Mariya Savinova on her way to 800m victory at the 2012 Moscow Challenge (Alex Kiselev/sportfoto.ru) © Copyright
Luzhniki Olympic Stadium greeted the participants and spectators with pleasant weather conditions - already a good sign for even in June the weather in the Russian capital is sometimes unpredictable. So the equipment was well tested, the judges were at their best and from the point of view of organisers of the Moscow World Championships of 2013 everything went on smoothly.
The Women’s 800m was the moment of truth for the runners and for the public. Savinova, the reigning World champion, won it with such ease that there are no doubts left that she is ready for the Olympic season. Savinova clocked 1:57.95 (splits 27.0 – 57.89 – 1:28.55) ahead of Elena Arzhakova (1:58.28) and Irina Maracheva (1:58.71).
After the race Savinova told reporters that she was satisfied with the result and controlled the race to ensure victory. She also indicated that this may be her last international competition prior to the Olympics, as she’ll leave it up to her coach, Vladimir Kazarin, to decide if she’ll run at the national championship in Cheboksary. She added that she knows that in Russia the rivalry in the 800m is very intense, but she is always doing her utmost and believes she is able to improve her personal best 1:55.87 (2011).
We first turn our attention the sprints where the home team took three of the four races.
Natalya Nazarova was the fastest in the women’s 400m clocking 50.78.Yulia Gushchina who was running in the strongest of two heats clocked 50.87 to finish second.
The men’s 200m was won by Aleksander Brednev (RUS) in 20.58. Two veterans, Ainsley Waugh from Jamaica (20.63) and Briton Christian Malcolm (20.90) finished second and third.
Pavel Trenikhin turned out to be the fastest in the men’s 400m with a 45.92 personal best and Olympic B standard. Vladimir Krasnov (RUS) and Marcus Boyd from the USA who were running in two different heats both clocked 45.68 and shared the second place.
Tameka Williams from the distant Saint Kitts and Nevis was the sure winner at 100m in 11.19. It looks as though runners from these islands, headed by habitual visitor to Moscow Kim Collins, feel very welcome in the Russian capital.
Hungary’s Daniel Kiss had the best personal best among the participants of the Men’s 110m Hurdles and as expected he won in 13.55. Over the full lap, Russian Vladimir Antmanis ran well down the homestretch to win in 49.87 ahead of his 21-year-old team-mate Konstantin Andreev who clocked a PB 49.93. Estonian Rasmus Magi, 20, was third in 50.32.
The men’s 3000m flat and 3000m Steeplechase aren’t distances Russian runners win often, and that didn’t change here. The 3000m was won by Kenyan Cornelius Kongogo in 7:59.92 and the Steeplechase by Ethiopian Birhan Getahun in 8:20.57.
On the women’s side, in the absence of Olympic Champion Gulnara Galkina it was Natalya Gorchakova who won the race 9:35.72.
The national title in the 10,000m was also up for grabs with Elizaveta Grechishnikova, running in the style of the famous Russian long distance runner Vladimir Kutz, taking the title in a gun-to-tape front-running performance in 31:07.90, a personal best. Natalya Popkova (31:55.83) and Inga Abitova (31:55.97) were a very distant second and third.
On the infield -
With Anna Chicherova watching attentively from the tribune, her compatriot Svetlana Shkolina took the High Jump victory with a 1.98 leap before bowing out at 2.01m where she came very close with one attempt. Olympic champion Tia Hellebaut was second at 1.92m.
In the Pole Vault, Polish veteran Przemyslaw Czerwinski beat German Bjorn Otto on countback at 5.60. Russians Dmitry Starodubtsev and Artem Burya both topped 5.50m but the former took third with fewer misses.
There were more Russian victories in the throws. Bogdan Pishchalnikov won Discus Throw with a 64.20m nest effort, topping Hungary’s Robert Fakekas (63.24m) and Turkey’s Ercument Olgudeniz who threw 62.33m for third.
Maksim Sidorov, a European indoor medallist, took Shot Put honours with a 20.86m toss, ahead of compatriots Denis Kurtsev (20.14, PB) and Soslan Tsirikhov (20.01m).
Oksana Gromova won the women’s Javelin with a 57.04m first round effort.
Elsewhere, World University Games champion Yekaterina Koneva took a narrow victory in the women’s Triple Jump, edging Olesya Zabara, 14.36m to 14.35m.
The stadium will be closed beginning Today (12) for major renovations. Even the track will be renewed. All in preparation for the 14th edition of the IAAF World Championships, Moscow 2013, (10 -18 Aug 2013).
Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF
Click here for RESULTS
1999 Women 60m heats