Aleksander Menkov of Russia competes in the Men's Long Jump qualification during day one - WIC Istanbul (Getty Images) © Copyright
We won’t dare call it the centre of Russian athletics but many outstanding Russian stars do live here, the most famous of them the 2004 Olympic 800m champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy.
But this time 'Borza’, who is preparing for the London Olympics, didn’t start. In his absence it was a guest from Ukraine, Oleksandr Osmolovitch, who won the distance in 1:46.87. Esrade Avoke of Ethiopia who came a long way to Russia was the runner-up in 1:45.87 ahead of Stepan Poistogov (1:47.08).
The women’s 1500m was another event that was in the focus of attention. The scenario was the same as four days ago at Vladimir Kuts Memorial. Yelena Soboleva was leading but Yekaterina Poistogova won an excellent finishing effort in 4:00.11 with Soboleva clocking 4:01.14 in second.
Abiyte Abinet from Ethiopia won the laurels in the men’s 1500m in 3:40.02.
Rytis Sakalauskas (LIT) clocked 10.08 (wind + 2.3) to win the 100m, quite a result according to Russian standards and the personal best of the winner. Despite the hefty non-legal wind Sakalauskas was absolutely satisfied after his victory but admitted that it was too early for him to rum better than 10 seconds. Turkey’s Ramil Guliev clocked 10.15 for second ahead of Russian Aleksandr Brednev (10.19). Brednev admitted that he was not well concentrated on the start.
Unexpectedly the 21-year-old Olga Belkina won the 200m with the best result of the Russian season, 22.90. She left behind the Olympic champion in 4x400m Relay Yuliya Gushchina (22.95) and Tameka Williams (SKN) who clocked 22.96.
Vladimir Krasnov won the 400m in 46.15. Ludmila Litvinova’s won the women’s one-lap contest in 51.76.
Alina Talai of Belarus was also pleased after setting a 12.79 (wind -0.6) personal best to win the 100m Hurdles. Talai is coached by a well-known hurdler Victor Myasnikov. Her two most dangerous opponents from Russia Olga Samylova (12.82) and Tatyana Dektiareva (12.96) failed to gain the home victory.
The Women’s 400m Hurdles were an easy take for Irina Davydova who clocked 54.61. Nikolina Horvat from Croatia was a distant second in 57.27.
Tonje Angelsen from Norway and Irina Gordeeva both cleared 1.95 in the Women’s High Jump but the Norwegian won in count back.
In the Men’s Long Jump Aleksandr Menkov landed at 8.06m to beat Pavel Shalin (7.94) and Aleksandr Petrov. Menkov said he had made technical mistakes in his initial efforts and regarded the meet as a useful practice in the Olympic season.
The Women’s Hammer Throw was most intriguing. World champion Tatyana Lysenko recognised after the competition was over that she had been very nervous at the start. Zhukovskiy is her home city and she was throwing to win. But it was Gulfiya Khanafeeva who was leading up to the last attempt at 73.48m. Still Lysenko managed to produce her best in the last round with her 75.48m winning effort. Even the former World champion Yipsi Moreno from Cuba failed to do better, reaching 72.40m for third.
Anna Avdeyeva, who won the European Indoor title last year, is in form again. She dominated the women’s Shot Put with her 19.54m winning effort. Her regular rivals Irina Tarasova (18.67m) and Anna Omarova (18.20m) took spots two and three.
The 23-year-old Ivan Zaitzev from Uzbekistan won the men’s Javelin with a solid 85.03m throw. His father was a well-known javelin thrower as well and Ivan is already second in the dynasty. The 20-year-old Valeriy Iordan is progressing extremely fast and was second with an 80.85m PB.
Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF