Antyukh to continue at least until the World Championships | 10.08.2012
|Natalya Antyukh is considering carrying on after her Olympic
The decision was made in the heat of the moment and it did not seem to last long because in Wednesday night's victory press conference she said that maybe the fact that the world championships was going to be held in Moscow next year might make her change her mind.
“Now I really don’t know what to do,” she admitted. “For some reason I changed my mind [about retirement] and now I still want to continue running. I don’t think I could make it to Rio, but I could take part in the Moscow world championships.”
After her titanic exertions, Antyukh arrived at her press conference massaging a muscle: “It is my calf muscle, I think it is just tension, I have overextended it.”
Not that it matters once you have won, but Antyukh did have an injury before the Games and refused to talk about it because she was afraid that it would be interpreted as an excuse: “Besides,” she said, “I hurt but who doesn’t hurt?”
The final few metres of the final on Wednesday night looked hard: “I sensed Lashinda Demus on my right. She is the most unpredictable rival. I can predict the tactics and mind-set of any other runner in that final, but not her.She is always different.”
Coming into the Games, all the attention was on compatriot Irina Davydova who had the world lead of 53.77 and had looked so convincing in Helsinki when she lifted gold. It was a situation that suited Antyukh despite the fact that she had won the Russian trials.
“It’s great I was in the shadows because no one was looking at me,” explained Antyukh. “I really prefer to be in the background. I don’t want to be the centre of attention. Even now I was asked for an interview in English and I refused because I cannot express myself well in English.”
One of the themes of this Games has been athletes swapping race names like footballers exchanging shirts. After the 400m semis Kirani James swapped his race name for Oscar Pistorius’s.
In Antukh’s case she gave her name away to a spectator: “Well, he asked me for it. Why not give it away?” she said.
There might now be another to give away at the 4x400m, though for the time being, Antyukh has not been named in the squad. She already has an Olympic silver from 2004, but is double gold not tempting? “It was not on the cards, I was only counting on the individual medal,” she answered. We shall see.