More than 200 athletes from 26 countries on four continents gathered for the 21st edition of the ‘Russian Winter’ in the chill of Moscow on Sunday (5) where seven world leading performances were produced on the 13-event programme.
At the first edition of this IAAF Indoor Permit Meeting, back in 1992, two World indoor records were established, both in Race Walking: over 3000m for women by Alina Ivanova and over 5000m for men courtesy of Grigory Kornev. And now after two decades the organisers of the competition decided to return walking to the programme with some of the finest race walkers in the world taking part.
In the women’s race, the focus was on Russia’s Olympic champion Olga Kaniskina and Claudia Stef of Romania, whose World record in the event, 11:40.33, dates back to 1999. The line-up also included Anisya Kirdyapkina, a silver medallist at last year’s World Championships.
Kaniskina took control from the first lap with just Kirdyapkina trying to hold on. The pair increased their lead after each lap. With 800 metres remaining, Kirdyapkina moved up, passed her training partner, and took the lead. Sapped of energy Kaniskina withdrew during the final lap, handing the clear victory to Kirdyapkina who clocked 11:44.10. With Kaniskina’s departure – it was later learned that Kaniskina was suffering froma bad cold but started the race anyway - Stef was the distant runner-up in 12:27.50, with another Russian, Tatyana Korotkova, third in 12:28.00.
In the men’s 5000m, it was Yohan Diniz of France who took the early lead with a trio or Russians - Valeriy Borchin, Sergey Bakulin and Vladimir Kanaykin – in tow. After three kilometres Olympic champion Borchin upped the tempo and took the lead. His compatriots moved up as well with Kanaykin (18:17.13) and Bakulin (18:26.82) next. So both the Russian winners congratulated their coach Viktor Chegin on the eve of his 50th birthday.
With Beamon and Ter-Ovanesyan watching, Menkov leaps 8.24m
Among the honoured guests over the weekend were legendary long jumpers Bob Beamon and Igor Ter-Ovanesyan. At a press conference held the day before the meeting, Beamon said that psychological condition is very important for the jumper while Ter-Ovanesyan said that modern jumpers should change their technique. That counsel was used by Aleksandr Menkov, who sailed 8.24m on his last leap to take the victory with a 2012 world leader. South Africa’s Godfrey Mokoena was second at 8.04m with Ignisious Gaisah of Ghana (7.93m) third.
In the women’s event, Darya Klishina claimed a confident victory after producing a very consistent series. The worst of her four attempts was 6.74m; the best was 6.86m, well ahead of Russian Yuliya Pidluzhnaya and Shara Proctor of Great Britain whose best on the day was 6.60m.
Another world lead came courtesy of Olympic High Jump champion Andrey Silnov who topped 2.36m with his first attempt. European champion Alexander Shustov was second with 2.30m while Bahamian Trevor Barry topped out at 2.27m for third.
In the Pole vault German Otto Bjorn took top honours at 5.77m (he also cleared 5.72), ahead of Russian Dmitriy Starodubtsev and Lukasz Michalski of Poland who topped 5.65m. Jumping in his indoor debut, Lazaro Borges of Cuba topped 5.55m.
Jones speeds world-leading 7.89
Despite a bad fall during her warm-up which left her battered and bruised, two-time defending World indoor champion Lolo Jones of the U.S. prevailed in the 60m Hurdles, clocking 7.89, the fastest in the world this season. She finished well clear of compatriots Ivette Lewis (8.03) and Danielle Carruthers (8.05).
The men’s event was by Konstantin Shabanov in 7.58 ahead of Sergey Shubenkov’s 7.61 (both Russia) and Maxim Lynsha of Belarus who clocked 7.63.
The men’s 600m was quite fast, with Poland’s European 800m champion Adam Kszczot moving up all the way to the No. 2 all-time for this rarely-contested event after his 1:15.25 run. Yuriy Borzakovsky was second in 1:16.08 with Kenyan Jackson Kivuna (1:16.93).
Yelena Arzhakova’s 2:36.69 victory in the 1000m was also the fastest of the season.
Russia’s Olympic relay champion Alexandra Fedoriva won the 400m in 51.46 ahead of Bulgarian Vania Stambolova (51.59) and Antonina Krivoshapka (51.88).
And finally, there was revenge in the men’s 60m. Josh Norman, who false-started here one year ago, won this tim in 6.63, just edging World indoor champion Dwain Chambers (6.64) and Lithuanian Rytis Sakalauskas (6.65).
The women’s race produced a 1-2 finish for Ukraine, with Olesya Povh prevailing over Mariya Ryemen, 7.14 to 7.18.
Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF