Ilya Markov

Athlete Profile

    Russia Russia
    19 JUN 1972
Ilya Markov (RUS) - 1999 World champion and 2001 silver medallist - 20km Race Walk (Getty Images)

Personal Best - Outdoor

Performance Wind Place Date
3000 Metres Race Walk 11:32.0 Kielce 15 SEP 2007
5000 Metres Race Walk 18:41.44 Spala 17 JUN 2000
10,000 Metres Race Walk 39:13.60 Riga 28 MAY 2004
10 Kilometres Race Walk 38:21 Hildesheim 27 AUG 2006
15 Kilometers Race Walk 1:02:46 Calella 15 OCT 2006
20,000 Metres Race Walk 1:22:09.8 Brisbane 04 SEP 2001
20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:18:17 Adler 12 MAR 2005

Personal Best - Indoor

Performance Wind Place Date
3000 Metres Race Walk 11:08.2 Hlohovec 04 DEC 1992
5000 Metres Race Walk 18:36.71 Spala 22 FEB 1999

Progression - Outdoor

3000 Metres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2007 11:32.0 Kielce 15 SEP

5000 Metres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2008 19:16.52 Biala Podlaska 31 MAY
2007 19:20.38 Kielce 15 SEP
2006 19:01.24 Biala Podlaska 27 MAY
2005 19:07.27 Kraków 03 SEP
2001 18:46.96 Biala Podlaska 02 JUN
2000 18:41.44 Spala 17 JUN
1996 19:12.79 Grosseto 11 SEP

10,000 Metres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2004 39:13.60 Riga 28 MAY
2003 39:33.16 Catania 06 DEC
2002 39:55.85 Riga 31 MAY
1998 39:15.6 Nitra 18 APR
1990 39:55.52 Plovdiv (Deveti Septemvri Stadium) 10 AUG
1989 41:32.68 Kharkov 02 JUN

10 Kilometres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2008 39:57 Madrid 26 APR
2007 38:25 San Fernando 03 FEB
2006 38:21 Hildesheim 27 AUG
2005 38:52 Kraków 17 SEP
2004 38:46 Adler 08 FEB
2002 39:01 Kraków 08 JUN
2001 38:22 01 JAN
2000 38:42 01 JAN

15 Kilometers Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2006 1:02:46 Calella 15 OCT

20,000 Metres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2001 1:22:09.8 Brisbane 04 SEP

20 Kilometres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2008 1:19:04 Cheboksary 10 MAY
2007 1:18:56 Cheboksary 17 JUN
2006 1:18:18 Yangzhou 22 APR
2005 1:18:17 Adler 12 MAR
2004 1:19:25 Adler 08 FEB
2003 1:20:05 Adler 01 MAR
2001 1:19:36 Calella 22 APR
2000 1:20:53 Turku 21 MAY
1999 1:18:50 Turku 22 MAY
1998 1:19:46 Turku 24 MAY
1997 1:18:30 Podébrady 19 APR
1996 1:18:48 Sochi 20 APR
1995 1:18:53 Adler 11 FEB
1994 1:24:07 Livorno 12 JUN
1993 1:20:19 Adler 14 FEB
1992 1:23:27 Balassagyarmat 19 SEP

Progression - Indoor

3000 Metres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
1992 11:08.2 Hlohovec 04 DEC

5000 Metres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2007 18:56.31 Ekaterinburg 07 JAN
2006 18:48.76 Ekaterinburg 07 JAN
2005 18:45.83 Ekaterinburg 07 JAN
2004 18:54.14 Ekaterinburg 07 JAN
2003 18:58.69 Ekaterinburg 07 JAN
2002 19:48.0 Samara 03 FEB
2001 18:55.5 Ekaterinburg 07 JAN
1999 18:36.71 Spala 22 FEB

Honours - 10,000 Metres Race Walk

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
3rd IAAF World Junior Championships 1 39:55.52 Plovdiv (Deveti Septemvri Stadium) 10 AUG 1990

