2011 World Champs/Daegu: Day 3, Session 2: Women's 400m: Amantle Montsho Takes Gold over Allyson Felix in Epic 400 m battle, by Larry Eder

Montsho_AmantleSF-World11.JPGAmantle Montsho, 2011 WC Champs, 400 meters women, gold medalist,
photo by PhotoRun.net

The 400 meters is a test of wills. The scientist will tell you that the average human can not run all out more than perhaps 250 meters, the well trained human perhaps 300 meters. The last 100 meters is not only a test of wills but proper energy conservation.

Felix_AllysonSF-World11.JPG Allyson Felix, 2011 WC 400 meters, silver medalist, photo by PhotoRun.net

To be an epic 400 meters, two competitors have to be matched well, and then, over the last fifty meters, one sees what the two competitors have; guts, endurance, luck, and more guts. When one sees a national record and two personal best, that race has to be pretty special.

The women's 400 meters was about eight runners lining up, and putting it all on the line. No false starts, No disqualifications, this race just came down to Amantle Montsho and Allyson Felix showing their best over the last very long, very challenging fifty meters.

In the end, Amantle Montsho set a national record and won the gold. Allyson Felix, pushing Montsho to the end, took the silver and set a personal best.

And it was a beautiful race....

When one comes down to the final hundred meters of a 400 meter race, where the competitors are pretty close in ability, there are, in those unique times, perhaps a chance for a great race. With Amantle Montsho and Allyson Felix, we witnessed such a race on Day three of the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, Korea.

By that time, Montsho and Felix were neck and neck. Francena McCorory was getting passed by Anastasiya Kapachinskaya of Russia, who would take the bronze. But Montsho and Felix knew it would come down to them for the battle for first place....

McCorory-Montsho-Felix1a-World11.jpgMcCorory, Montsho, Felix, WC 400m Final, photo by PhotoRun.net

As the runners came off the turn, Montsho had a small lead. Felix came up on her left and started pushing to get ahead. Montsho pushed back. She was not going to loose this one without a huge battle. And the battle was on....
McCorory, Montsho, Felix, WC 400m, Final, photo by PhotoRun.net

Felix is digging in, and pumping her arms. Montsho is fighting right back, keeping pretty good form. One can see the effort in both of their faces. Who will break? Who will give up first? The answer was neither of them. Montsho is holding on and Felix is doing the same. When is the time to lean, how to get that extra few inches? What separates the difference between gold and silver. How much will the difference be?

McCorory-Montsho-Felix-World11.JPG The final drive, McCorory, Montsho, Felix, WC 400 meters, Final,
photo by PhotoRun.net

The last fifty meters was what the race came down to. By then, it was just Amantle Montsho, she of those strong shoulders and huge stride, and Allyson Felix, she of those long, graceful strides and finishes that would edge her away from her competition.

Today, that was not to be. This might have been the most perfectly matched 400 meter battle,and today, it was Amantle Montsho who came out on top.

Felix_AllysonR1-World11.JPGA spent Felix, WC 400m, Final, photo by PhotoRun.net

Amantle Montsho of Botswana won the gold medal and set a national record doing it, running an fine 49.56 NR. Allyson Felix of the US, in the midst of competing in the 400 m and the 200m, took second in a pb of 49.59. Three hundredths separated the gold and silver medal!

In third place, Anastasiay Kapachinskaya of Russia ran 50.24. In fourth place, Francena McCorory of the US ran a fine 50.45. In sixth place, Antonina Krivoshapka of Russia ran 50.66. Sanya Richards-Ross, the defending champion, gave it her all and today she finished seventh, in 51.32. Novlene Williams-Mills of Jamaica finished eighth, running 52.89.

Felix-Montsho--World11.JPGFelix, Montsho, Kapachinskaya, 2011 WC 400m, photo by PhotoRun.net

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