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1983 World Championships in Athletics Helsinki, Finland

1983 1st IAAF World Championships - Helsinki - Women's 1500m



Host City: Helsinki, Finland Format: First round (First 3 & 3 fastest to final) (Aug 12)
Dates: 7–14 August 1983
Nations participating: 153
Athletes participating: 1,355
    Main venue: Helsinki Olympic Stadium
Overview by IAAF   Helsinki Olympic Stadium 
As she had done in the 3000m final four days earlier, Decker took up the pace. The blustery conditions held her back to 64.04 at 400m and 2:10.92 at 800m. At the bell, Decker led with Zaytseva on her shoulder. The American tried to pull away on the backstraight. Zaytseva followed and shot ahead on the last bend, before swerving in front of Decker. A gap of five metres opened up in the process. The American looked beaten, but once in the straight, Decker’s long, smooth strides enabled her to gain on the straining Soviet. The American regained the lead 10m before the line. In response, Zaytseva overstrode and fell five metres before the line. She managed to roll across the finish in second place. “She was definitely being competitive,” said Decker of Zaytseva’s tactics. “Instead of going around, she ran into me. I think the rule is you have to be a full stride ahead before cutting in. She wasn’t ahead and she was cutting in.”

These are the official results of the Women's 1,500 metres event at the 1983 IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland. There were a total number of 26 participating athletes, with three qualifying heats and the final held on Sunday 1983-08-14.

The final was a microcosm of these championships. East vs West. The American Mary Decker vs a strong Soviet squad. Decker was so dominant in domestic competition, her races were won from the gun, so she was not well practiced in running elbow to elbow as the Soviets and other Europeans were highly skilled in the art. True to her form, Decker took the lead from the gun, with a large pack surrounding her. As the last lap approached Zamira Zaytseva moved onto Decker's shoulder, immediately to her outside. On the last lap, the pace quickened but Decker refused to let Zaytseva get all the way past. Finally with 200 metres to go, Zaytseva sprinted ahead and gained a couple of steps. Decker looked dejected, unable to keep up all the way through the turn but clearly ahead of Yekaterina Podkopayeva who was battling to stay ahead of Ravilya Agletdinova. On the final straight, Decker moved into lane 2 and started to make a run at Zaytseva, gaining slightly. About 50 metres out, Decker checked over her shoulder to see if any competition was approaching from the rear. Agletdinova-Kotovich was making a run at Podkopayeva several metres back but neither was gaining on Decker. Decker gritted her teeth and noticeably accelerated gaining on Zaytseva. As Decker moved past Zaytseva tried to accelerate. In the effort she started to lose her balance. Two awkward steps of flailing and reminiscent of Yevgeniy Arzhanov a decade earlier, Zaytseva dived for the finish line from four meters out. Clearly beaten by this point, Zaytseva executed a face plant a metre from the finish line and rolled across the line in second. Podkopayeva held off her teammate for bronze. The powerful Soviets all finished in the top four, but Decker was number one.


Existing records at the start of the event.

World record  Tatyana Kazankina (URS) 3:52.47 Zürich, Switzerland August 13, 1980
Championship record New event
  1500m 14 August
1 Mary Slaney USA 4 Aug 58 4.00.90
2 Zamira Zaytseva URS 16 Feb 53 4.01.19
3 Yekaterina Podkopayeva URS 11 Jun 52 4.02.25
4 Ravilya Agletdinova URS 10 Feb 60 4.02.67
8 Brit McRoberts CAN 10 Feb 57 4.05.73
9 Christina Cahill GBR 25 Mar 57 4.06.74
10 Cornelia Bürki SUI 3 Oct 53 4.11.61
11 Ivana Walterová TCH 26 May 62 4.15.12
12 Maria Radu ROU 25 May 59 4.19.03
  Heats 12 August
  Heat 1
1 Ravilya Agletdinova-Kotovich URS 4.10.71
2 Ivana Kleinova-Walterova-Kubesova TCH 4.10.82
3 Brit Lind-Petersen-McRoberts CAN 4.10.88
4 Christiane Wartenberg GDR 4.10.89
5 Totka Petrova BUL 4.12.31
6 Cindy Bremser USA 4.14.10
7 Kriscia Garcia ESA 4.40.21
8 Bigna Samuel STV 4.51.35
9 Kungu Bakombo COD 4.54.12
  Heat 2
1 Mary Decker-Slaney USA 4.07.47
2 Zamira Zaitseva URS 4.07.64
3 Wendy Smith-Sly GBR 4.08.16
4 Cornelia Burki SUI 4.08.61
5 Maria Radu ROU 4.10.15
6 Marcianne Mukamurenzi RWA 4.30.58
7 Vivian Pearson MAW 5.03.70
- Aurora Cunha POR DNS
  Heat 3
1 Yekaterina Podkopayeva URS 4.09.39
2 Gabriella Dorio ITA 4.09.45
3 Doina Melinte ROU 4.09.71
4 Christina Boxer-Cahill GBR 4.09.88
5 Betty Van Steenbroeck BEL 4.12.93
6 Marjo-Riitta Lakka FIN 4.22.33
7 Hala El Moughrabi SYR 4.45.62
8 Khadija Al Matari JOR 5.01.83
- Brigitte Kraus FRG DNS

Heat 1 12 AUG 1983 

  Ravilya Agletdinova-Kotovich URS URS 4:11.5  
  Kungu Bakombo COD COD    
  Cindy Bremser USA USA    
  Krisia L. García ESA ESA 4:50.2  
  Ivana Kubesova TCH TCH    
  Brit Lind-Petersen-McRoberts CAN CAN    
  Totka Petrova BUL BUL 3:57.4  
  Bigna Samuel VIN VIN    
  Christiane Wartenberg GDR GDR 3:57.71  

Heat 2 12 AUG 1983 

  Cornelia Bürki SUI SUI    
  Aurora Cunha POR POR 4:09.31 4:09.31
  Marcianne Mukamurenzi RWA RWA    
  Vivian Pearson MAW MAW    
  Maria Radu ROU ROU    
  Mary Slaney USA USA 3:57.12 3:57.12
  Wendy Sly GBR GBR    
  Zamira Zaitseva URS URS 3:56.14  

Heat 3 12 AUG 1983 

  Khadija Al Matari JOR JOR    
  Christina Boxer-Cahill GBR GBR    
  Gabriella Dorio ITA ITA 3:58.65  
  Hala El Moughrabi SYR SYR    
  Brigitte Kraus FRG FRG 4:04.22i  
  Marjo-Riitta Lakka FIN FIN    
  Doina Melinte ROU ROU    
  Yekaterina Podkopayeva URS URS 3:57.4  
  Betty Van Steenbroeck BEL BEL  




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