At the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Ireland's Rob Heffernan won Gold in the mens 50 km race walk. It's hard to stress what a major achievement this is. Many would consider Russia to be the home of race walking and for Rob to go there and take Gold is incredible.
POS ATHLETE COUNTRY MARK
1 Robert HEFFERNAN IRELAND IRL 3:37:56 WL
2 Mikhail RYZHOV RUSSIA RUS 3:38:58 PB
3 Jared TALLENT AUSTRALIA AUS 3:40:03 SB
4 Ihor HLAVAN UKRAINE UKR 3:40:39 PB
5 Matej TÓTH SLOVAK REPUBLIC SVK 3:41:07 SB
6 Grzegorz SUDOL POLAND POL 3:41:20 PB
7 Ivan NOSKOV RUSSIA RUS 3:41:36 PB
8 Lukasz NOWAK POLAND POL 3:43:38 SB
9 Takayuki TANII JAPAN JPN 3:44:26
10 Yohann DINIZ FRANCE FRA 3:45:18
By the way, if Rob had been just 3 seconds faster, he would have broken his own national record.
Race report from the IAAF...
Robert Heffernan cast aside a history of fourth-place finishes and broke a 30-year Irish men’s gold medal drought when he won the 50km Race Walk on Wednesday morning. The 35-year-old Irishman has finished one place outside the medals so often recently that he was given the nickname “Mr 4th” in one athletics publication. He was fourth in both the 20km and 50km walks at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona and again in the London Olympic 50km last year. Now, after coming out on top in a savage battle between 30km and 40km with Russia’s Mikhail Ryzhov, Heffernan has become “Mr Gold Medal”, and done so against some of the strongest opposition in the current home nation of race walking.
It is 30 years since Ireland won a men’s gold medal at the World Championships, 30 years indeed since it won a men’s medal of any colour. The last was when Eamonn Coghlan burst off the final bend to win the 5000m at the first World championships in Helsinki in 1983. The date – 14 August – the same date as the Moscow 50km Race Walk. Back then, Coghlan was able to pump his fists in celebration even before he had passed Soviet runner Dmitriy Dmitriyev. He knew he was going to win. In an even further coincidence, Coghlan was a well-known fourth-place finisher himself, having finished in that place behind John Walker in the 1976 Olympic 1500m final and again behind Miruts Yifter in the 1980 Olympic 5000m final.
Heffernan, too, could have celebrated before the end of his race. He virtually won the gold medal when he broke clear of Ryzhov coming up to the 40km mark. That surge was the culmination of a series of surges over the previous 10km as both men swapped the lead. Poland’s Grzgorz Sudol had led narrowly at 30km with Heffernan, Ryzhov and Ivan Noskov of Russia in close attendance. But soon afterwards it was a race in two between the Irishman and Ryzhov with the others dropping back. Ryzhov made what appeared to be his big effort at 35km and succeeded in putting some 10 metres between him and Heffernan. But the Irish walker had soon clawed his way back up and re-taken the lead. Similarly, Heffernan enjoyed a few mini-breaks as the pair fought back-and-forth.
The race had started in humid conditions after overnight rain. While the temperature remained moderate, the humidity also remained high throughout, making for trying conditions.
Video of Rob winning Gold...
Heffernan take Gold for Ireland...Daily Sport
Post race interview from the IAAF....
Highlights of the race from the Irish Times...
Interview of RTE Sport...
Post race interview with RTE radio...
Post race with Will Downing...
Brendan Boyce finishes 25th in a new personal best time...
25 Brendan BOYCE IRELAND IRL 3:54:24 PB