Polish 4x400m quartets have produced great performances and memorable upsets at recent championships, but none more so than tonight when their team triumphed in the inaugural 4x400m mixed relay on Saturday (31), breaking their European record with 3: 09.87 in process.
The Poles qualified fastest from the qualifiers with a European record of 3:10.44, but the United States, who were initially disqualified from the qualifiers but later reinstated, improved their team for the final and European indoor champion Femke Bol was a surprise. and the last-minute inclusion in a Dutch team with strong medal ambitions.
Reading: 4×400 mixed relay poland
along with the dominican republic, whose star runner marileidy paulino ran a scorching 48.7 in the second leg to put the caribbean nation in contention for the medal, these four teams were in a close title fight in the final leg and for the opportunity to become the first Olympic champion in the most recent event in the athletics program.
Dutch anchor runner angela ramsey edged out his Dominican counterpart with 200 meters remaining, but was followed by taller katejan duszynski who had anchored the poles to victory in yesterday’s heats.
duszynski only has a modest record of 45.51 in the individual 400m, but the 26-year-old looks like a transformed athlete in the mixed relay.
after dropping to 44.74 yesterday, duszynski powered up to 44.38 to pass the grueling dutch runner and hold off the united states and dominican republic in one of the great triumphs of polish athletics in recent years. Poles are used to winning world titles in the heavy throws, but their last Olympic title on the track dates back to Moscow in 1980, when Bronislaw Malinowski won the 3000m steeplechase title.
“In the last 150 meters I felt like I still had a lot of strength,” said dusynski. “I’m that kind of endurance athlete. My strength is running the first 200 meters slowly and then attacking towards the finish line. So I knew I could do it. It’s my strategy and it worked for me.”
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his team was led by the experienced karol zalewski, who was part of the world record breaking poland team at the 2018 world indoor championships in birmingham, who posted a solid 45.1 to put the polish team in contention for the title.
Team junior Natalia Kaczmarek swept a 49.9 split in the second leg before her star runner and relay stalwart Justyna Swiety-Ersetic, who was an injury doubt for the Olympics due to a torn quadriceps, ran 50.47 in the third leg before handing over to duszynski safely.
In a celebration more likely to be seen on the football field than the running track, Duszynski celebrated by pulling his jersey over his face before collapsing to the ground on all fours, overcome with emotion and exhaustion.
Behind poland, the dominican republic edged out the united states for a stunning silver medal – 3:10.21 to 3:10.22. the Dutch missed out on the medals although their time of 3:10.36 represented another national record. Belgium finished fifth, also revising her national record with 3:11.51.
The Belgians were anchored by the ever-reliable Kevin Borlee, whose split of 44.21 was the fastest in the final.
stahl and pettersson secure a Swedish double on the puck
There were also memorable celebrations in the discus final as training partners Daniel Stahl and Simon Pettersson celebrated gold and silver, Sweden’s first double in the athletics program since the 1948 London Olympics.
After Stahl left the ring for the last time, Pettersson lifted the significant figure of his training partner and friend off the ground before donning the distinctive blue and yellow Swedish flag and celebrating with a sparse but excited crowd of spectators. inside the tokyo olympic stadium.
On a virtually windless night in the Japanese capital, Stahl was still threatening the 70-meter line in the final. his second round throw of 68.90m took the lead and did not appear to be in any danger of being dislodged.
pettersson has the rare distinction of having beaten stahl in recent seasons, and while a repeat of that domestic upset in vaxjo in late May seemed unlikely, the likelihood of a Swedish double increased as he moved up to the position of silver medal. ahead of Austrian lukas weisshaidinger with his fifth-round shot of 67.39m.
The medal standings did not change in the sixth round and Stahl, who started as the overwhelming favorite going into the competition, lived up to expectations, adding the Olympic gold medal to his 2019 world title and his European silver medal. of 2018. “There was a lot of hard work and fun along the way. I’m extremely proud,” he said.
“my training partner, simon, has been working hard,” stahl said. “I am also very proud of our coach (vesteinn hafsteinsson) for believing in us and having faith.”
Already a bronze medalist at the European Championships and World Championships, Weisshaidinger secured a continental medal sweep with another significant bronze medal with 67.07m. australia’s matt denny came a tantalizing two inches from this distance in round six at 67.02m.
The tallest thrower in the lineup, European Under-23 Champion Kristjan Ceh of Slovenia was a creditable fifth place finisher on his Olympic debut at 66.37m, while Lithuanian Andrius Gudzius failed to add an Olympic medal to his career. world and European titles, finishing sixth with 64.11m.