Gold medals for Farah, Lysenko and Savinova on final day of the World Championships
Great Britain’s Mo Farah and the Russian pair of Tatyana Lysenko and Mariya Savinova took Europe’s overall gold medal tally to 14 victories on the final day of the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, on Sunday.
Farah’s finishing speed, with him clocking a flying final lap of 52.61, helped him become the first European men’s 5000m winner at the World Championships since Ireland's Eamonn Coghlan lifted the title at the inaugural edition in Helsinki 28 years ago.
Farah's time of 13:23.36 was modest but that didn’t matter as he added to the 10000m silver medal he won a week earlier.
“You have to be strong. When you come so close to gold; you want that gold. You do everything you can. Looking ahead, I want to take one race at a time, stay injury free. I don't know what my next plan is. I just want to enjoy this moment right now, just go home and celebrate with friends and family, my coach,” said the delighted 28-year-old Londoner, who wept tears of joy after his triumph.
Savinova confirmed that she is now the undisputed number one women’s 800m runner in the world, after placing fifth at the last Championships in 2009.
In the last two seasons, in addition to her latest honour, she has won the 800m titles at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships and 2010 European Athletics Championships, but in Daegu she ran the race of her life to claim the victory in a personal best of 1:55.87.
In a tactically perfect race, Savinova stayed away from the front and was only in pole position when she swept past South Africa’s defending champion Caster Semenya 30 metres from the line.
“I knew the race would be tough and very fast, but I am quite surprised about my time; especially the power and endurance I found in my body in the last 100 metres. I never expected to run that fast,” said a thrilled Savinova.
“When I saw Caster's great shape before the race, I told myself that she was very well prepared and she seemed unbeatable to me; I was prepared to fight for the silver medal and I did not really focus on getting the gold.
“I am still shocked I managed to win. In the last 30 meters I already knew I was going to win, so I started to smile and crossed the finish line with smiling face,” said Savinova, who finishing line photo provided one of the most memorable images of the Championships.
|Tatyana Lysenko of Russia kisses the ring after winning the women's
hammer gold medal in Daegu on Sunday.
Savinova’s hammer throwing compatriot Tatyana Lysenko started the day off well for Russia when she led from the outset, registering the three best throws in the competition, to defeat the German favourite and world record holder Betty Heidler.
Lysenko, the 2006 European champion, opened with a season’s best of 76.80m and extended her control of the competition in round two with a huge 77.09m in the second round, followed by an improvement to 77.13m.
Heidler started very hesitantly but reached 74.70m, in the third round to place third at that stage, behind China’s Zhang.
In round five, Heidler went from the bronze to silver medal slot with 76.06m to exert some pressure on Lysenko but the competition ended with both the main protagonists fouling their final efforts.
“Until the last attempt, I was not sure I will get gold. My throws were very solid and stabile but the hammer throw is the event in which you can never be sure about your victory until the very end,” said Lysenko.
“I expected very big attempts from other girls in the final but I was just focused on myself. My target was to improve my season best and to get the best place I could, I did not think about the world record,” she added, after reversing the top two from the 2010 European Athletics Championships where Heidler was victorious.
“I am not happy about this competition and my result, but at least I still got a silver medal because until the fifth attempt I was only third. When Lysenko came out with a strong first attempt, this did not have much of an impact on me, it was not important for me,” reflected a disappointed Heidler.
“However, I do not know what was wrong with me today, why I did not get it today, why I did not get it together today. There was just no rhythm. It was not a good competition but this championship is a good motivation for me for 2012 because I know that I am the best in the world this year and also the world record holder,” added the German.
Another European champion from last summer who got a silver medal in Daegu was the British triple jumper Phillips Idowu.
Idowu led after round one after putting out an impressive opener of 17.56m and improved with a huge 17.70m in round three.
However, it was not to be enough. The American champion Christian Taylor leapt out to his monster world-leading mark of 17.96m the following round to move up to third on the all-time list.
The pressure was now on Idowu, who couldn’t’ match Taylor but still refused to throw in the towel and responded with a season’s best of 17.77m in round five. Neither jumper could get close to their best efforts in the sixth and final round.
“It was a phenomenal job by the winner. I'm pleased with my series of jumps today. This world championship is a stepping stone for next year's Olympics so I'm pleased,” said Idowu.
"I have a plan in place starting from last year and it wasn't a year-to-year approach, it was an 18-month plan, and it's moving in the right direction
"I am proud and year in year out, I am getting medals. Now I have to focus on getting gold in London,” added Idowu, whose best jump was the longest ever for a World Championships silver medal.
European champions France took the silver medals in the men’s 4x100m behind Jamaica, who set a world record of 37.04, in a 2011 European-leading time of 38.20.
“We are really happy with the silver medal. Realistically, we didn’t think that anything else was within reach when you have these Caribbean guys running in the same race with you,” said France’s 200m bronze medallist Christophe Lemaitre.
European champions 4x100m champions Ukraine also showed off their outstanding baton changing skills and team spirit to take the bronze medal behind United States and Jamaica in 42.51, the best time by a European quartet this year.