World Masters Athletics News A Tribute Melitta Czerwenka-Nagel

A Tribute Melitta Czerwenka-Nagel

A Tribute Melitta Czerwenka-Nagel post thumbnail image
Photo Lutwin Jungmann

Tribute to 2006 WMA Best Female Athlete, Melitta Czerwenka-Nagel

Our WMA family has lost another exceptional athlete, Melitta Czerwenka-Nagel. Masters Athletics brings people together and those relationships frequently can be life changing as you probably know. That is clearly the case with WMA President, Margit Jungmann’s relationship with Melitta. Margit reflects “For me, Melitta’s personality and attitude to sport were impressive from the start. People like her are an incentive for me to get involved with the wonderful Masters in Saarland, in Germany and now at world level.”

Melitta started competing in Masters Athletics when she was 48 years old. Some might say she peaked in 2006 setting World Records in W75 800m, 1500m, 5000m and 10000m and was World Indoor Champion in 800m, 1500m and 3000m. IAAF / WMA recognized her as the Female Best Master of the Year, the sport’s highest honor, that year because of her amazing accomplishments. Melitta did not stop there and more honors followed.

She received many honors in 2020. German athletics fans voted her “Ace of the Month for September” among all active athletes after she beat the world records in the W90 400m by over 30 seconds and W90 800 meters by 51 seconds in the W90. A DLV expert jury named her senior track and field athlete of the year. She was named “Sportswoman of the Year 2020” in Saarland by the Association of Saarland Sports Journalists. The VSS justified the award with her remarkable ambition.

Two years later, DLV President Jürgen Kessing again presented her with the award for Senior Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Melitta created the basis for this honor at the European Senior Indoor Championships in Braga, Portugal. On the way to two gold medals, she first increased the W90 800m World Record by 1:47.09 to 5:27.80. Three days later she improved the W90 1500m record by just under a minute to 11:38.34. Shortly before the European Indoor Championships, she had already improved the W90 400m indoor record to 2:20:76.

Just two weeks prior to her passing, Prime Minister Anke Rehlinger had awarded her the Order of Merit, Saarland’s highest honor. “Melitta Czerwenka-Nagel is an outstanding example of how you can surpass yourself with sporting commitment, will and drive, even in old age. She has represented Saarland as a sports country in the entire athletics scene, but also in the entire sports world, in an extraordinary way and is therefore an outstanding ambassador for our country.”

She was World Champion fifteen times and European Champion thirty-three times over her more than forty-year running career! She currently holds seven World Records: W90 outdoor 800m, W90 indoor 400, W85 and W90 indoor 800m, W85 and W90 indoor 1500m and W85 indoor 3000m.

Melitta had a positive attitude that was uplifting for many other athletes, officials and administrators. She will be deeply missed.