Turkey’s Süreyya Ayhan, who was running for Europe here in Madrid, ran four times this year and won all four races with the same exceptional front running.
After consistent victories at the Eruopean Championships in Munich and the Van Damme and ISTAF Golden League meetings, the European champion was expected to set the pace and she did in style.
After the first 100 metres she was already 5-6 metres clear of the rest of the field. Her lead increased to 10 metres at the 200m and up to a good 50 metres after the first lap.
Ayhan reached the 400-metre mark in 1:00.53 and the 800m in 2:05.92 and never turned back.
Behind her, a compact pack of 8 runners was led by USA’s Regina Jacobs and Russia’s Tatyana Tomashova who would eventually battle for the remaining honours.
At the bell, reached in 2:55.95, Ayhan increased an already fast pace while the rest of the field was evidently waiting for the final sprint.
Ayhan’s winning time of 4:02.57 may have been her slowest of her season but her winning margin was the most impressive.
Tomashova, known for her devastating finishing kick, eventually finished second in 4:09.57 while Germany’s Kathleen Friedrich out kicked Jacobs in third 4:10.20 against 4:10.78 for the American.