Ostapchuk Gets It Right
At the third time of asking Nadezhda Ostapchuk BLR got it right and carried off her first gold from a major championships. A dominant junior in the nineties she had missed out in both Paris (silver) and the Olympics (4th) but this time there was to be no mistake as she was the only one to breach the 20-metre mark, finishing the job off with a demonstration 20.51 in the last throw of the competition. Silver was claimed by Olga Ryabinkina RUS in 19.64 with Valerie Vili NZL, claiming her first major medal just two centimetres down.
“I didn’t feel any pressure coming here,” said Ostapchuk. “Already during warm-up I had a feeling that everything is going to be OK. With my first throw I got the season’s second best result and I was pretty sure that the others would not be able to beat it. I was aiming at 21 metres but it was too cold for that.”
She may have failed in the big ones so far, but it did not show as Ostapchuk stepped up to the circle at the first time of asking and laid down a 20m30cm marker. It seemed to make the rest freeze as the best anyone could do with their first opportunity was an 18.37 from Olympic champion Yumileidi Cumba CUB.
But shot putting is all about finding the range and round two saw her rivals settling down. The most durable putter of them all, seven-time finalist Krivelyova, went into silver with 18.47 only to be trumped by a 19.34 from Russian champion Ryabinkina who increased to 19.64 to secure her medal. “Before the competition I thought I would be third,” said Ryabinkina. “The silver was therefore a positive surprise.”
Former world junior champion Vili, who had led the qualifiers with a personal best 19.87, was well below her form of the previous day and making clear signs of frustration to her coach. But in round three she was to slip into a bronze medal position with 19.62 with a throw that dislodged Olympic silver Nadine Kleinert GER. The German had gone over 20m for the first time last month but was finding it hard to reproduce that form.
It was then just a question of whether anyone could mix it with the medallists. But it was not to be, as one lacklustre attempt after another failed to change the order. Vili became only the second New Zealander to win a medal in these championships after discus thrower Beatrice Faumuina claimed gold in 1997.