On Athlete Partnership Manager Niklas Bühner said. “She demonstrated her huge potential already on various distances from 800m to the 2,000m steeplechase and joining OAC Europe with its professional set up and world-class coaching, is the next logical step towards her own high ambitions. It’s the OAC Europe’s mission to develop the next generation of great European distance runners and Jolanda falls exactly into this very exclusive category. We are very happy to have her on board.”

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