|10,000 Metres Race Walk||39:33.91||Yalta||29 MAY 2010|
|10 Kilometres Race Walk||38:50||Voronovo||30 AUG 2014|
|20 Kilometres Race Walk||1:18:37||Taicang||04 MAY 2014|
|5000 Metres Race Walk||18:21.76||Samara||30 JAN 2014|
|10,000 Metres Race Walk||39:26.90||Sumy||16 FEB 2012|
|2016||40:23||Rio de Janeiro (Pontal)||12 AUG|
|2012||40:34||London (The Mall)||04 AUG|
|2017||1:22:26||London (The Mall)||13 AUG|
|2015||1:21:25||Rio Maior||18 APR|
|2011||1:21:31||Daegu (DS)||28 AUG|
|2006||1:27:16||La Coruña||13 MAY|
|2017||19:24.6||Kyiv (KMSVSM)||09 JAN|
|IAAF World Championships London 2017||27||1:22:26||London (The Mall)||13 AUG 2017|
|The XXXI Olympic Games||16||1:21:40||Rio de Janeiro (Pontal)||12 AUG 2016|
|IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships||9||1:20:33||Roma||07 MAY 2016|
|15th IAAF World Championships||21||1:23:37||Beijing (National Stadium)||23 AUG 2015|
|IAAF World Race Walking Cup 2014||1||1:18:37||Taicang||04 MAY 2014|
|14th IAAF World Championships||7||1:22:14||Moskva (Luzhniki)||11 AUG 2013|
|The XXX Olympic Games||30||1:23:21||London (The Mall)||04 AUG 2012|
|IAAF World Race Walking Cup 2012||3||1:20:17||Saransk||12 MAY 2012|
|13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||5||1:21:31||Daegu (DS)||28 AUG 2011|
|12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||32||1:27:01||Berlin||15 AUG 2009|
|23rd IAAF World Race Walking Cup||52||1:25:26||Cheboksary||10 MAY 2008|
|22nd IAAF World Race Walking Cup||52||1:27:16||La Coruña||13 MAY 2006|
Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.
Updated 21 April 2014
Ruslan DMYTRENKO, Ukraine (20 km Race Walk)
Born: 22 March 1986 in Kirovo village in Kyiv region
Coach: Denys Tobias
Sport club: CSKA
Ruslan Dmytrenko was the best runner in his school class, but never dreamed to become an athlete. He likes basketball better than all other sports, but never had ability to play this game. He tried many sports and was successful enough in boxing. In his 8th year at school, Ruslan took 4th place at national championships in the youth category, but after a jaw fracture he didn’t want to continue his boxing training.
Fortunately, at that time the schoolteacher of physical culture introduced Ruslan to athletics coach Oleksandr Grygorenko. Dmytrenko passed the school examinations and athletics tests to enter the Sport College in Brovary and joined the group of middle distance runners. However, in his 10th year at college, at about 16, Dmytrenko achieved 2.07.00 at 800m with great difficulty and got additional evidence that he has to change specialisation.
“My coach had trained walkers some years before and suggested I try Race Walking as well. To be honest, I had no choice if I wanted to continue my studies at the Sports College. I started to do Race Walking but I hated everything I did during practice. I wanted to jump and run like all my peers, but I had to do very special exercises and covered lap after lap in the stadium accompanied by mockeries and misunderstandings from my friends. I did a lot of technical work and it looked like daily drilling. Nevertheless, my technique became perfect very soon,” Dmytrenko recalls.
In 2003 Ruslan entered Kyiv Sport University and changed coach. A very few months later he won the annual competitions for “Zerkalo nedeli” newspaper prize and was invited to the group of the senior coach of the Ukrainian Race Walking team, Anatoliy Solomin. Dmytrenko began to attend different seaside and altitude training camps and followed the example of stronger group-mates from the national team during his practice.
The first results were evident already in 2005, when Dmytrenko first won the National Winter Race Walking Championships among juniors clocking 42:27 at 10km on 5 March, and two month later debuted in the national junior team at the European Cup Race Walking in Miskolc, where he finished 6th and improved his PB by 12 seconds. After another victory at the national champs in Sumy on 3 June with 42:20:98 at 10,000m, Ruslan cherished hopes for a podium spot at the European Junior Championships in Kaunas, but emotions “burned him out” before competitions started. He was only 11th to finish with a modest 44:02:00.
In 2006, Ruslan’s training loads became double those of previous years, as he had to move up to 20km distance. “Certainly, I became stronger, faster and a greater stayer. During 2006-2008 I was gaining in strength that is why my results grew, in the way they should, but I constantly was unsuccessful at major events. If in 2006 I took my 52nd place at World Race Walking Cup in La Coruña as more or less a good achievement, in 2008 I was too upset when I was 52nd to finish again at the same competitions in Cheboksary,” Dmytrenko says. “That time I felt very powerful and aimed to clock the B qualifying standard for the Beijing Olympics, but I could do nothing! That was the last drop which made the cup overflow. I started to look attentively at training methods of our other walkers and was very interested in the practices of Oleksiy Kazanin. I spoke to his coach Denys Tobias and asked him to give me the chance to join his group. Denys was young, very curious, enthusiastic about new approaches for practices and his eyes lit up when he spoke about Race Walking. His sincerity won my heart!”
