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Alexandra Wester

Alexandra WesterAlexandra Valerie "Alex" Wester, born on the 21st of March in 1994 in Bakau, Gambia. She is a 5 ft. 11 in. (180 cm) German athlete specialising in the long jump. She made her major competitive debut at the 2016 World Indoor Championships where she finished sixth.

She was born in Gambia to a German father and a Ghanaian mother. Earlier in her career, she competed in combined events but decided to specialise in the long jump after having had problems with injuries.

Her personal bests in the event are 6.79 metres outdoors at Oberteuringen in 2016 and 6.95 metres indoors in Berlin during 2016.

She attended the University of Miami and competed for their Hurricanes. Later in Germany she was with the track and field club ASV Köln. She was coached by Ulrich Knap.

Long jumper Alexandra Wester sustained a serious foot injury at the ISTAF in Berlin. Several ligaments of her ankle were torn, the decision whether an operation will be performed is still pending.

The television coverage of her sixth jump on in the long jump competition of the ISTAF in Berlin are still visually in front of many TV viewers: Alexandra Wester took a run, wanted to jump, kinks and ends up in the long jump pit with a contorted face.

Alexandra WesterThe Olympic, World Cup and European Championship participant was treated immediately on site, and further examinations followed immediately in the hospital in Berlin.

A few days later the diagnosis was made: Alexandra tore three outer ligaments and the inner ligament in her right ankle. In addition, she suffered a partial tear in the front area of the syndesmotic ligament.

She announced that - "I have a good team of doctors around me, with whom I will decide within the next week whether it should be operated on or not. First of all, the swelling has to subside," she said.

The long jumper has already shown that she can fight back after a serious injury: In 2011, when she was still an all-rounder, she was on the verge of being down after a knee injury.

But she dared to start again, went for the long jump, meticulously fine-tuned her form and technique on her own during a stay in the USA, then created an even more professional environment for herself in Germany - and has since competed six times in international championships in the national jersey.

"Having a hard time saying anything about the situation. I spent the last week instead of grieving planning, weighing and calling - which I prefer after this shock."

Alexandra Wester"I've decided to have surgery done this Thursday. Thank you for all your recovery wishes, support and compassion that was expressed to me.

"Step 1 is done! I was discharged from Atos clinic. The syndesmosis band was stabilized using the TightRope procedure and the 2 outer bands were fixed with reversible bands."

"The inner band should heal naturally. Thank you Dr. Holger Schmitt, who successfully carried out the surgery and the whole medical team, also around Charité Berlin, who have taken on the whole thing since the accident."

"I would also like to thank all the coaches, doctors, physios, friends and my sponsor Puma who stood by me with advice and decisive action. Even Heike Drechsler called me and gave me encouraging words."

'You're giving me a lot of support on the way to rehabilitation - I know it won't be a lick of sugar, but now I can take the time to balance all the unbalanced areas and build a strong foundation."

Her personal bests in the event are 6.79 metres outdoors at Oberteuringen in 2016 and 6.95 metres indoors in Berlin during 2016.

She attended the University of Miami and competed for their Hurricanes. Later in Germany she was with the track and field club ASV Köln. She was coached by Ulrich Knap.

Alexandra Wester

European Indoor Championships 2017
8th place | Competition: long jump | Location: Belgrade

European Championship 2016
7th place | Competition: long jump | Location: Amsterdam

Indoor World Championships 2016
6th place | Competition: long jump | Location: Portland

Long Jump - women
Participation Olympic Games / Olympic Youth Games and the Europe Games
Participated in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero in 2016

Member of ASV Cologne Sports Association and the German Athletics Association

Alexandra WesterFour years ago, Alexandra Wester’s athletics career seemed looked like it could be finished.

A promising heptathlete – she won the German schools title at the age of 15 - but then Wester suffered a severe knee injury during a hurdles race and spent a year out of the sport.

But, after two operations to her cruciate ligament, meniscus and knee cartilage, she came back. But combined events was already deemed too dangerous and it was decided that she should best stick to the long jump, albeit having to change her jump-off leg from her right to her left.

Three years on, her remarkable recovery continued. She managed to lead the world indoor list and became German indoor champion to put her on the plane to the USA, where the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 would be held.

Wester’s leap to fame came at the ISTAF Indoor meeting in Berlin when she went out to 6.95m to shoot to the top of the world and install herself as a serious medal contender for Portland.

It added 23 centimetres to the personal best she had set in Dusseldorf just 10 days prior and was a whopping 36-centimetre improvement over her pre-2016 overall lifetime best.

It was also the third longest indoor jump in German athletics history, placing her behind Heike Drechsler (7.37m) and Helga Radtke (7.09m).

Alexandra WesterIt was a fascinating tussle in the Berlin indoor arena. Britain’s world silver medallist Shara Proctor had taken the lead with a personal best of 6.91m in round two. That would have been enough to out-psyche most novices, but not Wester.

