The Sunday Mail (Queensland)
Walker makes big splash with podium hat-trick
JARED Tallent had a smile on his face as he stood proudly on a “clean podium” after winning his third consecutive major championships silver medal.
For the first time the Australian walker believes he was beaten by a better man on the day, not a drug cheat.
Tallent, who has led the backlash against Russia’s systematic doping regimen under head coach Viktor Chegin, finished second behind Slovakia’s Matej Toth in the 50km event.
“It’s not the gold I wanted, but to be beaten by Matej, I know he’s a clean athlete so it’s not a bad result,” he said. “So it’s the first time in a long time in the 50K we’ve had a clean podium.
“It has been a really good week for the sport, actually.
‘‘I’d hope to think that every athlete who has won a medal has worked hard for it and it’s a good positive sign in 2015 that things are starting to change.’’
Tallent won bronze two years ago at the Moscow world championships and was uncomfortable as he stood alongside Russian Mikhail Ryzhov, who had won the silver medal.
“He trained under Chegin so you had no doubt and he has just tested positive to EPO,” he said.
Tallent has finished second at the past two Olympic Games and hopes to be named gold medallist from London 2012 given Russian Sergey Kirdyapkin has since been exposed as a drug cheat.
Tallent made his career breakthrough at Beijing 2008, taking the Olympic silver medal behind Italian Alex Schwazer, who was later caught doping.
Tallent has already said he will not be competing at next year’s world race walking championships, which is the key lead-up event to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, because it is being held in Russia.
“(Russia) is a disgrace,” he said. ‘‘Why would any clean athlete want to go to Russia and compete in a World Cup?”
Meanwhile, Victorian teenager Eleanor Patterson is the eighth best high-jumper on the planet.
The 19-year-old continued her remarkable rise last night, again showing she loves the big stage by mixing it with the world’s best.
She went agonisingly close to being in the medals mix, with a slight brush on her third attempt at 1.95m resulting in her departing the competition.
Patterson, whose personal best is 1.96m, was easily the youngest jumper in the field and is the youngest Australian to make a final at the world championships.