PARIS 2011 - European Athletics Indoor Championships
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Sunday, March 06, 2011

Women's 800m

Zinurova plunders more Russian gold

Yevgeniya Zinurova produced a tactical masterpiece to earn Russia a fourth successive gold medal in this event in a breathless final.
Zinurova came from sixth and last at 400m to time her run to perfection and grab the title in 2:00.19. Great Britain’s Jenny Meadows, the long-time leader, added another medal to her cache to take silver in 2:00.50 with the European leader and pre-event favourite Yuliya Rusanova of Russia having to settle for bronze in 2:00.90.
For Zinurova, who finished runner-up behind Rusanova in the Russian Indoor Championships, it was a great reward. She has finished sixth in the final of the 2010 World Indoor Championships and she has twice been involved in world indoor 4x800m records but this was the unquestionable highlight of her career.   
The gold medallist said: “Everything in the race was just like we planned it. My coach (Svetlana Pleskach-Styrkina who finished fifth in the 1976 Olympic 800m final) told me before the final that I am the best and I can win. When I was standing on the start line and I heard the bell I remembered that and speeded up. I had enough energy to go even faster, but the plan was the save energy for the last lap. I am happy my coach was right.”
Meadows, who claimed Great Britain’s first medal in the event for 21 years, said: “The tactic was to be in front and I wasn’t aware what was going on behind. Even though I’m disappointed I didn’t disgrace myself, I did a lot of work before this competition and I am happy to have won a silver medal.” 
It was a memorable race inside a passionate Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy as the six finalists, which included Linda Marguet of France, set out in pursuit of glory.
Meadows immediately hit the front tracked by Egle Balciunaite of Lithuania with Marilyn Okoro, the second Briton in third. The order of the first three remained largely unchanged as Meadows passed halfway in a swift 58.27.
In the important third lap Meadows started to stretch the field and Rusanova and Zinurova started to stir into life from towards the back of the field. At the bell Meadows held a clear five-metre lead from Okoro with Zinurova taking close order.
On the penultimate curve the eventual gold medallist kicked past Okoro and set off in pursuit of Meadows whose stride was noticeably shortening. Around the final turn Zinurova loomed on the Briton’s shoulder while Rusanova had ghosted into third.
The Russian then pounced down the home straight to sweep past the long time leader and sprint home to take gold. Meadows, who won World Indoor silver last year and also has European and World outdoor bronze medals, clung on for the silver with Rusanova taking bronze.
Marguet of France had to settle for the frustration of fourth in 2:01.61. Okoro took fifth in 2:02.46 with Balciuniate sixth (2:04.86).


Video for the nomination