Mo Farah runs to a historic double; Saviniva & Chicherova give cause for Russia to celebrate
In the Games dominated by Usain Bolt, it was indeed a bolt from the blue as the 19-year-old World junior champion Keshon Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago took the javelin gold ahead of the stalwarts, as the curtain came down on the athletics competition at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
In throwing to a distance of 84.58 metres, his second attempt in the final, Walcott broke the national record for the fourth time in the year. It was the first gold medal for Trinidad and Tobago since Hasely Crawford won the 100m in Montreal in 1976.
Walcott said that winning the Olympic gold at 19, would put pressure on him in future, but was happy all the same.
Defending champion Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway finished sixth with 82.63 metres while one of the strong favourites, European champion Vitezslav Vesely of Czechoslovakia who had gone to the top the world lists in the preliminary round here with a throw of 88.34, ended up fourth with only 83.34.
“My heart was beating really fast going into the last throw. I knew these guys were experienced. But I am so happy now. A personal best wasmy target and just making the final was the best I had hoped for,” was Walcott’ frank admission of Walcott, who took everyone’s breath away by saying that he had been throwing javelin only for the last four years, after giving up on cricket.
It was a slow race in a strong field, but Mo Farah had the best kick as he leaped into history by winning the 5000 metres gold in 13 minutes 41.66 seconds.
It was a historic double for the Briton, who slapped his head in his trade mark style with a bewildered expression on his face, after the finish. He had won the 10,000 metres gold earlier.
The 29-year-old Farah joined the greats of distance running like Hannes Kolehmainen of Finland, Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia, Vladimir Kuts of Russia, Lasse Viren of Finland, Mruts Yifter and Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia to win the long distance double at the Games. Lasse Viren did it twice in 1972 and 1976.
“To be part of that group is great,” said Farah, who had won the world championship gold in 5000m in Daegu, and the silver in the 10,000m. “The crowd was inspiring for sure. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have dug deep. The crowd just got louder and louder. I had to hold off until the last lap and try not to let them pass,” said Farah, as he said he did the sit-ups after the race to match doing the press-ups (of Bolt).
Ethiopian Dejen Gebremeskel, the world championship bronze medallist, was second in 13:41.98 while Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa of Kenya took the bronze in 13:42.36. It was a tactical race and the slowest since Mexico City in 1968.
World champion Mariya Savinnova of Russia won the 800m gold by clocking the fastest time of the year, 1:56.19. Caster Semenya, the South African, whose gender issues had thrown up quite a controversy in 2009, came up with her final kick late and had to settle for the second place in a season best 1:57.23.
Russian Ekaterina Poistogova clocked a personal best 1:57.53 for the bronze. The one to fade out on the finishing straight was defendingchampion Pamela Jelimo of Kenya, who was considered the favourite before the Games began. She eventually managed the fourth place in 1:57.59.
“I controlled the situation, I didn’t try to go too quickly from the beginning,” said Savinova, who was ready to accept any medal, but was well prepared to get the gold and did not feel any pressure.
Favourite Anna Chicherova of Russia asserted her stature as the No.1 in the world this year by taking the high jump gold with a season best2.05m. She was the third World champion to win the Olympic gold in the event, after Heike Henkel of Germany in 1992 and StefkaKostadinova of Bulgaria in 1996.
Brigetta Barrett of the US beat Svetlana Shkolina of Russia after both tied at 2.03 metres, as she had cleared the height on the second attempt as compared to the third by the Russian.
The US stretched its 4x400m winning streak to six Games, in a time of 3 minutes 16.87, the fastest time in the world for 19 years. Russia finished second in 3:20.23 ahead of Jamaica which won its third bronze in the event on the trot in the last three Games, in 3:20.95.
“The other girls made it too easy for me. To be a part of a group like this, of dominating women, has been great,” said Sanya Richards-Ross after anchoring the US to victory.
Yadav finishes 78th
Ram Singh Yadav finished 78th among 85 finishers in the men’s marathon with a time of 2 hours 30 minutes and 6 seconds. It was the 31-year-old Indian’s worst career timing.
Keywords: 2012 London Olympics