Having watched her second-round leap of 6.82m – her fourth personal best of the winter – overtaken by the Briton, Wester responded in round three with her record leap.

It was a stunning moment for the 21-year-old, but she managed to articulate what it meant for her to the German federation athletics magazine, Leichtathletik.

“It was enormously liberating,” she said. “I didn’t expect that kind of distance at all. My goal for the indoor season was 6.75m to qualify for the World Indoors. I would never have thought this mark was possible.”

In stark contrast, her coach, Charles Friedek, was reported to be speechless at what his athlete had done, but Wester was quick to admit his influence over her rapid improvement.

After a year studying sports science in Miami last year, she returned to Germany and based herself in Cologne under the tutelage of Friedek, the 1999 world triple jump champion.

“We are a great team and we work well together,” she said. “With his help, I have greatly improved my technique.”

Alexandra WesterBut in order to ensure her place in Portland, Wester still had to consolidate her improvement at the German Indoor Championships in Leipzig to secure her first German vest. It proved no contest as she more than held her nerve to claim her first senior title with a leap of 6.75m.

Having returned from the States, at the outdoor German Championships in Nuremburg, she could finish no higher than seventh. “I am so proud to finally be able to call myself German champion instead of just schools champion,” she wrote on her Facebook page following victory in Leipzig.

Apart from the natural progression she has made, the new ASV Cologne athlete explains that Friedek’s technical input has been decisive. She has worked with lighter weights with more concentration on speed, improving her 60m personal best to 7.53 in 2015.

She particularly laid emphasis on her dip at the board which allows her to gain more height and length in the jump. She has dispensed with the heavy weights favoured in the US and uses lighter weights with faster reps. A seven-kilogram weight loss since her return from Miami may have also helped.

In Leipzig, Wester wanted to simply qualify for the team by winning the competition: “My plan was to jump around 6.70m and I did that so I am happy,” she said.

“The problem was the run-up was so fast I had to bring my marker back by one metre. But from now on it is all about one thing; my gaze is directed towards Portland. I want to be consistently over 6.70m there."

Alexandra Wester“I hadn’t expected everything to go so well this winter,” she added. “For me, the World Indoor Championships represent an important role psychologically."

"It is a big step for me. The two weeks of basic training I shall be missing [by competing there] are nothing compared to the experience of competing in such a high quality field.”

Wester was born in The Gambia in 1994 of a German father and Ghanaian mother. At the age of three, she moved with the family to Germany where, at the age of six, she took her first steps in athletics.

In 2008 she joined USC Mainz and one year later was German schools heptathlon champion, setting a national age-group record. At the age of 16 she was runner-up at the German Youth Championships.

Despite all the publicity surrounding her move to Cologne, it is worth mentioning the fact that her first coach at USC Mainz was Harry Letzelter. It was Letzelter who laid the all-important groundwork from which she is now reaping the benefits.

Athletics aside, she has a fitness page on Youtube and has done some sportswear modelling, though all of that is taking a back seat this year. “Now and again I take a few modelling jobs,” she says. “But this year my focus is totally on athletics.”

After Portland, the road led to Rio, for which she had already qualified. “The Olympics has been my dream for a long time,” she said.

Alexandra WesterAnd the seven-metre barrier? “First of all I have got to consolidate my outdoor jumping,” said Wester. “But seven metres is possible since I am only 21 and hopefully have many years ahead of me."

“It was not a perfect jump in Berlin. There is always something that can be improved, for example the position of my arms during the jump. But that is just fine tuning.”

As for examples to follow, she cites a trio of world and Olympic champions who inspire her: the looseness of Usain Bolt, the consistency of Ashton Easton who has maintained a high level even after winning so much, and Allyson Felix for her will power in fighting back to the top after injury – something which Wester can clearly relate to.

Great Britain’s Shara Proctor had fought hard and had a jump of 6.91m in the second round and two other jumps beyond 6.80m but still had to settle for second place from the inspired young German.

“It is hard to realise," said Wester. "I wanted to jump 6.75m, the World Indoor Championships standard. I really can't believe this right now. I am still shivering inside. My first jump didn't go well but I knew that I can do better. In the second attempt, I felt better. Now I need to stay focused and repeat my good results.

"I had a pretty hard time, I was injured a lot but I decided to come back to Germany (after being at university in the USA). And I am really happy here."

Follow Alexandra on Instagram


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Alexandra Wester Alexandra Wester Alexandra Wester
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Competition record

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing Germany
2016 World Indoor Championships Portland, United States 6th Long jump 6.67 m
European Championships Amsterdam, Netherlands 7th Long jump 6.51 m
Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 34th (q) Long jump 5.98 m
2017 European Indoor Championships Belgrade, Serbia 8th Long jump 6.53 m
World Championships London, United Kingdom 23rd (q) Long jump 6.27 m
2018 European Championships Berlin, Germany 15th (q) Long jump 6.55 m



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