Hurdlers on high horse
Journalists: Carly Laden and Andrew Murdoch
Tensions were high at the World Masters Athletics Championships yesterday when the W45-49 hurdles had to be run again due to a set-up error.
The fault, which was detected just after the race, saw the athletes have to wait for four hours before they had a chance to race for gold.
After the initial race, German Evelyn Nagel finished first in 12 seconds flat, Australian Lenore Lambert was a close second and Aafke van Daalen took out the bronze.
While the finishing order did not change after the re-run, Lambert expressed frustration at the setup error.
“I’ve already competed about 15 times and I’ve got another two races, the last thing I needed was to re-run anything,” she said.
“It would have been better to have gone again if it was half an hour later while we were still warm.
“Putting up the wrong number of hurdles is a rookie error but we got through it.”
The US added four hurdles gold to their tally, finding winners in Irene Obera in the W80-84 race, Joy Upshaw with a narrow victory for the W55-59, Menka Scott in W50-54 and Rachel Guest in W40-44, who also beat Stephanie Thomas’s 1964 US record five hundredths of a second.
Great Britain struck gold twice with Jean Fail securing the W65-69 win by eight hundredths of a second and Carole Filer winning in the W60-64 age category.
The W70-74 race was the closest of the championships with Austria’s Marianne Maier and China’s Fuen Teng breasting the line together. The pair have swapped world records this year and it was a fitting finish to their race.
In the W50-55, Gerda Andries broke the Belgian Masters record for the short hurdles, despite finishing fourth, with a time of 13.55s.
Indonesian hurdles star and Olympic runner Dedeh Erawati added another gold medal to Indonesia’s medal tally, securing the 13.96s victory in the W35-39 age group by a clear margin.
Australia managed just one podium finish in the men’s long jump finals, with Gary Ralston taking out silver in the M60-64 division with a 5.23m leap.
Instead Belgium’s Philippe Poulain and Sweden’s Mattias Sunneborn stole the show with their gold medals in the in the M50-54 and M45 respectively.
Poulain won his event with a jump of 6.16m edging out long-time rival and friend, Frenchman Andre Briscan, by just 9cm.
The Belgian said hard work and dedication drove his victory and that he is turning this championship into an Australian adventure.
“The weather in Perth is really sunny, but the people are sunny also so it evens out.” He said.
Mattias Sunneborn, who had already claimed a gold in the decathlon for his age group, is not slowing down as these championships go into their final two days of competition.
Less than three minutes after he won gold with a jump of 6.48m in the M45-49 long jump, edging out Italy’s Stefano Tari by 2cm, the determined Swede took his spot in the semi-finals of the 400m and won with a time of 52.59.
Sunneborn’s fellow countrymen Anders Olsen won the M60-64 and China’s Wai Ling Kung the M55.
The rest of the 400m heats paved the way for an exciting run of finals starting from 2.20pm this afternoon.
In the M60-64 division less than 0.4s separated the three fastest qualifiers, and one of those, Great Britain’s David Elderfield says running into a headwind means yesterday’s heats are a little hard to read.
Mark Gomes, winner of the first heat of the M45-49, said his training in Miama has put him in good stead for combating Perth’s heat, and he is confident heading into today’s final.
“I felt great, I shut [the race] down at 300[m] and jogged it in.” He said of his heat.
However, Gomes will be up against the man who doesn’t stop in Sunneborn, so anything could happen.
Master’s gold medallist and former Olympic hurdler Dedeh Erawati celebrates after taking out the W35-39 hurdles final. Picture: Carly Laden
After swapping world records in the W70-74 hurdles earlier this year, Austria’s Marianne Maier and China’s Fuen Teng dead heat in the final. Picture Carly Laden.
Gold medallist Sweden’s Matius Sonneborn lands in the long jump pit just before heading off to run in the M45-49 400m which he finished first in 52.59. Picture: James Rodgers.