Athletics: Félix Sánchez turns back the clock in 400 metres hurdles
Some men know when it is their time. Félix Sánchez certainly does.
The Dominican Republic athlete won the gold medal in the men’s 400 metres hurdle at the 2004 Olympic Games in a time of 47.63seconds.
Eight years later, and after a career that had covered more up and downs than a Himalayan mountain guide, the 34-year-old won the title again in 47.63.
Dai Greene, the world champion from Great Britain, was trying to go out hard from lane three but the lack of preparation that came from an early season blighted by injury was holding him back as he saw Sánchez, American Angelo Taylor and Javier Culson of Puerto Rico ahead of him.
Taylor, the defending champion, was struggling from the top of the home straight and it was compatriot Michael Tinsley who cane through late to snatch silver from Coulson, with Greene finishing fourth.
Sánchez was world champion in 2001 and 2003, when unbeaten in 43 successive races between 2001 and 2004, but his career appeared to be tailing off despite winning silver medals at the 2009 and 2011 world championships.
The only shock of the men’s 400m final was that, for the first time in living memory, there were no Americans in the line-up. But there was no surprise when Kirani James, the reigning world champion, won Grenada its first Olympic Gold medal. The time of 43.94 still leaves James with some work to do if he is ever to have Michael Johnson’s 13-year-old world record of 43.18 in his sights.
Perri Shakes-Drayton can see the Olympic Stadium from her home in Bow and she can see still see a medal after qualifying for the final of the women’s 400m hurdles on Wednesday.
Shakes-Drayton, running in lane seven of the second heat, went out hard in the first 200m and was third coming off the bend. But she could not keep pace with Lashinda Demus, of the United States, and Kaliese Spencer, of Jamaica, as she finished third in 55.19 which was slower than she had clocked in the previous round.
That left her with the hope of making through as a fastest loser but was run out of that when both the Czech Republic’s Denisa Rosolova (54.87) and Ukrainian Hanna Titimets (55.10) both ran faster times to finish third and fourth in the final heat in which Britain’s Eilidh Child finished fifth. But then both Rosolova and Titimets were disqualified for running out of lane and Shakes-Drayton could be described as one of the luckiest losers.
There was no fortune needed byYuliya Zaripova won gold in the women's 3,000m steeplechase, clocking a new personal best of 9miniutes 06.72seconds. The Russian was an impressive winner, beating Tunisia's Habiba Ghribi and Ethiopian Sofia Assefa.
After Greg Rutherford’s gold medal in the men’s long jump, and the possibility of medals in other field events, there but Holly Bleasdale’s challenge for the women’s pole vault looked to be falling apart with two failures at 4.45 metres and, even when she cleared that, there were three more failures at 4.55m.
Bleasdale is very much a work in progress. That sometimes requires a backward step as part of the journey but the 20-year-old - who broke the British world record for indoor pole vault last year and took the outdoor record in the Olympic trials this year - will be back.
Jennifer Suhr, from the United States, won the gold, clearing 4.75m, on countback from Cuba's Yarisley Silva, whose early first failure at 4.45 proved so costly, while the bronze went to former champion Elena Isinbaeva who made 4.70.
There was a surprise result in the women’s shot put when Belarus' Nadzeya Ostapchuk won with 21.36m, taking the title from New Zealand's Valerie Adams, who had to settle for silver in 20.70m, with Russian Evgeniia Kolodko third with 20.48m.
Today at the Games
Great Britain win gold in team show jumping
Kenny sprints to gold medal as Pendleton powers on
Anthony Joshua shows his mettle to earn medal
Brabants just makes it into final
China's Xu Lijia pips rivals to Laser Radial gold
Japan to play the United States in Olympic final
GB women make hockey semi-finals
Join us on Facebook
Follow our Bettor Olympics updates on twitter
Belarusian shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk has been stripped of her Olympic gold medal after failing a doping test.
Anthony Joshua could be the next big man in British boxing after he won the super-heavyweight title gold medal.
Samantha Murray secured Great Britain's 65th medal of London 2012 with yet another unlikely resurgence to claim silver.