Honours - 20 Kilometres Race Walk

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
The XXIX Olympic Games 17 1:22:02 Beijing (National Stadium) 16 AUG 2008
23rd IAAF World Race Walking Cup 4 1:19:04 Cheboksary 10 MAY 2008
11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 9 1:24:35 Osaka (Nagai Stadium) 26 AUG 2007
10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics f DQ Helsinki (Olympic Stadium) 06 AUG 2005
21st IAAF World Race Walking Cup 0 DQ Naumburg 02 MAY 2004
9th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 8 1:20:14 Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France) 23 AUG 2003
8th IAAF World Championships 2 1:20:33 Edmonton (Commonwealth Stadium) 04 AUG 2001
27th Olympic Games 15 1:23:03 Sydney (Olympic Stadium) 22 SEP 2000
7th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 1 1:23:34 Sevilla (La Cartuja) 21 AUG 1999
19th IAAF World Race Walking Cup 7 1:21:42 Mézidon-Canon 01 MAY 1999
6th IAAF World Championships In Athletics f DQ Athína (Olympic Stadium) 02 AUG 1997
18th IAAF WORLD RACE WALKING CUP 3 1:18:30 Podébrady 19 APR 1997
XXVI Olympic Games 2 1:20:16 Atlanta (Olympic Stadium), GA 26 JUL 1996
5th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 4 1:21:28 Göteborg (Ullevi Stadium) 06 AUG 1995
17th IAAF/REEBOK World Race Walking Cup 30 1:24:52 Beijing 29 APR 1995

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Updated 08 August 2008

Ilya MARKOV, Russia (5000m, 10/20 km Walk)

Born: 19 June 1972, Asbest
Height: 1.78m; weight: 65kg.
Lives: Krakow, Poland.
Coaches: Alexander Krasilnikov (1986-95), Vasily Semenov (1995-2004), Robert Korzeniowski (2004 – to date)

“I am living evidence that Race Walking in Russia exists not only in Mordoviya,” Ilya Markov said with a smile. He is also the evidence that it is possible to race at the highest level up to 36.

Markov was born in the small town of Asbest in the Ural. He started Race Walking at 14 under his first coach, Alexander Krasilnikov. In juniors, Markov won the World Championship (10,000m track) in 1990 and, in 1994, made the senior national team. In 1995, Markov was 4th in 20km at the World Championships, in Göteborg.

At the 1996 Olympic Games, in Atlanta, Markov was second in the 20km Walk behind Jefferson Perez, of Ecuador. “In that race I know it was in my power to beat Perez, I was physically able to win,” Markov said.  “But I made a tactical mistake. I started the finishing spurt at the last 3km, which was too early. I was young and, actually, silver was great for me. Nobody expected it, including myself.”

The four years between Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 were the most successful in Markov’s career. In 1998 he won the European Championships (20km) in Budapest and, in 1999, the World Championships (20km) in Sevilla. Unlike in Atlanta, Markov approached the 2000 Olympics as one of the hot favourites. However, a car accident destroyed his hopes and he finished 15th in Sydney. In the circumstances, this was a fine achievement.

“A month before the Games we were having the final training camp in New Zealand,” Markov said. “One of the team managers met me in the airport and we were heading to the hotel. Suddenly we were smashed by some other car. I got a serious back injury. The doctors were sure there was no chance for me to compete at the Olympics. But this was my dream. I could not give up that easily. So I raced, although 15th place was, at that moment, really my maximum.”

The profit lost with the potential Olympic medal is impossible to measure. “I never went to court and did not get any compensation from the driver of that car in New Zealand,” Markov said. “The accident was for sure his fault. But it’s impossible to prove that, but for this accident, I would have won in Sydney.”

At the 2001 World Championships, in Edmonton, still competing over 20km, Markov regained his position near the top. At a dominant Russian podium Markov (2nd) stood between the champion, Roman Rasskazov, and Viktor Burayev. “The championships in Edmonton are still special for me,” Markov said. “First, because we were three Russians on the podium. Second, because it still remains the last successful World Championships in my career.”

In the 2003 World Championships, in Paris, Markov was only 8th, although his time was 19sec quicker than he recorded in Edmonton. What was missing? “I really feel I am getting older,” Markov said. “I need more time for rehabilitation. The training routine seems harder. And lots of young guys come out always ready to occupy my place.”

The 2004 Olympics, in Athens, were expected by most specialists to be a swansong for Markov. For the Russians, the first qualifying stage was at the World Cup, in Naumburg, Germany. There Markov was only one kilometre from the finish, and a place in the Olympic team, when he was disqualified. The last chance to qualify he also missed, finishing third at the trials with places awarded to the first two. “I was thinking of ending my career,” Markov recalled. “But I decided to give myself the last chance. This chance is called Robert Korzeniowski”.

The winner of four Olympic gold medals (3 at 50km, 1 at 20km) from Poland, Korzeniowski retired after his 50km triumph at Athens 2004. Markov, who is only four years younger than Korzeniowski, recalled: “We are old and very close friends. One day, in 2004, I came up to him and asked him to be my coach. He answered that this would be an interesting new challenge for him.”

