Putin puts in medal request
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.
Dmitri Tarabin celebrates winning bronze in the javelin final on Saturday.