Cheboksary, RussiaAleksey Dmitrik’s victory in the hotly-contested men’s High Jump and Natalya Antyukh’s 53.75 win the 400m Hurdles highlighted the third day of the Russian championships on Saturday (23).
The men’s High Jump was regarded as the highlight of the third day’s action, and with the assemblage of major title holders, the event lived up to the hype. Before the start, we spoke with Olympic champion Andrey Silnov, who admitted that the task of earning spot on the Russian squad would be extremely difficult.
“But I’m ready to clear any height,” Silnov said, “maybe even very close to 2.40 in order to win. My injuries are behind me now. It’s a challenge make the team for Daegu. I have many titles, but not that of the world champion.”
However, it now appears as though that mission will impossible to achieve. Silnov cleared 2.34m, the same height as the World and European indoor champion Ivan Ukhov, but only finished fourth on countback.
The winner was Dmitrik who raised his season’s best by one centimetre to 2.36m to edge Aleksandr Shustov, the European champion, also on countback. He even took a few tries at a would-be Russian national record of 2.41m before calling it a day.
Ukhov finished third (2.34m) while reigning World champion Yaroslav Rybakov topped out at 2.30m to finish fifth, but as defending champion will also be in Daegu. Any way you look at it, Russia will arrive in Daegu with a fearsome foursome in this event indeed.
Antyukh dominates in 53.75
In the women’s 400m Hurdles, Natalya Antyukh was absolutely calm before the start and took the lead from the first barrier en route to a dominating victory in 53.75. But what was more important that the time, which put her at No. 6 on the yearly world list, is that it was evident that she could have run even faster. The experienced 30-year-old, who won the European title in this event last year and took Olympic 400m bronze in 2004, has steadily improved from one meet to the next this season.
Runner-up Yelena Churakova was more than a second behind in 54.79.
In the women’s 3000m Steeplechase, European champion Yuliya Zaripova (formerly Zarudneva) prevailed in 9:23.82, well head of Ludmila Kuzmina (9:26.03) and Lubov Kharlamova (9:29.39).
World record holder and 2008 Olympic champion Gulnara Galkina-Samitova, who returned to action earlier this season after maternity leave in 2010, finished fourth in 9:32.07.
After an extended period of injuries Yevgeniy Lukyanenko, continued his return to the top of the Pole Vaulting crème. The 2008 Olympic silver medallist won on countback over Dmitriy Starodubtsev at 5.72m. Victor Kozlitin was third at 5.66m.
Abakumova wins by nearly 10 metres
We talked with Olympic silver medalist in the Javelin Throw, Maria Abakumova before the final, asking her if the swirling winds expected during the competition would be a problem for her. “Not at all, the friendly thrower smiled. “I don’t care about the wind or other things that are minor importance. The most important thing I do care about is to catch the spirit of the competition. I must feel the javelin and understand how it is flying. Normally I succeed in doing it.”
Indeed, Abakumova’s first effort of 66.05m set the rhythm for the tournament, her best of the day and the only throw to sail beyond 60 metres. She won by nearly ten metres over Marina Maximova (56.44m).
Elizaveta Grechishnokova took the lead from the gun in the women’s 5000 and fended off the challenge posed by Yelena Zadorozhnaya to take the victory, 15:02.38 to 15:05.24. Andrei Safronov won a close 5000m race in 13:42.06 over Aleksandr Orlov (13:42.29). Alexander Derevyagin took the men’s 400m Hurdles honours in 49.48. Sergei Mikhailovskiy won the Long Jump title with a 8.05m leap. Bogdan Pischalnikov made the Discus Throw a family affair, winning in 61.33m the day after his sister Darya took the women’s title.
Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF
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