03 JUN 1999 General News

Znamensky memorial opens Russian athletics season


Nikolai Ivanov
4 June 1999Znamensky Memorial All Russia meeting will be held in Moscow on June 4-5. The meeting may have lost IAAF Grand Prix status and stopped to be commercial competition, because of serious financial problems of the All Russia Federation, but the leading Russian athletes are ready to compete in Moscow and to do their best without any money compensation. They have another big motivation.

The winners of the coming Znamensky Memorial will get a place in the national team for the European Cup in Paris. The chief couch of the Russian team Valeriy Kulichenko promised a “ticket” to the World Championships for the athletes who‘ll be first and second in Paris. For the others the selection will continue at the National Championships on July 29-30.

Znamensky Memorial will also become a selection of the team for the Universiade.

The chiefs of Russian athletics said at their press-conference in Moscow that their team is going to be second after the USA team at the World Championships and to win 4-5 gold medals in Sevilla, the German team is considered to be the main rival of Russia, but theyfeel that it is unrealistic to compete against   American athletes for the first place.

The biggest fight at Znamensky Memorial is expected in women’s middle distance running, even though the number one runner Svetlana Masterkova will not participate in the Memorial. She continues her very intensive preparation at the Podolsk sports training center near Moscow and will begin the season later at the national trials, Masterkova wants to become the world champion in 800 and 1500 m.

Irina Privalova is also missing the Znamensky Memorial, because she needs some more time to prepare her season. Privalova is planning to achieve in Sevilla her best results and to run 100 m in 10,75 –10,80.