19 MAR 2001 General News

Russia win Norwich Union International by one point from All Stars

Russia win Norwich Union International by one point from All Stars
Chris Turner for IAAF

18 March 2001 - A close team contest between last year's winner's Russia and an International All Stars side was only settled by an equally close finish to the men's 4 x 400 metres relay, the last event of today's Norwich Union International in Glasgow's Kelvin Hall. Russia narrowly won the relay (3:06.02 to All Star's 3:06.14) to take the match by one point. 1st Russia 76pts; 2nd All Stars 75pts; 3rd Great Britain 62pts.

At the Lisbon World Indoor Championships last week, Britain's Mark Lewis-Francis took the bronze medal in the men's 60 metres and set a new world junior best. Today he improved his placing but still had to give best to USA's Greg Saddler who was 1st in 6.60sec, to Lewis Francis' 6.62 seconds.

However, today there was an improvement for Britain's two Lisbon silver medallists. Christian Malcolm the European Indoor 200 metres champion won the 200 metres (20.99 sec). While in the triple jump, Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards was also first with a stadium record 17.19m leap in the first round. Edwards had the added satisfaction of beating his Lisbon conqueror, Italy's Paolo Camossi (16.62m).

Edwards was "particularly pleased with his indoor season..." with "no real regrets about not taking the gold in Lisbon especially as I have done little preparation for this indoor season coming off the back of my gold in Sydney". Edwards continued "I would have been satisfied to have come away from this season with today's 17.19m as my best but instead everything has gone surprisingly well with 17.60 as my best for the winter and so many competitions over 17 metres". Edwards confirmed he is now going to travel to America for a training camp and is optimistic about the prospects for continued success this summer.

The men's 400 metres was a show case for Britain's sole world indoor champion Daniel Caines who ended the season with a perfect race/win record over 400 metres, taking the victory today in fine style with 46.21seconds from Russia's Andrey Semenov who was second in 46.64secs.

However, with the exception of a fine 1500 metres win by John Mayock in 3:44.84 minutes, Caines was to be the last home win for the British team, with Russia and the All stars talking most of the winning applause from the full house of spectators in Glasgow's Kelvin Hall.

Russia's middle distance maestro, men's World Indoor 800m champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy was once again peerless, winning with ease in 1:47.50 minutes.

"Winning the world indoor title last week was really important for me. It was my first major title and I missed so much of last season outdoors because of injury. I didn't do well in the Olympics so starting this year well was important to get me ready for the World Championships in Edmonton" said Borzakovskiy. The Russian then continued "I know people are comparing me to the great 800 metres runners from the past. Every time I come to Britain I hear the names of Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett and obviously I'm very pleased to be mentioned along with these people. I cannot plan for the future but I will do my best to reach the standards they reached".

Adam Nelson made up for his silver medal in the World Indoor Championships with a fine win today in men's shot of 20.20 metres but the big distances escaped him and he was quick to give a reason for this and to sum up his whole indoor season. "I have been feeling a lot better than I have been throwing! My rhythm and timing have been a little bit off. This indoor season has been a little frustrating for me".

In the women's programme of events, there were fine track wins for many of the stars from Lisbon last week. Jamaica's Juliet Campbell maintained her stranglehold on the 200 metres winning comfortably in 23.14 seconds from Britain's Donna Fraser (24.11 secs). In the 800 metres, Austria's Stephanie Graf who took the silver medal in tight contest with Mutola in Lisbon, held off the stiff challenge of Russia's Yelena Afanasyeva in today's race, winning in 2:01.09 mins to the Russian's 2:01.65 mins.

Besides these two wins, all five of the other women's track races went to Russia. Marina Kislova dashed the 60m in 7.17 secs; Olga Kotlyarova - silver medallist in Lisbon - won the 400 metres in 51.54 sec; Svetlana Laukhova, took the 60m hurdles in 8.00 secs. In the 1500 metres Natalya Gorelova won in a stadium record of 4:05.48 minutes. In second place Britain's Hayley Tullett set a new British 1500m indoor best of 4:06.75 beating Zola Budd's old mark of 4:06.87 mins set back in 1986! Russia's track triumphs were capped by a fine win in the 4 x 400m relay with the world champions predictably taking first place (3:30.32), though they were pushed hard by the All Stars team (3:30.84).

In the infield, Russia's Lyudmila Galkina won the long jump (6.81m) from double Olympic champion Heike Drechsler who was second with 6.51m. While in the high jump Sweden's world champion Kaisa Bergqvist was still in fine form a week after her Lisbon triumph, winning with a clearance of 1.97m on her third attempt from the All Stars' Amy Acuff (USA) who cleared 1.94m on her second try.

However, of the three women's field events it was the pole vault which provided the real spectacle of not just the women's programme but of the whole of this afternoon's match. Russia's European record holder Svetlana Feofanova who like world record holder Stacy Dragila failed in her attempt to win the World Indoor Championships last week, had a clean score card after successfully jumping 4.32m, 4.44m and 4.56m today. It was at 4.56m that Feofanova's only real challenger Austria's Doris Auer failed and with the competition won, the bar was set at a new world record height of 4.71m. Feofanova's first attempt was the closest and in the end she had to settle for just the win but she confidently believes she has this height in her sights - "my jumping has improved so much this winter but it has been a very long season and I'm tired. I certainly believe I have the capabilities to jump this high (world record). Today the runway was much better than in Lisbon and the spectators were superb...and so I had everything going for me except perhaps my strength...this indoor season has been so long it will take my body some time to recover".