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Olympics 2008 - Day 6 Evening Session Report

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Tasha Danvers celebrates Olympic Bronze

20th August 2008

  

Tasha Danvers ran the race of her life to win Team GB their third track and field medal by taking bronze in the 400m hurdles on Wednesday night (August 20).

And she proved there could be more to come by smashing her lifetime best in a perfectly executed race.

It was an intelligent run by Danvers, who had Jamaican favourite and eventual gold medal winner Melaine Walker on the lane inside her, but running her own race came off the final bend in third and never looked likely to be caught.

In fact she finished so strongly, she almost stole the silver from Sheena Toster of the USA. Walker took gold with an Olympic record time of 52.64.

Christian Malcolm also went in the final of the 200m, but proved to be a bit-part player in a phenomenal race where 100m champion Usain Bolt added the 200m title, and the world record to his collection of Beijing treasure.

For Malcolm, running from lane three, there was nothing else he could do but execute an independent race, and he crossed the line in 20.40, more than a second behind Bolt, who took Michael Johnson’s world record of 19.32 down to 19.30.

“I didn’t see Bolt, I was just concentrating on Shawn Crawford,” said Malcolm. “But the way he ran 100m he was always going to be capable of the 200m world record. He beat me by over a second – I’ve never had that done.

“For me it’s a comeback but he’s at his peak, I’ve got to be happy with that.”

Earlier in the evening it had been disappointment, however – particularly for Mo Farah, who failed to progress beyond the first round of the 5000m.

Having had the benefit of seeing the time achieved by the first heat athletes, but with only the first four in each heat and the next three fastest to progress, and another heat to go, Farah knew he would have to run a sensible race aiming for automatic qualification.

The Newham and Essex clubman, who finished sixth in last year’s world championship 5000m final, sat at the back in the early stages.

But with no-one offering to pick up the pace the field dallied round the track at 8.40 3000m pace, and it soon became obvious only the top four would progress from this heat.

For Farah, jostled at the bell by Ethiopian Abreham Cherkos, the last lap burn-up was too much to compete with, and he slipped to sixth in 13.50.95, his Olympic journey coming to a premature end.

“The Olympics only come round once every four years and it’s a difficult one to take,” he said.

“You want to play most of your cards at the Olympics, and it didn’t happen here at all. On the last lap I fought to go after them, but couldn’t do anything.

“Everything I’ve trained for is this and not to get to the final is hard to take.”

Following Farah out of the Bird’s Nest Stadium was pole vaulter Steve Lewis, who in an attempt to secure a place in Friday’s final, entered the competition at 5.45m.

It was a brave tactic, but one that did not pay off, and the dejected youngster left his first Olympic Games registering no height for his efforts.

“I’m devastated it happened like that,” he said. “I had a smoking warm up, I jumped 5.50m. I’ve been entering the competition at 5.40 and 5.45 all season, and the plan was to come here and jump as I have done all year.

“I know I was capable of 5.75m tonight.”

Emily Freeman was up against the odds to make it through her semi-final of the 200m, but the Wakefield runner made sure she once again put in a strong performance to underline her progress this year.

With Allyson Felix, from the USA, and Jamaican Sherone Simpson driving on the pace to a 22.33 win for Felix, Freeman held form and finished seventh in 22.83.

Despite her position it was clear indication that Freeman had made a significant step in sprinting, dipping below 23 seconds once again with some ease.

“Hopefully next year I can get into more races like that,” she said in reference to her performance level. “The semi final fields were about equal, I had a good lane and a good draw. I can’t complain about it, I just didn’t run fast enough.”

Michael Rimmer had started the night positively for Team GB in his heat of the 800m, and despite suffering a bout of food poisoning in his pre-Olympic Games preparations, showed he had fully recovered and managed his tough heat well to proceed to the semi-final stage on Thursday night.

Rimmer took no chances, leading the group from the gun, and despite being overtaken at 600m, battled hard on the home straight to edge ahead of South Africa’s Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and take the win in 1.47.61.

“It didn’t feel bad, it just took me a long time to change gear and get my legs going,” said Rimmer.

“Once I got going I felt really good. I was confident of winning it, it was just a case of trying to keep my cool.”

 

For Results and Startlists click here