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Rubenis Takes Triple Medals At World Champs

posted 9 Dec 2009, 13:02 by John Sanders
07-Aug-09 by Tino Dummett

Telford Athletics Club’s Richard Rubenis took home two gold medals and a bronze in the World Masters Athletics Championships in Lahti, Finland, last August.

The Telford track star began his cascade of medal-winning runs with a bronze medal in the 400m. Rubenis was previously a 100m sprinter but has moved up to 400m this year. In July he broke the British Masters Championship record for 400m with 49.87 seconds, coming away with the gold.

Representing Great Britain at the World Championships, he won his quarter- and semi-final rounds comfortably in 50.99 and 50.07.


The Final
“I was very nervous but when the gun went I just focused on what I needed to do”, said Rubenis after the race. “I knew I had a chance of a medal but I also knew I would probably have to run quicker than I had previously done this year. I can’t remember a lot from the final, apart from coming into the home straight I was battling for the silver medal, but with 30 metres to go I just lost touch of second and crossed the line in third place in a time of 49.43 seconds.

“I was so tired as I had given everything but I was over the moon as I knew I had became World bronze medallist. I was so happy to stand on the podium with a world medal around my neck.”


Gold for Great Britain
Telford Athletic Club had three top-class athletes at the World Championships, and in the 4x100m relay Rubenis teamed up with fellow Telford athlete Jim Tipper, a member of the 4x100m relay team which set the Masters world record in 2007. Being from a 100m background, Rubenis found himself at home on the sprint relay team and ran last leg for the British squad, who were hoping for a bronze medal. Rubenis got the baton in second place, but quickly overtook the leaders and was leading almost straight after taking the baton. During his leg the veteran sprinter raced ahead of the opposition to finish almost an entire second in front of the runners-up, in a time of 43.60.

Unlike in the 4x100m, in the 4x400m Great Britain was favourite for gold. It was a close race between the British and the Italian teams, but the Great Britain squad kept its composure and in the end just pulled ahead of Italy for the second gold relay medal. Their winning time, 3 minutes 22.71 seconds, broke the British Record by a massive 8 seconds.

Victorious
Leaving the World Championships a triple-medallist, Rubenis’s only race left this season will be the Telford Games on 12 September, where he enters the 100m and 200m in a showdown against fellow World gold-medallist Jim Tipper, who will also be in the same events at the Games. The seasoned sprinter can enter the offseason training with new vigour ahead of next year’s European Masters Championships in Hungary. “I was so happy- in one week I had become a World Bronze medallist and Double World Gold medallist plus a British record holder. Hearing your national anthem while standing on top of the podium is a feeling I’ll never forget.”
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