With the five fastest 400metre runners in the world this season at their disposal, Russia always promised to deliver something special in the 4x400 metres relay final at the 10th IAAF World Indoor Championships.
And they lived up to their promise, the unstoppable quartet of lesya Krasnomovets, Olga Kotlyarova, Tatyana Levina and the individual 400m champion, Natalya Nazarova delivering the sixth world record of the weekend, with a breathtaking 3min 23.88sec, 0.37sec better than the best established by their national predecessors in Maebashi five years ago.
The unofficial split times of the Russians as they won this title for the sixth successive occasion were: Krasnomovets 51.4; Kotlyarova 50.1; Levina 52.5 and Nazarova 49.8.
Russia fnished their race the length of the indoor straight ahead of their rivals, who fought out a tremendous battle, with three teams contesting the remaining two medals going into the final leg: Poland leading Belarus, with Romania having worked their way through the field for Maria Rus to hand over to Ionela Tirlea just four metres down on the medal placings.
Poland’s Grazyna Prokopek came under intense pressure, and was finally overtaken by Svetlana Usovich on the final bend, with Tirlea chasing past the Pole to snatch the bronze medal at the last.