Sergey completes Russian sweep

Sergey completes Russian sweep

American Trey Hardee claims decathlon gold

Sergey completes Russian sweep

Russian Sergey Kirdyapkin wins the men’s 50KM walk at the World Athletics Championships on Friday. AP

On a day when heavy rain disrupted the evening proceedings at the Olympic Stadium, Kirdyapkin’s pacy effort at the historic Brandenburg Gate in the morning enabled Russia to sweep all the gold medals in race walk competitions. Valery Borchin and Olga Kaniskina had earlier won the men’s and women’s 20KM events.

Kirdyapkin had won the world title in 2005 at Helsinki but failed to finish at 2007 in Osaka as well as at the Beijing Olympic Games.

“My plan was to start slow and then to speed up towards the finish but it was hard to keep this pace. The weather was not good for 50KM race walk today,” said Kirdyapkin. “The last four years were not very good for me and my coach (Victor Chegin) helped me to find the way back again and win this race,” he added.

Australians Jarred Tallent and Luke Adams were ahead when the walkers passed the 30KM walk with Kirdyapkin and Denis Nizhagorodov following them. Tallent continued to lead till the 40KM but Trond Nymark of Norway and Jesus Angel Garcia of Spain slowly caught up with the leaders. Kirdyapkin then shook off his rivals to pull away, notching up his second world title in three hours, 38 minutes and 35 seconds.

Nymark took the silver a little over two minutes later, timing 3::41:16 while Garcia claimed the bronze in 3::41:37.

“The last 20KM were very hard but I kept the pace, I kept the faith and it paid off,” said Nymark.

At the Olympic Stadium, the evening session was hit by heavy rain and cold winds. The qualifying rounds of the women’s long jump and men’s javelin throw were affected by the weather, with the athletes struggling to raise their performances.

Before it started raining, however, American Brittney Reese, the only long jumper to cross seven metres this season, entered the final, clearing the automatic qualification mark of 6.75M with her first jump of 6.78M. Russian Tatyana Lebedeva (6.76) and Portugal’s Naide Gomes (6.86) also made it through to the final while Olympic champion Maurren Higa Maggi (6.68) made it by finishing in the top 12.

In javelin, Latvia’s Vadims Vasilevskis led the qualifiers with a massive 86.69M throw before rain halted the event. Favourites Andreas Thorkildsen (80.37) of Norway and Tero Pitkamaki (81.65) of Finland could not reach the automatic mark of 82.00M but being in the top 12 when rain intervened, they looked set to qualify.

Meanwhile, there were no surprises in the men’s 4x100M relay with favourites Jamaica, United States, Trinidad and Britain all going through to the final.

Usain Bolt didn’t run the semifinal but he was at the venue, signing autographs and posing for pictures. He will return for the final on Saturday.

Hardee champ

American Trey Hardee erased his Beijing disappointment when he won the decathlon gold medal with a world leading 8790 points on Thursday.

Hardee had registered a no-height in pole vault at the Olympics last year. This time, he stayed strong right till the end.

“This shows what faith can do. My did-not-finish tag in Beijing gave me extra motivation to come back,” said the 25-year-old Hardee. “I didn’t have fun last year and tried to make it a point I have fun this year. I am incredibly happy,” added the Texan.

DH News Service

Results: Men: Decathlon: Trey Hardee (USA) 8790 points, 1; Leonal Suarez (Cuba) 8640, 2; Aleksandr Pogorelov (Russia) 8528, 3.

50km walk: Sergey Kirdyapkin (Russia) 3::38:35, 1; Trond Nymark (Norway) 3::41:16, 2; Jesus Angel Garcia (Spain) 3::41:37, 3.