The schedule of this year’s Russian national championships is so complex it looks like a long detective novel, as the different event categories have been divided into several different meetings. The programme began in recent weeks with the Race Walking, Combined Events, 10,000m and the Mile.
The main Russian Championships will take place 10 - 13 July in Tula.
The race walkers were the first who started their long walk on the road to the medals. They are regarded – as always – as potential medal winners of the most important international competitions. And it was not just by chance that the national championships took place in the city of Saransk – the capital of Republic of Mordovia on 11 / 12 June, where many outstanding athletes are based.
The winners of each event secured team berths for the World Championships in Helsinki this August.
The experienced Tatyana Gudkova won the women’s 20km. She is coached by the former European champion Valeryi Spitzyn. It was her third national championship victory - 1:29:05. The 20-year old Olga Kaniskina finished second - 1:29:25 and she won the under-23 title. Iraida Pudovkina was third – 1:29:57.
The World record holder and the silver medallist at the 2004 Olympics Olympiada Ivanova, and Yulya Voevodina, didn’t take part in the national championships but they clocked excellent results at the recent European Cup in Hungary and have also been included in the national team that will participate in the World Championships.
The competitions in Saransk were marked by the unexpectedly weak performance of Yelena Nikolayeva: the 1996 Olympic and 2003 World champion failed to finish at 20km distance. Her result at 10 km was 47:33.
The 20-year old Vladimir Parvatkin won the men’s 20km - 1:21:24. He turned out to be the winner in two age groups – among seniors and for those under 23. Victor Buraev who is 22 years old, finished second with the same result, and Dmitriy Esipchuk was third 1:22:35. The well-known walkers Ilya Markov and Vladimir Stankin didn’t take part in the championships but they were invited to be part of the national team in Helsinki because of their good performance at the European Cup.
A double victory - seniors/under-23 - was also gained by the 20-year-old Vladimir Kanaikin in the men’s 50km – 3:40:40. His performance was excellent – the silver medallist Vladimir Potemin (3:51:34) and the bronze medal winner Sergei Melentiev were far behind (3:59:18). So the European Cup winners Aleksey Voyevodin and Sergei Kirdiapkin and one of the youngest national champions Vladimir Kanaikin will start in Helsinki at 50km.
One of the heroes of the last Olympics and the silver medallist in Athens Sergey Nizhegorodov is out of form. His result at the 25km mark was 1:49:11 and he failed to finish the race.
The juniors were also trying to get their berth at the national teams for their World Youth and European Junior and U23 Championships. The 14-year old Elmira Alembekova set the national record for her age group at 5000m – 22:09:00 – that is the world achievement as well. The 17-year old Yelena Ladanova set the national record for her age at 10,000m. At the stadium’s track she clocked exactly 45:00:10. The 17-year old Vladimir Akhmetov set the national record at the men’s distance as well – 42:15:0.
After the retirement of Lev Lobodin who is now one of the coaches of the national team it is the young Aleksei Drozdov who seems to become his inheritor in the Decathlon.
He won the national championships in Decathlon held in Tula, 14 / 15 June, with his personal best – 8120 points (11.31 – 7.15 – 15.46 – 2.03 – 51.06 – 15.13 – 51.68 – 4.60 – 65.44 –4:34.85), and qualified him for Helsinki.
The result of the silver medal winner Nickolai Tizshenko is only 7755, and the bronze medallist Aleksand Kislov got 7598 points. But taking into consideration that the well-known athlete Aleksandr Pogorelov and the World champion among juniors Alekesei Sysoev didn’t take part in the championships it is still probable that Russians will present a strong three man team in Helsinki.
The leaders in women’s Heptathlon, 2001 World champion Yelena Prokhorova and Natalya Roschupkina were injured. Prokhorova will miss this season. For Roschupkina the start at the national championships in Tula was her first in the season. Her result – 6003 points (14.59 – 1.79 – 14.22 – 25.09 – 5.99 – 39.76 – 2:11.51) is far from her personal best. But her coaches are sure that Roschupkina will improve her form and will be at her best in Helsinki.
It is most likely that the medallists of the national championships will accompany her. The result of Olga Levenkova was 5973 for second (13.95 – 1.73 – 12.65 – 24.85 – 6.35 – 37.66 – 2:13.71). The bronze medallist Jylya Ignatkina got 5931 (14.48 – 1.82 – 12.32 – 25.40 – 6.20 – 38.63 – 2:13.19).
10,000m and Mile
The runners competed in Tula (14/15 June) for the medals at two distances – one Mile and 10,000m. One mile – is a relatively new distance in the schedule of the Russian Championships and was won by Dmitriy Onufrienko – 4:01.51, Pavel Naumov was the runner-up – 4:01.62 and Dmitriy Chetvergov was third – 4:02.43.
Yelena Kanales was the women’s winner – 4:28.29. Natalya Pavlovskaya finished second – 4:28.90 and Ekaterina Volkova was third – 4:29.60.
At men’s 10,000m even the winner Dmitriy Markin failed to qualify to Helsinki – 28:41.17. Sergei Ryazantsev clocked 28:57.01 and Dmitriy Burmakin 29:02.96.
But the women’s results looked much better though the comparisons looked odious. The well-known runner Galina Bogomolova won the champion’s title – 31:04.61. Alena Samohkvalova was the runner-up – 31:12.57, Alla Zhilyaeva finished third – 31:14.27.
Two more competitions were held in Tula – the Russian Championships for under 23 (16 – 18 June). The Russian national record for under-23 and the European achievement for this age was set by Yekaterina Khoroshikh in Hammer Throw – 73.08. The result of Tatyana Lysenko who took the second place was as well very high – 70.91m.
World lead for Pechonkina
The World record holder at the women’s 400m Hurdles Yuliya Pechonkina-Nosova set the world season best of 53.05 (13 June).
On the flat a group of runners clocked excellent results in the women’s 400m – Olga Zaitzeva – 50.06, Svetlana Pospelova – 50.76, Olesya Krasnomovetz – 50.85, Elena Migunova – 50.93…
Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF