Sergey Shubenkov, European sprint hurdles champion indoors and outdoors, is the poster boy of the Russian Winter meeting in Moscow. But the world bronze medallist will have his work cut out for him in the 60m hurdles at the IAAF Indoor Permit meeting on 2 February.
He will be up against former world record-holder and 2010 world indoor champion Dayron Robles as well as the fellow Russian who narrowly beat Shubenkov at last year’s Russian Winter, Konstantin Shabanov.
After that surprise defeat, Shubenkov went on to beat Shabanov at both the Russian Indoor Championships and the European Indoor Championships.
Although Shabanov got the upper hand at the World University Games, taking silver just one hundredth ahead of his Russian rival, Shubenkov was the host nation’s top finisher in the 110m hurdles at the World Championships, earning the bronze medal.
While Shubenkov competes regularly against Shabanov, he has only raced against Robles twice before. Shubenkov finished ahead of Robles in Zurich last year, but one week later Robles beat Shubenkov in Zagreb.
The Russian Winter meeting will give Shubenkov another chance to notch up another victory over his rivals. Also in the field will be USA’s former world indoor champion Terrence Trammell, 2005 world finalist Joel Brown, Hungarian indoor record-holder Balazs Baji, World Indoors fourth-place finisher Andy Pozzi, Greek record-holder Konstadinos Douvalidis and world finalist Thomas Martinot Lagarde.
Organisers also recently revealed the men’s 1500m field and they’re hopeful that the 3:35.19 meeting record, set 18 years ago by Venuste Niyongabo, could be broken.
Bethwell Birgen won at the Russian Winter meeting last year, coming within 0.07 of the meeting record. The Kenyan will return this year alongside compatriots Collins Cheboi and 2011 world silver medallist Silas Kiplagat.
Also in the field are Ilham Tanui Ozbilen, the world indoor and European indoor silver medallist, world indoor finalist Aman Wote, World University Games champion Valentin Smirnov and Russian Olympian Yegor Nikolayev.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF