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Heffernan finishes fifth in Beijing
29 Aug 2015 12:12
Rob Heffernan finished in fifth place in the men’s 50km walk at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing.
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Heffernan who came into the event as the defending champion, was never able to catch up with Slovakia’s Matej Toth who took the gold after making an early break and finished in a time of 3.40.32 .
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Toth hit the front almost immediately and while Heffernan helped to lead the chasing pack, the Slovakian only extended his lead at the race progressed.
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Australia's Jared Tallent emerged as the most likely contender to challenge Toth's dominance as the race progressed and he would claim the silver medal, with Takayuki Tanii's in third.
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Hirooki Arai finished fourth, just ahead of Heffernan, who did manage a season's best time of 3.44.17.
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Ireland's Brendan Boyce was disqualified in the closing stages after picking up a third red card while Alex Wright was forced to retire injured.
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Despite losing his crown, Heffernan was upbeat afterwards and felt that his performance was as good as his gold medal winning race in Moscow two years ago.
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The Leesider has suffered with a hernia injury of late and was happy to put that behind him with this display.
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"Considering all of the problems I’ve had this year, it’s as good as winning in Moscow. It’s very positive,” he said.
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"I didn’t know what was going to happen after 40km. It’s a huge platform for me for next year, not to be 100% and still finish fifth. In a lot of the race, I felt well within myself but missing those few little blocks of training cost.
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"I’ve no doubt I’ll be back next year and back to where I belong."
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Elsewhere Ireland's men’s 4x400m relay team bowed out at the semi-final stage, despite setting a new national record.
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The Irish quartet of Thomas Barr, Mark English, Brian Gregan and Brian Murphy finished eighth in a time of 3.01.26.
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