5. 1989 World Cup – Quirot weathers Wodars’ storm
WORLD and Olympic champion Sigrun Wodars employed a similar race-plan to compatriot Christine Wachtel at the World Championships in 1987 to neutralise Ana Quirot’s sub-50 400m pace but despite the burden of a busy racing season, Quirot was impervious to Wodars’ fierce front-running.
Quirot sat in the slipstream of Wodars through 200m in 26.94, 400m in 55.07 and 600m in 1:24.48 before mounting her challenge off the final bend. With her effortlessly languid running gait, Quirot passed Wodars with 70m remaining and opened up eight metres on her East German rival to win in 1:54.44 to Wodars’ 1:55.70.
Quirot’s winning time still ranks inside the world’s all-time top-five and the Cuban, who helped the Americas to victory in the 4x400m on the opening day of competition, concluded her weekend with victory in the individual 400m. Only Marita Koch and Sanya Richards-Ross have also won three World Cup titles in the same year.
It also begged the question as to whether Quirot, who was unbeaten over 800m in 1988 and 1989, would have claimed the Olympic title in Seoul if the Cubans didn’t boycott.