Jared Tallent (Vic) has lived up to his status as one of the best ever, winning SILVER in the men’s 50km walk at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing (CHN) today.
Adding a third world championship medal to the two bronze he won in the same event at Daegu 2011 and Moscow 2013, Tallent’s outstanding international resume also includes another eight medals across the Olympic Games (three medals), the Commonwealth Games (two) and the IAAF World Race Walking Cup (three medals).
Tallent looked comfortable from the outset today, sitting among the leaders from the sound of the gun until he crossed the finish line in the Bird’s Nest in a time of 3:41:17.
As the eventual winner Matej Toth (SVK, first, 3:40:32) broke away at the five-kilometre mark, Tallent took command of the chase pack leading them through multiple surges towards the leader during the course of the race.
The 30-year-old passed the half way mark alongside the defending world champion Robert Heffernan (IRL, fifth, 3:44:17) and a pair of Japanese athletes in Tatayuki Tanii (JPN, third, 3:42:55) and Hirooki Arai (JPN, fourth, 3:43:44). However, as the group moved through forty kilometres, Tallent put his foot down to move into clear second. It was a position he would never relinquish.
Entering the stadium with a jubilant smile across his face, Tallent crossed in second place to match the result he achieved at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games seven years ago, with the bronze won by Tanii.
“It was brutal out there today, but I am very happy with the result. Matej was always going to be very hard to beat, he walked 3:34 earlier in the year. I’ve trained with him, I know hard he works so when he went away early I didn’t want to chase too hard because, I guess, I didn’t want to blow up and fade,” Tallent said.
“I had a very strong last ten kilometres. I was hoping he might struggle a bit and I could close the gap but it wasn’t to be. I’m stoked. To come back to the Bird’s Nest and walk away with another silver is pretty good. It’s not the gold that I wanted, but I’m proud of the result that I have.”
Tallent was joined on the start line today by Chris Erickson (Vic), with the Commonwealth Games medallist crossing 13th in a time of 3:51:26. The performance is Erickson’s best ever result at a major international championships and bodes well as he continues his preparation for the longest event on the athletics schedule at the 2016 Olympic Games.
“I was tenth at the walking cup, but the world championships is another level. I was 16th in Moscow so I have improved on that and I hung tough in that last 10 kilometres, having a bit of a race with the Chinese athlete, and it was great to come past him in the last lap,” Erickson said.
Australia also lined up in the heats of the women’s 4x400m relay this morning. With a starting line-up, in running order, of Anneliese Rubie (NSW), Jess Gulli (NSW), Lauren Wells (ACT) and Morgan Mitchell (Vic), the team ran a season best time of 3:28.61 to cross sixth in heat one.
The team did not progress to the final, but on the back of their top-eight performance at the IAAF World Relays earlier this year, the team have already earned their nomination for selection to compete at Rio 2016.
The Commonwealth champion Eleanor Patterson (Vic) headlines Australian Flame action tonight, starting in the final of the women’s high jump. In the men’s discus final Benn Harradine (Qld) and Julian Wruck (Qld) will both compete.
Allan Cook (Vic), Gianna Mogentale (NSW) and Julie Forster (NSW) will start in exhibition masters event, with the trio competing in the men’s 800m and the women’s 400m respectively.
For more information on the IAAF World Championships, including results and entry lists, please click here to visit iaaf.org.
For more information on the Australian Flame, including the team media guide, please click here to visit athletics.com.au.
For information about the Australian broadcast of the IAAF World Championships, please click here to visit athletics.com.au/broadcast.