2013 World Outdoor Track & Field Championships / Moscow Notebook, WC Mixed Zone Chatter, Athletes Share Candid Thoughts As Championships Winds Down by Dave Hunter

Murielle Ahoure, Blessing Okagbare, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 
100 meters, photo by PhotoRun.net

David Hunter spent a lot of time in the mixed zone, here is his second column from there.....

2013 World Outdoor Track & Field Championships / Moscow Notebook

WC Mixed Zone Chatter
Athletes Share Candid Thoughts As Championships Winds Down

August 18, 2013
Moscow, Russia

The closing weekend of the 14th IAAF World Outdoor Track & Field Championships is a frenzied time as athletes work to keep their focus intact for the final competitions and prepare to say goodbye to their fellow competitors and this incredible and historic city.  Always a source of direct information, the mixed zone has continued to provide a steady stream of insight, reflection, and predictions as the world championships come to an end.

Dave_Hunter_Right_On_Track.pngHere is a sampling over these final days:

Dave Johnson, Director of the Penn Relay Carnival, on why USA w4 x 400 anchor Francena McCorory - placed in lane two - could not switch positions with the Russian anchor to take the baton from her incoming teammate Ashley Spencer in lane one:  "International rules provide that once outgoing relay runners are placed in their exchange zone lane order, switching is not permitted."

Ryan Whiting, mSP silver medalist:  "I qualified the way I wanted to.  My first throw [in the finals] was exactly what I wanted.  I just didn't improve."  On the provocative reversal by the officials of what proved to be the winning throw as prompted by an examination of a media photograph:  "I've got no excuses.  I should have beaten him [German gold medalist David Storl] - foul or not.  I'll just learn from it and move on."

Murielle Ahoure, w100 and w200 silver medalist, on her performance here:  "My first world championships ever. Two silver medals.  My country is like on fire right now.  Everyone's screaming in the streets.  I'm extremely pleased."  In the w200 final, did she feel Okagbare in the final meters?  "Yes.  That's why I dipped," she laughs.

Blessing Okagbare, w200 bronze medalist:  "I am glad to get on the podium.  I am really happy about that."

Molly Huddle, 6th place finisher - no American has finished higher - in the w5000:  "Going in my goal was to finish 6th or 7th and I was 6th.  I am realizing how hard it is to break into the top 6.  This one of the hardest efforts I've had in a long time."  The increased tempo over the final 2K:  ""I anticipate it every time in the championship.  But when you get in there, it feels so hard.  I am usually stuck in no-man's land, so Shannon [Rowbury] and I were trying to bridge the gap.  I think that was the big difference for me this year - to have someone to key off of."  What's it going to take to take that next step up on the world stage?  "If I knew, I'd do it.  I'm trying as hard as I can to break into the top three.  The last 2K is just another world out there.  Today was just a big step for me.  That's been in me the last three years; I just didn't have the fresh legs before."

Shannon Rowbury, 7th place finisher in the w5000:  How do American women distance runners elevate their game?  "I think in the 1500 we're there.  So that's pretty good.  I think just getting out there and not being afraid to mix it up with the top girls.  I felt in the race today I wanted to go there when the separation occurred.  I thought of covering it, but I kinda hesitated because I don't know where my 5K fitness level is.  In retrospect, I wish I had gone with it and just seen what I could have done.  But hopefully next time around, I will have done the training for that."  Her better event - the 1500 or the 5000?  "I feel like I have a lot of work to do in the 5K, but there is a lot of potential there, too.  Most of  my training has been 1500-specific with strength work to get me ready for the rounds.  But I haven't done a ton of 5K-specific training.  The women that beat me out there have 14:10 - 14:20 PR's.  If I want to be a contender with them, I need to get my PR a lot quicker and I'm just going to have to do my training for that."

Queen Harrison, ran 12.73 to place 5th in the 100H:  Her take on the final;  "I actually got a pretty good start.  Being out in lane 2, it is hard to feel what is going on.  I was forced to run  my own race.  I went out and competed the best way that I could.  And I'm proud of myself.  I have never made it to an international championship final in the 100H.  This is just the beginning.  This is just the first year of taking the 100H  a hundred percentage seriously.  5th?  I can take that.  Of course, it would have been better to be on the podium, but I'll take that."  Is the 100H the direction as opposed to the 400H?  "Not necessarily.  I have a lot more years in my career. But I've showed that I can do both of them successfully.  It just depend which one I like better and can do better.  I'll likely experiment with both next year.  Since there is no championship meets around next year, it will just be a "Dash For The Cash" so I'll be in all of the meets next year." When asked facetiously if she might experiment with the steeplechase, Queen quickly retorts, "Um, no!"  

Christine Ohuruogu, w400 gold medalist on anchoring the Great Britain women to a 3rd place finish in the w4 x 400 relay:  "I am happy that I have a bronze [from the relay], but I am happier for them [her teammates] that they have a bronze."

Brigetta Barrett, silver medalist in the wHJ:  "You have to take the good with the bad.  I am really honored to do so well."  On her peculiar third attempt at 2.03m where she never truly jumped but careened through the bar plane for a third foul: "I  was very aggressive into it, but I lost control in the last four steps and couldn't recover."

May all athletes from all nations perform well during this final day, travel safely back to their home countries, and train effectively for the next world championships - the 15th meeting in 2015 in Beijing.  

~Dave Hunter

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