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Ustalova and Shubenkov post world leads at Russian Indoor Championships

Russian 400m runner Kseniya Ustalova (Getty Images)Russian 400m runner Kseniya Ustalova (Getty Images) © Copyright

Kseniya Ustalova and Sergey Shubenkov shot straight to the top of the 2013 season lists with their winning performances at the Russian Indoor Championships, held at the Vladimir Kutz Arena in Moscow.

The first day belonged to Shubenkov. The European 110m Hurdles champion cruised through each round, running 7.64 in the heat and 7.60 in the semi-final before smashing his PB in the final with 7.50. World indoor finalist Konstantin Shabanov was second in 7.67.

Shubenkov’s time equalled Kevin Craddock’s world-leading mark set just four days prior and moves him to third on the Russian all-time list.

Ustalova was the star of the second day. The 2010 European silver medallist improved her PB in the semi-finals (52.05) before completely rewriting it in the final with a world-leading 51.31. She finished almost a second ahead of European silver medallist Kseniya Zadorina (52.29), Olga Tovarnova (52.46), Tatyana Veshkurova (52.56) and Nadezhda Kotlyarova (52.67).

Pole vaulter Anastasiya Savchenko continued her breakthrough. She needed just five jumps to take the title, clearing 4.40m, 4.50m and 4.60m on her first attempts, then 4.70m on her second. It’s the fourth PB of the year for Savchenko and she now moves to fifth on the Russian indoor all-time list. Angelina Krasnova equalled her PB of 4.55m in second place.

Menkov and Klishina take Long Jump titles

World indoor bronze medallist Aleksandr Menkov came close to his own world-leading mark in the Long Jump. His winning leap of 8.18m was just four centimetres shy of his jump in Irkutsk last month and he won by a massive 28cm.

The women’s event was more competitive and it was won by European indoor champion Darya Klishina with 6.80m, just three centimetres ahead of world leader Olga Kucherenko. Svetlana Denyayeva set an outright PB of 6.76m to place third.

An event that usually witnesses lots of fast times at the Russian Championships, the women’s 800m was this time more of a tactical affair. Yekaterina Kupina, the only athlete in the world this year to dip under two minutes, failed to make the final.

It left Yelena Kotulskaya (nee Kofanova) to won the national title in 2:02.27, two seconds slower than her heat, with Marina Pospelova close behind in 2:02.38. Alena Glazkova, who clocked the fastest time in the heats with 2:00.31, finished a distant fifth in the final.

There was surprising depth in the men’s 3000m. Valentin Smirnov came out on top with a 7:47.01 PB, followed by Yegor Nikolayev (7:47.57) and Andrey Safronov (7:48.49). The podium finishers now occupy three of the top five spots on the Russian indoor all-time list.

Ilgizar Safiulin missed the podium by two places, but his time of 7:54.90 broke the long-standing Russian under-23 indoor best that was set almost 40 years ago.

Svetlana Kireyeva dominated the women’s event, winning in 8:48.27 – her first time under nine minutes, indoors or out. Her time is the best in Europe this year and second on the world list.

Mudrov wins competitive High Jump

Sergey Mudrov finally made a big breakthrough in the High Jump, living up to the potential that he first showed when winning the World youth silver in 2007 and European junior title in 2009. He cleared 2.34m to take victory before trying in vain at 2.37m.

Dmitriy Semenov and Daniyil Tsyplakov, both just 20 years old, cleared PBs of 2.30m to finish second and third respectively. 2010 European champion Aleksandr Shustov finished down in eighth with 2.20m.

In the absence of Olympic champion Anna Chicherova and Olympic bronze medallist Svetlana Shkolina, the women’s High Jump was a straight final. Tatyana Kivimyagi, an Olympian back in 2004, produced her best jump in almost five years to win with 1.91m. Irina Gordeyeva placed second on count-back with the same height.

Irina Gumenyuk and Viktoriya Dolgacheva produced the same mark in the women’s Triple Jump with 14.41m, but Gumenyuk took the title on count-back. Natalya Kutyakova leapt farther in qualifying with 14.50m, but could only finish ninth in the final with 13.62m. 21-year-old Ruslan Samitov added more than 40 centimetres to his indoor PB to win the men’s event, leaping 17.06m.

Two-time Olympian Yuliya Kondakova came within two hundredths of the PB she set earlier this month to win the women’s 60m Hurdles, clocking 7.95. Meanwhile, the 60m flat was won in a close finish by Yuliya Katsura in 7.28, one hundredth ahead of Yuliya Kashina.

Olympic silver medallist Yevgeniya Kolodko produced the second-best indoor mark of her career in the Shot, winning with 19.24m to move to second on this year’s world list. Maksim Sidorov won the men’s final with 20.10m, just 13 centimetres ahead of Valeriy Kokoyev.

After setting a PB of 1:47.69 in the heats of the men’s 800m, Ivan Nesterov came close to that time in the final to win in 1:48.11. It was a similar story in the 400m where Valentin Kruglyakov won in 47.05 after running 46.97 in the heats.

But the top Russian 400m runner this year, Pavel Trenikhin, opted to run the 200m and won it in 21.26, having clocked a PB of 21.25 in his heat. Elizaveta Savlinis dominated the women’s equivalent to win in 23.42.

The final day was marked by two finals at 5000m, rarely run indoors. European champion Olga Golovkina successfully defended her title to win in 15:36.08, moving to third on the Russian indoor all-time list. The men’s race saw a close finish as Rinas Akhmadeev won in 13:48.27, just a whisker ahead of Yevgeniy Rybakov (13:48.35).

The relays are considered to be the attraction of the last day of the Russian Nationals and world records have sometimes been witnessed in the 4x800m. There were no such records this time, but the Moscow team – which included individual champion Kotulskaya – clocked 8:16.16 to win the women’s race. A photo finish was required in the men’s final as St Petersburg finished just four hundredths ahead of the quartet from Sverdlovsk Region, 7:22.13 to 7:22.17.

Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF