Maslak claims 400m gold
|Pavel Maslak cleebartes after winning the 400m gold in Helsinki on
The 21-year-old had set a national record of 45.31 in Prague in May which he improved to 45.17 in Turin and here he came close to that mark as he won gold in 45.24 to win by three metres. That was the slowest winning time since 1978 when the old Czechoslavakia won their only medal through Karel Kolar who was second in 45.77.
He looked in control throughout and finished strongly.
After the race Maslak said, "It was a good race. The weather was good. However the time could have been better but it's ok and I'm satisfied with it. "
The silver medallist was even younger at 20 years of age. Hungarian Marceli Deak-Nagy who won the European Athletics Junior Championships last year, also finished well and he was a clear second in 45.52.
The Hungarian who won his country's first medal since Zoltan Adamik's bronze in 1954 said, "This is still a very early stage of the season and running was quite demanding so I'm really happy with my time and position. This was good preparation for London."
Also in the battle for a medal was Ireland's Brian Gregan who improved his PB from 45.91 to 45.63 in Helsinki but he gambled with his early speed and he began to slow in the last 50 metres.
It looked for much of the race that Donald Sanford, a former American, who was declared eligible to compete for Israel in March this year, would take a medal and he looked to be heading for second or third until he started tying up slightly himself along with the Irishman.
Around 30m out, Sanford was passed by Richard Buck in lane eight. Buck, ranked only the British number six this year with a 45.61 best was trying to keep Britain's great record in this event going. They have won nine gold and a further eight medals in the past but hadn't won gold since 1998.
Buck, who was initially disqualified in his heat for a lane infringement but was reinstated on appeal looked like he would take a bronze until Sanford managed to edge back past him but then almost on the line the pair were passed by Yannick Fonsat, France's former European junior champion. Drawn in the tight lane one he had run 45.30 this year but most had discounted him because of his lane draw but he finished like a train and took bronze by a metre.
After the race he said, "The first lane was very hard for me but I am very happy with my result."
Marcin Marciniszyn, who has a number of 4x400 medals, but has never impressed individually and he finished seventh in 46.46. That was some way clear of last though as Italian Marco Vistalli jogged/ambled around in a time that won't get him a medal in the 1500m final 4:04.20!