Putin puts in medal re­quest

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Moscow

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin is a noted sports en­thu­si­ast, but he took it to ex­tra­or­di­nary lengths on Satur­day prior to the men’s javelin fi­nal at the world ath­let­ics cham­pi­onships.

Moldova-born 21-yearold Dmitri Tara­bin, who was granted Rus­sian cit­i­zen­ship in June 2010, was al­ready ner­vous enough pre­par­ing to com­pete in front of an ex­pec­tant crowd at Luzh­niki Sta­dium in Moscow.

How­ever, it was noth­ing com­pared to how he felt when the phone rang a few hours be­fore the fi­nal.

“I re­ceived a call three hours be­fore the fi­nal from Pres­i­dent Putin,” said a slightly shocked Tara­bin.

“He said he be­lieved in us (Tara­bin and his wife Mariya Abaku­mova, the de­fend­ing women’s world javelin cham­pion) and ex­pected medals from us.

“Be­fore the last at­tempt I was think­ing that he might be watch­ing and wait­ing for a medal.”

Tara­bin did not dis­ap­point Putin, pro­duc­ing his best throw of the fi­nal (86.23m) to take bronze.

He was some way off the win­ner, Vite­zlav Ve­sely of the Czech Repub­lic, at 87.17m.

The pres­sure now switches to 27-year-old Abaku­mova, the 2008 Olympic sil­ver medal­ist, to re­peat or bet­ter her hus­band’s show­ing in Sun­day’s women’s fi­nal.

Putin, who made a speech at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the cham­pi­onships, likes to pro­mote his own fit­ness, of­ten ap­pear­ing shirt­less in front of the massed cam­eras of sports me­dia.

MAXIM SHEMETOV / REUTERS

Dmitri Tara­bin cel­e­brates win­ning bronze in the javelin fi­nal on Satur­day.

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