Loughnane's gamble fails as Russian strolls to gold
Published 01/09/2011 | 05:00
OLIVE LOUGHNANE had to settle for 16th place in the 20km Walk at the World Championships in Daegu after her tactical gamble failed to pay off.
The Loughrea star, who took silver in Berlin two years ago, was in the lead group up to 8km, but she then chose not to go with an early injection of pace.
Loughnane, who traditionally comes through the field strongly in the second 10km, maintained her own pace, believing she would catch the lead group later when they eased off the throttle.
However, led by Russia's defending champion Olga Kaniskina and world record holder Vera Sokolova, the breakaway group of 13 kept the boot down.
By half-way, Loughnane was 23 seconds adrift and a full two minutes down at 15km as the lead group clocked up 5km splits of 23:29/22:27/ 21:27 and 21:35.
At 15km Kaniskina kicked for home, winning her third world title in a row by a full 18-second margin (1:29.42) and also ending Daegu's so-called 'Curse of the Cover' as the first of the five athletes who have featured on the daily programme covers who actually lived up to her billing.
China's 2009 bronze medallist Hong Liu won silver (1:30 flat) and Russia's Anisya Kirdyapkina, fourth in Berlin, took bronze in 1:30.12, with Loughnane four minutes adrift in 1:34.02.
Meanwhile, the IAAF will not be rushed into revising the controversial false-start rule that sent Usain Bolt crashing out of the world championships 100 metres, a top official said yesterday.
The one-and-you-are-done rule has been in effect since January 2010 and most elite sprinters do not like it.
But it was not until the lanky Bolt popped out of his blocks ahead of the starter's gun in last Sunday's 100 metres final did the outcry for change spread to the general public.
Elsewhere, Ethiopian double world record holder Kenenisa Bekele will not defend his 5,000 metres world title due to injury.