Russian Borzakovskiy wins 800 at Europeans
By RAF CASERT,
Updated June 29, 2012
HELSINKI (AP) Eight years after his Olympic title, Yuriy Borzakovskiy finally won another major race when he came from behind in the 800 meters at the European Championships on Friday.
The 31-year-old Russian needed a slow race and got it, lying back for most of the race before proving he still had that old finishing kick. He timed 1 minute, 48.61 seconds, more than 6 seconds off his best.
Andreas Bube of Denmark crossed 0.06 seconds later, and Pierre Ambroise Bosse of France got bronze.
Borzakovskiy won gold at the 2004 Athens Games, but the closest he got to a major title since was finishing second at the 2005 world championships in Helsinki.
Another veteran also had a major breakthrough.
Shot-putter Nadine Kleinert of Germany won her first major title at 36, beating Irina Tarasova of Russia and Chiara Rosa of Italy. Kleinert had won three world silvers before.
In the steeplechase, defending champion Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad was threatened until the final hurdle in a slow race, but at that point, Spain's Victor Garcia crashed, allowing the Frenchman to coast to gold. Garcia quickly got up again and was only passed by Tarik Langat Akdag before ending up with bronze.
Ivet Lalova of Bulgaria cruised into the 200 semifinals to stay on track for a sprint double.
Lalova won the 100 late Thursday and took it easy in the heats during her third straight day of competition. She finished third in her heat with a slow time of 23.58 seconds, knowing the top four of each heat automatically advance into the semifinals later Friday.
On a day featuring 12 finals, defending champ Betty Heidler failed to make the final of the hammer throw, a major setback on the road to the Olympics.
She finished ninth in her group and outside the top 12 overall.
Heidler, who won the 2007 world title and was runner-up in 2009, is considered a gold-medal contender for the London Games.