13 MAY 2012 General News Saransk

Kirdyapkin praises wife's invaluable support after snatching gold in Saransk

Winner of the 50km Race Walk in Saransk, Sergey Kidyapkin during the post event interviews (IAAF)Winner of the 50km Race Walk in Saransk, Sergey Kidyapkin during the post event interviews (IAAF) © Copyright
The men’s winner of the 50km insisted he walked two races in the same day.

Sergey Kirdyapkin not only triumphed in the 50km but suffered every step of the way on behalf of his wife in the women’s 20km.

Anisya didn’t quite live up to the expectations of Team Russia, but her husband still saw her as a star.

"We share the same schedule, regime and coach," he said. "She gives me invaluable support during difficult moments and through tears and blood."

For all that, Kirdyapkin who adds gold at the World Cup to World Championship golds is looking forward to a less torrid time at the Olympic Games in London

"It is important for me to have qualified," he added. "I am looking forward to maybe kinder weather conditions too."

The moment that sealed gold in the winner’s mind came at the last turn when he was hard on the heels of Igor Erokhin.

"I passed the Chemical University of Saransk of which I am a graduate," he explained. "I decided I was going to pass Igor and win gold at the same time.

"It was a great responsibility to race in front of friends, family and teachers, and it is the first time I have raced in Saransk.

"Victor (Chegin), our coach told us to slow down and follow our pace plan and I listened to him and won."

Team-mate Erokhin missed out by two seconds on gold, but felt he had finally arrived among the big boys.

He said: "I have little experience, but I do not feel different or part of an elite group, I feel like I am still on course to be good at 50km."

Jared Tallent picked up a second bronze to go with the first he won in 2010, and like Kirdyapkin owed a debt of gratitude to his wife, who for all Claire’s support, got a mild chiding for the volume of her encouragement.

"I whispered to my wife, who was still asleep when I left this morning, that I would bring her gold but I couldn’t quite manage it.

"She’s a huge inspiration for me and I couldn’t do it without her, but I wished she wouldn’t shout so loudly when I was racing so that she could focus on her own preparation."

Paul Warburton for the IAAF