Markov went to Poland for training but still kept a place to live in Russia. Gradually, though, he was spending more and more time in Poland and, in 2005, he moved there full-time. “Now I rent an apartment in Krakow and speak Polish fluently,” he said. “I am even planning to build a house for my family here.”

The relationship between Korzeniowski and Markov is not typical coach/athlete. Their friendship still remains the basis. “He does not give me any commands,” Markov explained. “Robert writes the training plan, we discuss it, and only if we both agree, do I start to fulfill it. If I feel I need something else, I tell him, and we can make changes at any time”.

The World champion and the Olympic medallist from Spain, Francisco Javier Fernandez, is now also training in the same group with Markov. “The competition in training does not bother me,” Markov said. “We three, with Robert and Javier, are really very close. Robert now can’t stand our tempo in Race Ralking but he walks for pleasure to keep fit. Believe me, when you work with friends, with people you trust, it feels really great”.

Beijing 2008 will be the last Olympic chance for Markov. “I won’t wait another four years till London 2012,” he insisted.

The goal to qualify looked challenging. At the World Cup, in Cheboksary, Markov needed to be in the top 8 (and in the best 2 Russians). Otherwise he would have to win the Russian Championships in summer to get the Olympic place. “My plan is to win my last Olympic medal in Beijing,” he said. “I know I can peak my form only once a season, so this peak definitely must come in August. However, I first had to qualify for the World Cup in the winter trials in February, now I have to be fit again to qualify for the Olympics. It’s hard but it’s my last chance. I will give all the power I have to use it.”

In Cheboksary Markov used his best advantage - experience. By the middle of the distance he was walking 4th, with Fernandez being first and another Russian, Valery Borchin - second. "By the 10 km mark I realised I would not win the race, - Markov recalls. - To be honest, even before the start I was almost sure Fernandez was going to win. As we train together I saw he was in a perfect shape. So on the second half the most important thing for me was not to get any judges' notices and just walk to the finish. I was 4th and in the best two Russians - everything needed to reach my goal to qualify".

Markov's goal to qualify was achieved, but the victory from Fernandez was impressive indeed. Will Markov be able to beat his training partner at the Olympics? "I'll try", - Ilya smiles in answer, as his coach Robert Korzeniowsky is joking: "I've started forming my own team - Team Korzeniowsky. If we look at the results of the World Cup in Cheboksary, my team was second overall after Russia. Francisco won, Ilya was fourth and the Irishman Robert Heffernann - ninth. In Beijing it will be a tough battle but I believe in my guys. I don't want to say anything specific about one of them. What is most important - we are all friends. This is probably the secret of success".

At 35, Markov is the only athlete in the Russian Race Walking team training abroad. “I like to be independent,” he said. Only Korzeniowski influences his training process. “I very seldom go to the training camps with the national team,” Markov explained.

Markov is thinking of following Korzeniowski’s path - win at the Olympics then move into coaching. “I think that, after Beijing, I will become a coach, probably in Poland,” he said. “I know I will never be a fierce and authoritative coach. I like democracy. And I would be happy if I have the chance to share my experience with some young athletes.”     

Personal Bests

5000m: 18:41.44 (2000)
10 km: 38:21 (2006)
20 km: 1:18:17 (2005)

Yearly Progression

5000/10km/20km: 1992: -/-/1:23:27; 1993: -/-/1:20:19; 1994: -/-/1:24:07; 1995: -/-/1:18:53; 1996: 19:12.79/-/1:18:48; 1997: -/-/1:18:30; 1998: -/-/1:19:46; 1999: -/-/1:18:50; 2000: 18:41.44/38:42/1:20:53; 2001: 18:46.96/38:22/1:19:36; 2002: 19:48.0/39:01/-; 2003: -/-/1:20:05; 2004: -/38:46/1:19:25; 2005: 19:07.27/38:52/1:18:17; 2006: 19:01.24/38:21/1:18:18. 2007: 19:20.38/38:25/1:18:56; 2008: -/-/1:19:04.

Career Highlights

1990     1st  World Junior Championships (10km)
1995     4th    World Championships (20 km)
1996     2nd  Olympic Games (20km)
1997     3rd    World Race Walking Cup (20km)
1998     1st   European Championships (20km)
1999     1st   World Championships (20km)
2000   15th Olympic Games (20km)
2001     2nd  World Championships (20km
2003     8th  World Championships (20km)
2007   9th    World Championships (20km)   
2008   4th    World Race Walking Cup (20 km)

Prepared by Natalia Maryanchik for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008

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