Irish delight as Heffernan clinches 50km walk title

1 / 2
2 / 2
Updated 18 August 2013
0

Irish delight as Heffernan clinches 50km walk title

MOSCOW: Guts, guile and no lack of self-belief propelled Irishman Robert Heffernan to 50km race walk victory on Wednesday, spoiling the Russian party one day after Yelena Isinbayeva’s wildly-celebrated pole vault triumph.
The Luzhniki stadium, as it has been on every morning of the world championships, was short on fans — in contrast to the previous evening when the stands rocked with appreciation after the Isinbayeva show.
While the Russian enjoyed the cheers of a nation, the 35-year-old Heffernan had the one supporter who mattered most as he scooped Ireland’s first world gold in 18 years.
“My wife is here with me and we are so happy,” he said with understatement after denying the hosts a clean sweep of the walks after they took gold in both 20km events earlier in the week.
“I believed I could be the winner,” he added after a career of near medal misses.
“It was very tough but I tried to stay positive. The last 10km are like a crucifixion.”
With no evening session on Wednesday as the nine-day championships take a breather, the walk and a handful of qualifying represented thin fare.
Two long-jump champions at opposite ends of their careers experienced contrasting fortunes, with Briton’s Olympic winner Greg Rutherford failing to reach the final and ‘golden oldie’ Dwight Phillips continuing his dream of a last hurrah.
Rutherford declared himself fit at the last minute for the championships after suffering a hamstring tear five weeks ago, but his best of 7.81 meters on Wednesday fell short.
“I just didn’t have what it took out there today. Believe me, I gave everything,” the 26-year-old said. “My last training session, I had it two days ago and it felt fantastic.”
American Phillips, 35, postponed his retirement for a year to try and become the first US athlete to win five individual world championship titles in the same event.
“Today my body felt great. Once you are in the final anything can happen,” Phillips, world champion in 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2011, said after a season’s best effort of 7.95.
Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop and Silas Kiplagat battled it out for 1,500 meters gold and silver two years ago in Daegu, South Korea, and both eased into Friday’s semi-finals with heat wins.
Kiprop is favorite to defend his title after clocking a stunning 3:27.72 in Monaco on July 19, putting him fourth on the all-time list, but he guarded against complacency.
“I never under-estimate anyone,” the tall Kenyan said.
Ethiopia’s twice Olympic champion Meseret Defar set the fastest time in women’s 5,000 meters qualifying, winning the second and last heat in which 10 of the 11 starters all progressed to the final.
A slow first heat, won by Kenyan Mercy Cherono, gave the also-rans who followed in heat two a time target to aim for and a good pace ensured all except Georgian Giuli Dekanadze, who was lapped by the field, went through.
Defar, world champion in 2007 but bronze medallist in each of the last two editions, said she had “prepared well” for Moscow, where her task has been made easier with team mate Tirunesh Dibaba, winner of the 10,000 meters, not bidding for a distance double.
“I am ready for the final,” Defar said. “It will be a battle between Kenya and Ethiopia again.”
In women’s hammer qualifying Germany’s Betty Heidler was a notable casualty, the 2007 world champion and twice silver medallist putting her failure to reach Friday’s final down to “technical problems.”


Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge wins men’s race at London Marathon, Mo Farah third

Updated 8 min 1 sec ago
0

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge wins men’s race at London Marathon, Mo Farah third

  • Victory marks Eliud Kipchoge's third victory in the London Marathon
  • Home favorite Mo Farah has to settle for third

London: Eliud Kipchoge stormed to his third London Marathon title on Sunday to complete an impressive Kenyan double after Vivian Cheruiyot dominated the women's race in warm conditions.
Kipchoge, 33, saw off the challenge of Ethiopia's Tola Shura Kitata and home favorite Mo Farah to win his third London marathon in four years in a time of 2 hrs 4 min 27 sec, finishing more than half a minute in front of Kitata (2:05:00), with Farah third (2:06:32).
Cheruiyot, 34, timed her run perfectly to win the women's event in a time of 2 hours 18 min 31 secs ahead of compatriot Brigid Kosgei (2:20:13), and Ethiopia's Tadelech Bekele (2:21:40).
She took advantage of failed attempts to break Paula Radcliffe's 15-year-old world record by last year's winner Mary Keitany and runner-up Tirunesh Dibaba.
In unusually warm conditions in the British capital first Dibaba and then Keitany dropped off the pace, allowing the 2016 Olympic 5,000m gold medallist to claim victory.
After nine miles Keitany and main rival Dibaba were 25 seconds ahead of Radcliffe's time. But Dibaba was soon reduced to a walking pace to leave Keitany with only her two male pacemakers for company.
Keitany, looking for a fourth win in London, also started to slow down as it became apparent Radcliffe's record of two hours 15 minutes 25 seconds would not be threatened.
Britain's David Weir won the men's wheelchair race for the eighth time after a thrilling sprint finish.
The 38-year-old pipped Switzerland's Marcel Hug into second place, with Daniel Romanchuk of the United States third.