In autumn 2008, Dmytrenko went to Donetsk for his first training camp with the new coach. “I’ll never forget my first practice in Denys Tobias’ group. We walked 8km and I had no power to overcome even half the length of road. Much later, coach told me that he was shocked and cast doubt on the rightness of his decision.”
That was a difficult time for Dmytrenko. Ruslan had to make frequent trips from Kyiv to Donetsk though his financial condition was far from satisfactory and his wife was pregnant. But Dmytrenko was so inspired by training in the new group that he wasn’t going to give up. Personal contact and frank communication with the coach solved many problems. Tobias explained for the newcomer why they do one or another work, what is the reason of any training change and what results it should bring.
As a result, Dmytrenko made an unexpected breakthrough at the National Winter Race Walking Championships in Yevpatoria, taking the win and improving his PB to 1:21:50. More than 2 months later, he finished 15th at the European Cup Race Walking in Metz, where the very hot weather conditions forced almost half the participants to withdraw from the race. Despite a lowly 1:30:50 result in France, Dmytrenko was very positive about his shape and aimed to make the qualifying standard for the World Championships in Belin. He won once more national championships in Sumy with a solid 1:21:21, but that course was not certificated by the IAAF. That is why Ruslan decided to take part in the World University Games in Belgrade. Though Dmytrenko was 7th to finish in the Serbian capital, his result (1:22:46) was quite enough to book the ticket to Berlin.
“I fulfilled my objective in Beograd, but I lost the desire to continue the season. I definitely felt tired,” Dmytrenko explained. “I had never had such a long season before. My training became more intensive, but my body wasn’t ready to manage and transform this into strong result. We started to experiment on training loads but unsuccessfully. I was 33rd to finish in Berlin with 1:27:01 only. In any case, of all people I should be the last one to complain. I was happy to go to the first World Championships in my career.”
Dmytrenko devoted 2010 to increasing the speed. At the National Cup in Yalta on 29 May he improved his PB at 10,000 to 39:33.91 and was very satisfied with his achievement. Inexplicably however, at the same time his results at 20km were very unstable. Going to the European Championships in Barcelona, Dmytrenko couldn’t even predict what time he was ready to clock in the race. Finally, 1:22:45 and 12th place upset him too much.
Early performances in 2011 plunged Dmytrenko into panic. He couldn’t understand what was happening. First 1:24:52 at the National Champs in February, then 1:26:42 at the international meeting in Lugano and finally 1:32:55 at the European Cup Race Walking in Olhão… “It was too much for one season,” Dmytrenko grieves. “In Olhão I walked the most hellish 20km in my life! I was ready to leave the race after 2nd km and I had 18km more ahead! I even didn’t remember my finish as all the race was like torture for me,” Ruslan recalls. “After a whole number of failures my coach was sure I’d retire from athletics, but on the contrary I was more motivated and very angry after such setbacks and aimed to rehabilitate myself as soon as possible.”
Dmytrenko asked the national team management to give him the chance to perform on a certificated course to achieve the entry standard for the World Championships in Daegu, instead of participation at the National Championships in Sumy, and went to Russian Saransk.
“It was the first time in my life when I understood what second breathe means. Until the 15th km I just worked hard and kept my patience, but then I felt like somebody pushed me on to the finish. I flew each of the last 5km under 4 minutes! I even forgot I could walk with such speed.”
Dmytrenko clocked 1:22:20 in Saransk and was included into the national team for Daegu. He even withdrew from competing at the World University Games to have enough time for specific preparation for the Worlds. He came to South Korea confident in success and ready to show his great shape. However, if anybody had said to him that he would be able to be in top 10 to finish in Daegu, Dmytrenko would have burst out laughing.
“It was unbelievable. I looked in wide-eyed astonishment when I passed one strong rival after other on the Daegu course,” Dmytrenko says. “Shivers ran down my spine and I developed a taste for real fight. When I finished 7th with 1:21:31 I even could not to trust my eyes.”
After such success, Dmytrenko was included in the national Olympic team. He was granted bonuses and scholarship by the state and received ability to prepare at different training camps abroad. As a result, his speed grew appreciably. On 5 February 2012 Dmytrenko broke the 20-year-old 5000m National Indoor Record at the Russian Winter meeting in Moscow, clocking 18:44.45. Ten days later, he won the National Indoor Championships in Sumy at 10,000m a with perfect PB 39:26.90 and opened his outdoor season at the annual Race Walking meeting in Lugano clocking another personal best, 1:20:19 over 20km on 18 March, which allowed him to prepare for the World Race Walking Cup with optimism. He was very spiritual and inspired going to Saransk.
“I knew I could fight for medals there, but even being 4th with PB 1:20:17, I felt like I had won the event,” Dmytrenko smiles. “Finally we took 3rd place in team competitions and it became the greatest achievement of Ukrainian race walkers in the international arena.”
