Updated 24 July 2012
Anisya KIRDYAPKINA, Russia (20km Race Walk)
Born 23 October 1989, Saransk, Mordovia
1.64 / 47kg
Coach: Viktor Chegin
In the life of Anisya Kirdyapkina (nee Kornikova) a lot of things seem to happen very early: her first medals, her marriage, but she has still a lot to aspire for. Her dream to go to the Olympics together with her husband Sergey came true, and now she can dream about them winning two medals for the family and for the national team.
Anisya Kirdyapkina is one of the Russian race walkers found in Saransk by coach Konstantin Nacharkin. But her story is a little bit different, as he found her in the woods. “I was nine years old. We were taking a walk with my friends in the woods in Saransk. There we met coach Nacharkin and he invited us to test ourselves in race walking. We were intrigued and came to the training session. My friends later gave up on sports, but I didn’t. I regularly took part in some local youth competitions – there are plenty of them in Mordovia. Some medal here, medal there. I enjoyed it and started considering it as my job,” Anisya said.
Young Anisya was inspired by titled fellow countrymen all the way. “Coaches always held 1995 World champion, Irina Stankina, as an example for us. She is an amazing athlete and she was coached by our head coach, Viktor Chegin, as well. Actually, there were always a lot more race walkers in Mordovia to look up to, including many titled athletes in my training group,” Kirdyapkina said.
While listing her race walking role models, Anisya mentioned her husband Sergey Kirdyapkin. She met him long ago, when she was competing as a junior and Sergey, who is nine years older, was also a part of the main team. At that time, Anisya saw him only as a strong and consistent race walker. “But once we ended up at the same training camp and we started communicating more and more. In 2005, Sergey was preparing for the World Championships. He went to Helsinki and won the gold medal. I was afraid that when he came back he would have his nose in the air, but luckily I was wrong. Our relationship only became stronger,” Kirdyapkina recalled. Anisya and Sergey married when she was only 18 years old. “I don’t really it like when my girls have relationships, because they interfere with the training. But when the boyfriend is a race walker as well, it’s a different story. I was even encouraging them to marry,” coach Chegin said.
In 2007, the 18-year-old Kirdyapkina collected an impressive assortment of medals. She won the Russian Winter Championships, European Cup Race Walking and European Junior Championships – all in the 10km junior race. “The European Cup Race Walking was my first international start. It was so exciting! I went abroad for the first time in my life. And to win a medal there was a huge success,” Kirdyapkina said. Later that year, she tried 20km and registered another success – second place at the IAAF Race Walking Challenge Final, held in Saransk, behind the unique Olga Kaniskina.
The following year, Anisya was also defeated only by Kaniskina – at the Russian Winter Championships, but her time of 1:25.30 was a World junior best over the distance. And it was the year when she got her first disqualification. It happened at the World Cup, in Cheboksary. “I had only two disqualifications in my career so far, both in 2008 and both on Russian soil. It is really vexing to be disqualified for the technique. It causes a lot of tears. You kind of blame both the strict judges and yourself, because if you walk perfectly, no one is going to give you a warning,” Kirdyapkina said.
It was a tough lesson and it was learnt. In 2009, Anisya earned bronze at the Russian Winter Championships and silver at the European Cup Race Walking. It gave her a ticket to the World Championships, in Berlin. There she gave a good fight to the more experienced Vera Santos, but it was a fight for the fourth place. But Anisya had only five days to be upset. At the same championships, her beloved husband Sergey Kirdyapkin was crowned World champion in the 50km race walk. “At first I was very disappointed, I could and I should perform better. But I got judges’ warnings and had to slow down to be sure that my technique is incontestable. But when Sergey won his gold, I forgot all my upsets. I was so happy for him,” Anisya said.
In 2010, Anisya was just unstoppable. She took both winter and summer national titles, along with a PB of 1.25.11. And it was also a time to shine on the international stage. At the European Championships, in Barcelona, the entire podium was occupied by Russian women. On the first step, the race walking queen, Olga Kaniskina. And 20-year-old Kirdyapkina was second ahead of Vera Sokolova.
