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Former 400 m runner takes European gold at 800 m


Olga Kotlyarova is the new 800 m European Champion.
© Photo Run / Jiro Mochizuki

Two years ago Olga Kotlyarova, then a 400 m runner, tried to compete at double the distance. Just in jest she ran a world-class time of 1:57.96 minutes at her first attempt. Now the 30 year-old Russian is the European 800 metre Champion. She won the final in Gothenburg in 1:57.38. It was her first serious 800 m season. The silver medal was won by her countrywoman Swetlana Klyuka (1:57.48), and the third place was taken by Britain’s Rebecca Lyne clocking 1:58.45.

„This is the biggest achievement of my career,“ said Olga Kotlyarowa after her victory. It had been her two countrywomen Swetlana Klyuka and Swetlana Cherkasowa, who were leading the race and passed the 400 metres in fast 57.37 seconds. Close behind them Rebecca Lyne was running, followed by the latter winner. While Cherkasowa fell back to the last place, Klyuka looked like the certain winner. But on the last few metres Kotlyarowa passed her and won gold. “Because of my 400 metre background I have enough speed at the end of the race,“ said the winner, who was also talking about the world record: “Why not, I am fast enough. But I have to train a lot and need to learn more in the 800 m”. The 23 year-old world record of Jarmila Kratochvilova (Czech Republic/1:53,28 minutes) seems far away – and may be unreachable.

Behind both Russians the fight for bronze was not less exciting. Rebecca Lyne fell back at first and it looked like as if Tetyana Petlyuk (Ucraine) would win this medal. But the Lyne  came back strongly on the home straight and snatched the bronze. „Bronze medal – that sounds really good. If somebody had told me earlier in the season that I would win a medal here, I would have told him that he is crazy. Steve Cram gave me a lot of advises, that was fantastic,“ said Rebecca Lyne. The former British world-class runner had called the 24 year-old on the afternoon prior to the final.

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