Preparing for the London Olympics, Dmytrenko had two altitude training camps in Kislovodsk, but unfortunately he injured his foot one month before the Olympic Games. Different methods of treatment didn’t bring any results. Ruslan trained with strong pain. Doctors advised him to take just two-week break from practice for full rehabilitation, but Dmytrenko had no time to relax.
“Usually I don’t pay attention to any pain if I prepare for major competitions, but that situation was critical,” Dmytrenko says with sadness. “I couldn’t do all the work we planned for London and undermined my health trying different treatments. I lost my shape gradually and I didn’t know what I have to expect from my London performance. It would be a miracle or nothing… but miracle did not happen.”
Dmytrenko was only 30th at the London Olympics with a modest 1:23:21. He took two months holidays and came back for training in November only, full of power. Pain disappeared as if he never had it before, but Ruslan wasn’t in a hurry to force his preparation and missed all the 2013 indoor season.
His preparation for the summer season was excellent. He was in great condition two weeks before the European Cup Race Walking, but caught the flu with fever about 40 degrees. As the result, he didn’t have power and energy to compete, but even feeling too weak Dmytrenko was 5th in Dudince and fought hard till the last metre of the distance.
Like two years before, Dmytrenko withdrew from the Universiade, but the coaches kindly asked him to go to Kazan as a reserve. “We discussed that with my coach and decided that one more performance before World Championships will not damage our preparation,” Dmytrenko says. “It would be a training race for me, but I take every competition with full responsibility. Moreover, I didn’t know what result I was ready for, as we had made some experiments in training and I came to Kazan only 5 days after an altitude training camp.”
The experiment was successful. Dmytrenko was 2nd at the World University Games with solid a 1:20:54 and they decided to repeat that model of preparation before the World Championships, but the timing was a little off. Coming to Moscow, Dmytrenko felt too loaded.
“I was in good shape but I didn’t feel fresh,” Ruslan explains. “I worked hard all the distance and when I already came into the stadium, I saw only blinking stars before my eyes and the backs of my rivals. I made huge kick to overcome two of them, but it was my greatest mistake! I didn’t know I had to walk one lap more inside the stadium. After stopping short, I threw myself on for further fight. I remember well I saw the marks of the 200m start line and… nothing more! I recovered consciousness much later in an ambulance car and couldn’t understand what had happened. I even didn’t remember whether I was able to cross the finish line or no. Fortunately, yes (1;22:14), but I was too disappointed when I heard that I finished only 7th, especially as only 9 seconds divided the 4th and 7th placers. However, everything that happened in Moscow did not implant doubt in my mind. Quite the contrary I became more self-confident and felt the desire for a sporting revenge.”
After Moscow, the sport tandem Dmytrenko – Tobias made very deep analysis of Ruslan’s international experience. They took notice of an interesting fact: when Ruslan has indoor competitions at 5000m, his speed increases and then he prepares for summer season more easily. That is why Dmytrenko went to Samara on 30 January to take part in the Governor Cup, where he improved the National Indoor record at 5000m once more, to 18:21.76. He was included in the national team for World Race Walking Cup in Taicang without any trials, but Dmytrenko confirmed his great shape at the international meeting in Lugano with another personal best, 1:20:08, and a resolute victory.
“I liked how easily I did it,” Dmytrenko smiles. “I didn’t have the goal to win in Lugano, but just to walk following my own rhythm and time-schedule. It is interesting to note that I passed 10km mark to the second – 40:30. The last 4km I walked enjoying everything I do.”
All of April 2014 Dmytrenko spent in an altitude (900m) training camp in Turkey. “I am in good shape, I train to my heart's content and look forward to a great fight in Taicang. I don’t want to make any predictions. My result in Taicang will show if my feeling are truthful,” said Dmytrenko two weeks before the World Race Walking Cup in China.
Ruslan Dmytrenko graduated from Kyiv National Sports University as teacher of physical culture and coach in athletics. He was married on September 16, 2007. His son Nikita was born on 13 February 12009.
One week before any competition, Ruslan doesn’t listen to any music, focusing on future events and accumulating energy.
His hobby is fishing and his largest catch is a 6.2kg carp.
5000m Indoor: 18:21.76 NR (2014)
10,000m: Outdoor 39:33.91 (2010) / Indoor 39:26.90 (2012)
20km: 1:20:08 (2014)
20km: 2006: 1:27:16; 2007: 1:23:31; 2008: 1:25:26; 2009: 1:21:21; 2010: 1:21:54; 2011: 1:21:31; 2012: 1:20:17; 2013: 1:20:38; 2014: 1:20:08
European Cup Race Walking (Miskolc) (10km)
European Junior Championships (Kaunas) (10,000m)
World Race Walking Cup (La Coruña)
European Cup Race Walking (Leamington)
European U23 Championships (Debrecen)
World Race Walking Cup (Cheboksary)
European Cup Race Walking (Metz)
World University Games (Belgrade)
World Championships (Berlin)
European Championships (Barcelona)
European Cup Race Walking (Olhão)
World Championships (Daegu)
World Race Walking Cup (Saransk)
Olympic Games (London)
European Cup Race Walking (Dudince)
World University Games (Kazan)
World Championships (Moscow)
Prepared by Liudmyla Iakusheva for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2014.