In the off-season, Anisya got her well-deserved vacation to spend it close to nature, having a perfect rest and going to picnics with her family. But the vacation wasn’t very long, as race walkers always have their first important competition in February, in Sochi. The 2011 Russian Winter Championships produced high class results as always. Kirdyapkina finished just one second short of the first place and of the new World record. The record (1:25.08) was set by Vera Sokolova. Sokolova was ahead of Kirdyapkina one more time this season – at the European Cup Race Walking in Olhao.
During the main race of the year 2011, in hot and humid Daegu Russian women race walking team took an early lead setting the pace that was too high for almost all the competitors. Olga Kaniskina, two-time world champion at that moment, and Kirdyapkina could maintain the rhythm until the very finish. But on the last lap the younger Russian was overtaken by Berlin World Championships bronze medalist from China Liu Hong.
“I’m happy with my result, bronze medal at the second Worlds in my life is a good foundation for a successful career. The weather conditions were very difficult, due to the humidity I struggled to breath, and I was unable to respond to the Chinese rival on the last lap. Anyway, I believe I managed to live up to the reputation of my race walking family”, said Anisya after the finish. Her husband Sergey came to Daegu injured and didn’t finish his tough 50 km journey, but the achievement of his wife definitely smoothed over his disappointment.
The Olympic season for Chegin group started at an unconventional event. They were invited to Moscow to compete indoors at short distances during the one-day “Russian Winter Meeting”. The Russian race walking elite, along with strong international competitors such as Sylvia Korzeniowska and Melanie Seeger, were aiming for the 3000m race walk indoor World all-time best of 11:40.33. Kirdyapkina fell just a little short of this mark, winning the race in 11:44:1.
“I had the idea about going for the World record, but after the first training session here, on the track, I realised that it won’t be too easy, the lap is so short, there is not as much air as outside and I didn’t have any notion on dealing with the curves. Olga Kaniskina wasn’t able to finish, she wasn’t feeling too good at that time, but anyway it’s probably the second time in my life that I beat her”, Anisya recalled.
In the summer season Anisya faced a tough challenge to win one of the two team spots for the Olympics. The third spot was automatically taken by the World champion Kaniskina. The first way to get the ticket to London was to win the World Cup in Saransk. Kirdyapkina tried to follow her training partners Kaniskina and Lashmanova, who took lead early in the race, but began to fade after getting a sunstroke on the second half of the race. Anisya finished sixth, leaving the task of making the team for the National Championships in Moscow.
The battle for the last team spot was held just one month after the World Cup on the course of the 2013 World Championships. It turned out to be a two-rivals’ business. One of them was Kirdyapkina and the other Tatyana Sibileva, from another region of Russia, Chuvashia. Sibileva was competing aggressively: maintaining the high pace despite two early red cards and crossing Kirdyapkina’s way at the watering stations. But at the 15th kilometer Sibileva was disqualified and Kirdyapkina grabbed the gold and the ticket to London. “It was the win that mattered, not the result. My husband, who’d already qualified for London, stayed in Saransk and told me not to come home without the win. It was my dream to go to the Olympics together with Sergey and this dream came
10,000m RW: 43:27.20 (2007)
10km RW: 42:59 (2007)
20km RW: 1:25:09 (2011)
10,000m RW/10km RW/20km RW 2004: -/46:56/-; 2006: 44.42.0/-/-; 2007: 43:27.20/42:59/1:28:00; 2008 -/-/1:25:30; 2009: -/-/1:25:26; 2010: -/44:21/1:25:11; 2011: -/44:03/1:25:09; 2012:-/-/1:27:43
2007 1st European Cup Junior Race Walking (Leamington) (10km RW) 43:17
2007 1st European Junior Championships (Hengelo) (10,000m RW) 43:27:20
2007 2nd IAAF Race Walking Challenge Final (Saransk) (20km RW) 1:28:00
2009 2nd European Cup Race Walking (Metz) (20km RW) 1:33:28
2009 4th World Championships (Berlin) (20km RW) 1:30:09
2010 6th World Race Walking Cup (Chihuahua) (20km RW) 1:34:47
2010 2nd European Championships (Barcelona) (20km RW) 1:28:55
2011 2nd European Cup Race Walking (Olhao) (20km RW) 1:30:41
2012 3rd World Championships (Daegu) (20 km RW) 1:30:13
2012 6th World Race Walking Cup (Saransk) (20 km RW) 1:31:00
Prepared by Elena Dyachkova for the IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. Copyright IAAF 2011-2012