Despite his below-par performance at his only other outdoor outing this summer, London 2012 Olympic Games champion Ivan Ukhov was still the High Jump favourite on the third day of the World University Games in Kazan, but he found himself upstaged by his compatriot Sergey Mudrov on Tuesday.
Ukhov, who could only clear 2.21m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene last month, went over 2.28m in front of his home audience but this was only good enough for for fifth place.
Mudrov, a former European junior champion, and Ukraine’s Andriy Protsenko both scaled 2.31m, in both cases equalling their personal bests, while Ukhov and two others failed at that height.
Both Mudrov and Protsenko then failed at 2.34m three times and the gold went to the Russian as he had got over 2.31m at the first time of asking while his rival had taken three attempts. China’s Wang Yu took the bronze medal at 2.28m on countback from Australia’s Nic Bojic and Ukhov.
If Ukhov had a competition to forget, it was a day to remember for the rest of the Russian team who took five of the other nine gold medals on offer in front of many of their athletes family and friends.
The first event of the day was the 20km Race Walk. Immediately after the start, Russia’s Andrey Ruzavin took the lead and had a 50 seconds advantage at the halfway point on the slightly undulating 1km course.
However, he started to struggle from the 17th kilometre and his compatriot Andrey Krivov came through to win in a new Games record of 1:20:47, with Ukraine’s Rusian Dmytrenko just seven seconds behind him.
Russia’s Vladimir Krasnov won the 400m in 45.49, just ahead of Brazil’s Andreson Henriques in 45.50. Jamaica’s Nicholas Maitland took the bronze in a personal best of 45.63.
The hosts also took the honours over one lap of the track in the women’s 400m when Ksenia Ustalova won in 50.60, followed home by her teammate Alena Tamkova in a best of 51.17.
In the 1500m, Kenya’s Paul Chelimo led into the home straight, but Russia’s Valentin Smirnov came through to win in 3:39.39 as Chelimo faded to sixth.
The last field event of the day saw Russia take gold and silver for the host country. World leader and 2011 World champion Mariya Abakumova won with 65.12m and Victoriya Sudarushkina was the only other woman over 60 metres when she finished second with 62.68m.
Ukraine’s Viktor Kuznetsov won the Triple Jump when he jumped 17.01m in the fifth round and there was more success for the host’s neighbours as Hanna Titimets and Anna Yaroshchuk were first and second in the 400m Hurdles in 54.64 and 54.77 respectively.
Kazakhstan’s Margarita Mukasheva was a most impressive winner when she took the 800m gold medal in a national record of 1:58.96.
The Decathlon overnight leader, Belgium’s Thomas Van Der Plaetsen, lost some of his advantage in the first two events of the second day but he showed his strength in the Pole Vault when clearing 5.30m and no one could challenge him during the remaining two events before eventually taking the title in a personal best of 8157.
Hans van Kuijen