BUDAPEST (Reuters) – A day after Dominik Cerny knelt down on one knee and proposed to Hana Burzalova at the finish line of the women’s 35-kilometres race walk at the World Athletics Championships, the Slovakian athletes were still riding a wave of emotions.
“He saved me some seconds, I was really fast at the end (of the race), and when I saw him I couldn’t hear anything but I was just shocked and I was full of emotions,” Burzalova said on Friday.
“It was really nice. Now when I’m thinking about it, it’s more and more emotional, because at the time it was really hard to absorb everything.”
The happy couple returned to the race finish line on Friday to recreate the touching moment, Cerny scooping his new fiance up into his arms and spinning her around before planting a kiss.
Cerny had carried the ring in the pocket of his shorts throughout his race, in which he finished 19th. He worried he might lose it whenever he grabbed a cold sponge to apply to his neck in the stifling Budapest heat.
“I was always (thinking) ‘Is it there?'” he said, touching a hand to his pocket. “Okay.”
The 22-year-old Burzalova said the proposal easily made up for a difficult race and 28th-place finish.
“The race was really tough for me yesterday,” she said. “So, I’m glad that this helped me to recover faster and yeah, I knew that it was going to happen one day, but that it happened here, because we know each other and we are a couple (thanks to race walking) it was really nice.”
They hope to compete together at next year’s Paris Olympics when the marathon race walk mixed relay makes its debut.
(Writing by Lori Ewing, reporting by Silvio Castellanos; Editing by Toby Davis)