Report

London 2012 - Event Report - Women's 800m Final

 Gold Medal for Mariya Savinova of Russia as she crosses the finish line  in the Women's 800m Final of the London 2012 Olympic Games on 11 August 2012 (Getty Images) Gold Medal for Mariya Savinova of Russia as she crosses the finish line in the Women's 800m Final of the London 2012 Olympic Games on 11 August 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Running a perfect race and denying Kenya's Pamela Jelimo a second successive victory, Mariya Savinova comfortably added the Olympic 800m gold medal to the World Championships title she claimed in Daegu a year.

Savinova clocked a season's best 1:56.19, well ahead of the fast finishing Caster Semenya who also ran her quickest time of the year of 1:57.23 with the winner's Russian teammate Yekaterina Poistogova third in a lifetime fastest 1:57.53.

Savinova, punching her arm into the sky after the victory and finding it difficult to describe the occasion, said, "It's just amazing. Right now I can't feel anything, but I'm amazed. It's been hard work, but it's the Olympics."

Semenya, after a tough season where she initially struggled to attain the qualifying standard, said: I'm very happy to win silver I've been waiting all year for this. The last few years have not been easy."

The 2009 World champion and runner up behind Savinova in Daegu, revealed: "The body was not really on fire today, and I had to fight to the end. (But) she's a really good athlete and very competitive."

Semenya, 21, who carried the South African flag at the opening ceremony added of her speedy finish, "The race was very fast. It doesn't matter if you are at the back or the front, it matters how you finish the race."

Jelimo, a spent force, followed the trio home in 1:57.59 a marginal 0.34sec in front of USA champion Alysia Johnson Montano with a third Russian Yelena Arzhakova winner of this summer's European crown, finishing sixth with 1:59.21.

"I knew the Russians were very strong," said Jelimo, unable to hold down her lead after hitting the straightway. " What can you do? You have to accept that sometimes you are at the top and sometimes you are not."

Poistogova, like Savinova struggling to come to terms with her achievement, said: "I can't believe it. There's very overwhelming support out there. You feel the cheers, it makes you want to do your best. The fact that I have won the bronze, they must be crying at home."

Savinova's perfect tactics saw her sitting in the pack over the first lap in fourth position where Johnson Montano with her predictable front running style went through the bell in 56.31 followed by the Kenyan pair of Janeth Jepkosgei and Jelimo.

Then Jelimo moving into an attacking position made a long run for home from 300m but it was not decisive and easily covered by her rivals, particularly Savinova who transited into second position just after 600m was passed in 1:25.89.

A speedy dash around the final bend ensued before moving into the home straight, when Savinova with 80 metros remaining, easily moved ahead of Jelimo while Poistogova also flew past the tiring defending champion and looked to have the silver medal tied up.

But she hadn't reckoned on the finishing speed of Semenya who repeating the display she produced in the semi final, shifted up an extra supercharged gear and brilliantly closed her rival down to take second by a narrow margin.

David Martin for the IAAF