Created 1 August 2012
Yekaterina POISTOGOVA, Russia (800m)
Born 1 March 1991, Arzamas (Nizhny Novgorod Oblast)
1.71m / 54 kg
Coach: Matvey Telyatnikov
When the newly-crowned Russian 800m champion is asked why no one knows about such a great runner Yekaterina Poistogova, she smiles with her blue eyes beaming and says: “You probably heard of the promising runner Yekaterina Zavyalova who recently married a fellow athlete, Stepan Poistogov.”
Indeed Yekaterina Poistogova (née Zavyalova) is not the novice she is often mistakenly taken for. She has been competing internationally since 2007, not getting too many honours though, but gaining the experience that helped her make the Russian Olympic team in 2012.
Poistogova was fast since her childhood years. “When I was 10 teachers started to recruit me for the school relay teams for different competitions. And when they suggested that I should start serious training, I agreed. It was in 2005.” Poistogova recalled. She started doing track in her native town, Arzamas, under the guidance of Vladimir Zhuravlev. She started as an 800m runner, but ran occasional races at 400m.
16-year-old Yekaterina won the 2007 Russian Youth Championships both indoors and outdoors and went to the Ostrava World Youth Championships, but couldn’t advance to the final, fading to the last position in her semi-final heat. “This was my first big competition and I was very nervous. And I must admit that after less than two years of training, I wasn’t ready to perform at high level, neither physically, not mentally,” Yekaterina explained. But less than two weeks after the World Championships, Poistogova redeemed herself by winning bronze at the European Youth Festival, in Belgrade.
The following year Poistogova won the National Junior Championships and represented the country at the World Junior Championships, in Bydgoszcz, even though she was still in the youth age category. But once again she didn’t make it past the semi-final.
In 2009 Poistogova achieved a golden double, winning both the 800m and 1500m at the Russian Junior Championships, in Saransk. She was one of the favourites of the European Junior Championships, coming to Novi Sad with a personal best of 2:02.21 set in Saransk, and she lived up to expectations winning bronze in the tough fight on the homestretch. She competed in the 1500 m as well, but finished tenth in the final. “I was actually a little upset by the bronze, I felt ready to win, and I made a great finish spurt with 200m to go, but still couldn’t catch my rivals in the very last meters of the race,” Poistogova recalled.
The following year Yekaterina got a chance to compete at her second World Junior Championships, in Moncton. This time she managed to advance to the final, but placed eighth while the most important junior/youth title of the year for the third time in a row went to Romanian Elena Mirela Lavric.
The year 2011 brought Yekaterina the most important event in her life so far. And it was not related to athletics. Well, almost. On 10 September she married one of the best middle-distance runners in Russia, Stepan Poistogov. This was the moment when she changed her surname and her coach. “We met in 2008 at the regional competition in Nizhny Novgorod, and we were dating pretty much since then. In 2010 I moved to Yekaterinburg, where Stepan was training, and started working with coach Nikolay Galashov. My husband was training under the guidance of Matvey Telyatnikov, one of the best middle-distance coaches in Russia, and in 2011 I joined their training group. I immediately saw the results of our work; I think that Telyatnikov’s methods just work for me. But unfortunately my previous coach, Vladimir Zhuravlev, didn’t appreciate my move and we don’t communicate anymore,” Poistogova said.
The results of the new coaching were soon to come indeed. Poistogova set a PB of 2:00.73 in the heat at the 2012 Russian Indoor Championships, placed 5th in the final and went on to win the Russian Indoor U23 Championships. In her third race of the outdoor season (Kuts Memorial in Moscow) she ran a world-class 1:57.93. Four days later, at the Znamensky Memorial, she took a shot at the 1500m and won the race over her experienced training partner, Elena Soboleva, who specializes in the 1500m, lowering her PB by almost 18 seconds to 4:00.11. “My coach told me before the race that if I improved my PB by a couple of seconds, it would be great. And I couldn’t even believe what I’d actually done. I didn’t even dream about this kind of time. I just tried to keep up with the pack and with 200m to go felt that I can go for the win! But that race didn’t affect my choice of event to qualify for the Olympics,” Poistogova explained.
The National Trials showed that Poistogova was not only fit enough, but also experienced enough to go to the Olympics. “In the preliminary round, where the qualification is by time only, I was listed for the 5th heat, so by the time of my race I had an idea how fast I should run to qualify. It helped me not to waste too much energy, and in the final I was strong and confident. I peaked for the beginning of the season and was just maintaining form until the Nationals. My second peak will come right in time for the Olympics,” Poistogova declared.
In Cheboksary, Yekaterina posted remarkable times: 1:58.54 in the heat and 1:58.15 in the final and booked the ticket to “the city of her dream” – to London. But there was something that made her upset. Her husband Stepan underperformed in the men’s 800m and didn’t get the place on the team. “My final was just held just a few minutes before his. He was so nervous about me, he was cheering me so hard, that he didn’t have any energy for himself. Unfortunately, this happens every once in a while. Anyway, Stepan paced me through the workouts during the final training camps and he will come to London on 6 August to cheer for me,” Yekaterina smiled.
800m: 1:57.93 (2012)
1500m: 4:00.11 (2012)
800m/1500m 2007: 2:06.96/-; 2008: 2:04.96/-; 2009: 2:02.11/4:18.82; 2010: 2:04.33/4:27.68; 2011: 2:02.64/4:17.9h; 2012: 1:57.93 AUR/4:00.11
2007 1st Russian Indoor Youth Championships (Penza) (800m) 2:10.98
2007 1st Russian Youth Championships (Penza) (800m) 2:06.96
2007 sf World Youth Championships (Ostrava) (800m) 2:16.15 (2:09.37h)
2007 3rd European Youth Olympic Festival (Belgrad) (800m) 2:08.06
2008 2nd Russian Junior Championships (Cheboksary) (800m) 2:06.24
2008 1st Russian Youth Championships (Vladimir) (800m) 2:06.62
2008 sf World Junior Championships (Bydgoszcz) (800m) 2:10.07 (2:07.77h)
2009 1st Russian Junior Championships (Saransk) (800m) 2:02.21
2009 1st Russian Junior Championships (Saransk) (1500m) 4:18.82
2009 3rd European Junior Championships (Novi Sad) (800m) 2:04.59
2009 10th European Junior Championships (Novi Sad) (1500m) 4:24.64
2009 2nd Russian Junior Championships (Cheboksary) (800m) 2:04.79
2009 2nd Russian Junior Championships (Cheboksary) (1500m) 4:27.68
2010 8th World Junior Championships (Moncton) (800m) 2:05.56 (2:04.33h)
2011 3rd Russian Indoor U23 Championships (Volgograd) (800m) 2:05.47
2011 6th Russian U23 Championships (yerino) (800m) 2:05.72 (2:02.64h)
2012 5th Russian Indoor Championships (Moscow) (800m) 2:04.09 (2:00.73h)
2012 1st Russian Indoor U23 Championships (Saransk) (800m) 2:01.39
2012 1st Russian Indoor U23 Championships (Saransk) (1500m) 4:18.40
2012 1st European Champion Clubs Cup (Vila Real) (800m) 2:00.75
2012 1st Russian Championships (Cheboksary) (800m) 1:58.15
Prepared by Elena Dyachkova for the IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. Copyright IAAF 2012