News26 Jul 2013

30 years on


Jarmila Kratochvilova

The IAAF World Championships in Moscow next month will see plenty of celebrations for the 30th anniversary for one of the world’s leading sports event.

The first IAAF World Championships took place in the Finnish capital of Helsinki between 7-14 August 1983 and this year’s championships takes place almost exactly at the same point on the calendar, between 10-18 August.

However, another important 30th birthday is celebrated today (26).

It was 30 years ago, in the German city of Munich, that Czech runner Jarmila Kratochvilova ran 800m in 1:53.28.

Since 4 June 2011, it has been the oldest official IAAF World record and the standard has withstood assaults from a whole host of talented athletes since Kratochvilova performed her feat.

Led by the German pacemaker Petra Kleinbrahm to 400m, Kratochvilova completed her first lap in 56.1 and kept on flying around Munich’s Olympic Stadium without anyone for company.

Her nearest rival, Poland’s Jolanta Januchta, was more than seven seconds in arrears.

The closest anyone has come to the time in the last three decades was when Kenya’s 2008 Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo clocked 1:54.01 in Zurich just two weeks after her Beijing triumph.

Kratochvilova, running in the vest of the former Czechoslovakia, went on to win an unprecedented 400m and 800m double barely a month later at those inaugural World Championships, an occasion memorable for victories by many other legends of the sport such as Carl Lewis and Sergey Bubka.

In the shorter event, she became the first woman to run under 48 seconds when she ran a World record of 47.99, which was to remain unbeaten for just over two years until her great rival Marita Koch clocked 47.60.

Now 62, Kratochvilova is still a familiar face at Czech athletics meetings and has been part of their national team management for many years after retirement.


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