Yekaterinburg, Russia - It’s a tradition. The Russian indoor season opened on Saturday (7) with the international “Christmas Starts” meeting, held in Yekaterinburg for the 21st time.
And naturally the participation of Mariya Savinova, the World 800m champion, turned out to be the main attraction. Savinova, who was selected as the European athlete of the year, was quite tired after last season, one in which she won the world title in Daegu, participated in many competitions and then took part in a number of celebrations that followed and that were well deserved for her magnificent athletic performances.
Maybe that was the reason why she declared that she’d miss the indoor season and would be targeting instead the 2012 Olympic Games in London. But she couldn’t refuse the invitation of the “Christmas Starts” organisers and though she is not at her real best decided to make an appearance in Yekaterinburg. The 7th of January is a national holiday when all of orthodox Russia celebrates its Christmas, but not the athletes who were participating in the maiden tournament of the year.
Savinova’s winning discipline – the 800m distance - wasn’t on the program so she contested the 1000m, where she clocked 2:43.40 and finished runner-up. The race was won by 23-year-old Yuliya Tutayeva who took the glories with her excellent kick, clocking 2:43.25. Ekaterina Poyistogova, who is only 20, was third clocking 2:43.86.
The 2004 Olympic 800m champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy decided to run the 500m. And like Savinova he too was the runner-up, clocking the same time with Sergei Petukhov – 1:01.81. It was the 400m runner Pavel Trenikhin who won the non-standard distance in 1:01.70.
All the leading Russian hurdlers competed in the men’s 60m Hurdles. The 22-year-old Konstantin Shabanov turned out to be the fastest winning in 7.76. Yevgeniy Borisov, the 2008 World indoor bronze medallist, clocked 7.79 and the most experienced Igor Peremota was only one hundredth of a second behind in 7.80. Tatyana Dektyareva was the best at Women’s 60m hurdles winning in 8.16.
Naturally it was only the first start of the new indoor season but the winning height of 2.30m in the High Jump cleared by the European Champion Aleksandr Shustov impressed the fans and the specialists. Andrei Patrakov and Sergei Mudrov were behind with 2.24m.
Nadezhda Paleyeva and Natalya Murinovich shared first place in the women’s 60m at 7.33. Yevgeniy Ustabschikov won the men’s 60m with 6.75, leaving a bit behind Konstantin Petryashov who clocked 6.78. But Petryashov still celebrated the victory at the non-standard 300m where he clocked 33.42.
Several well-known runners competed in the women’s 300m won by Kseniya Ustalova who clocked 36.94. Two Olympic champions, Aleksandra Fedoriv (37.43) and Julya Guzchina (37.61), were left behind as well as the World champion Olesiya Krasnomovetz (38.14).
One of the most experienced Russian 400m runners, Natalya Nazarova, won the 500m in 1:10.92. Yevgeniya Zolotova was second to none in the 2000m in 5:49.30. Yuriy Koldin was the fastest at 1000m – 2:23.25.
Boris Zakharov won the 3000m in 7:58.77 leaving behind the guest from Ethiopia Million Zewdie (8:00.73).
Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF