Harting the magician | 08.08.2012
Robert Harting secured gold at London 2012 in the discus.
He did it again in the discus final on Tuesday evening when he was under pressure from a seemingly unassailable throw of 68.18 from Iran’s Ehsan Hadadi.
That had come in round one and appeared to have shocked the opposition into submission. It had survived all attempts to dislodge it until round five when the imposing German stepped into the circle and unleashed the killer blow of 68.27.
Throwing last in the round, Hadadi responded with what seemed like a huge throw, but it was ruled a foul. The German’s final throw was just over 67m so he still had to wait for the Iranian’s final effort, also a foul, before he could celebrate with his now traditional vest shredding.
"It's just amazing. I can't believe it,” said Harting. “It was so hard as my beginning was bad. It got better and in the end I was lucky.
"I've dreamed of this since I was 12 years old. I first picked up a discus in 2000, from then on I worked hard to get here."
That was an important gold for Germany, their first in the athletics stadium since Sydney 2000. Thus Harting followed in the footsteps of Rolf Danneberg, Juergen Schult and Lars Riedel who was also the last German to take a discus medal when he won silver in Sydney to add to his gold from Atlanta. Harting now has the full set of World, European and Olympic title all won within the space of 365 days.
Round five was also the cue for the defending Olympic champion from Estonia, Gerd Kanter, to emerge from his lair to claim his place amongst the medallists with a season’s best 68.03.
Hadadi aside, Europe has a stranglehold on this event with six of the top seven finishers in the final.
Proctor leads the long jump qualifiers
Great Britain’s Shara Procter raised the possibility of a long jump double gold for the host nation when she led the qualifiers into Wednesday’s final with a leap of 6.83.
On Saturday evening, Greg Rutherford captured a surprise gold for Great Britain and now Procter has her chance to emulate him.
The 23 year old wasted no time with her qualifying jump. Hitting the board perfectly in round one she sailed out well beyond the qualifying distance of 6.70 with the minimum of effort.
The closest anyone came to her was American Janay Deloach who led the group B qualifiers with a jump of 6.81.
“It (the qualifying) was the hardest part,” admitted Proctor. “I am just going home now and (will) improve and get a medal."
"There is a seven metre jump in me, but I am not thinking about it."
Osagie first Briton to qualify for the 800m final for 20 years
Running in the second semi-final, Britain’s Andrew Osagie came through strongly in the finishing straight to qualify by right for Thursday night’s 800m final behind the favourite for the title, David Rudisha of Kenya.
"I am in disbelief,” said the Briton. “I am lucky my legs had enough. I can't believe it. To come second to him (Rudisha) and qualify automatically was pretty good.
"It's a dream come true. When we got 30 to 40 metres to the finish line, I seemed to have another gear. All I wanted to do all my life was run in an Olympic final."