Tatyana Lebedeva (RUS) wins the Long Jump final in Budapest (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Russian Championships – Day Five - Lebedeva jumps 7.33!

Tula, RussiaIt was the most important day of the championships with 12 medals at stake and today the weather wasn’t at all favourable to the athletes and the head referee had even to take the decision to temporarily stop the competitions for it was practically impossible and even too dangerous to compete during the thunderstorm.
 
Burkenya is not afraid of rains

Danil Burkenya is without any doubt the leader of Russian triple jumpers. In Tula in his first attempt he landed at 17.68 – the third best in the world this year. He lacked only 9 cm to improve the old Russian national record belonging to Kovalenko. It looked like the record would be broken because Danil was in excellent physical form. But the thunderstorm began and the hopes for the new record were forgotten.

Victor Guzshinskiy was second with his personal best –17.22 and Vitaliy Moskalenko also passed the 17 metres with 17.12.
 
The men’s 200 metres is not considered to be a thrilling event but the champion of Russia Oleg Sergeev clocked his personal best and established the highest mark of the season for the home runners –20.51. The winner of the silver medal Sergei Bychkov set his personal best as well with 20.68.

But Bychkov seems to be a double looser at this championship. This is his second silver medal but unfortunately he failed to make the Olympic standard A. So only the winners in sprint namely Andrei Epishin and Oleg Sergeev have real chances to go to Athens.

The women’s 200 metres was a kind of a surprise for Irina Khabarova clocked 22.34 – the third world season best and all other participants of the final ran under 23 seconds.

Only the photo finish determined that Elena Bolsun was second and Ekaterina Kodratieva third with the same time of 22.64.

Tatyana Levina who is the World Indoor champion at 4x400 didn’t manage to make the finals at her main 400 metres distance. She made another attempt and tried the 200 metres where she finished fourth with her personal best – 22.69.
 
Women’s 400m a delight for the public

The women’s 400m turned out to be one of the main events of the championships. All 8 finalists had personal bests of under 51 seconds and even the above-mentioned Levina who missed the final dipped under 51 second in the semi-finals.

It all proves the strength of the Russian women quarter milers.

Natalya  Nazarova won the gold medal with 49.65. Natalya Antuh lost by only two tenths of the second. And the runner from Tula Olesya Zykina won the bronze to the joy of the local fans in 50.44. Tatyana Firova was fourth in 50.53. 

Olga Kotlyarova took only the 5th place in 50.71 - to the disappointment of her numerous admirers. Natalya Ivanova was 6th (50.79) with the last finisher in the final also dipping under 51 seconds (50.97). The first six are likely to be included in the Russian relay team.

Anton Galkin won the men’s 400m final in 44.83 with silver going to Oleg Mishukov – 45.55 and the bronze medal to Andrei Rudnitzkiy – 45.85.
 
The men’s 400m Hurdles was taken by the experienced Boris Gorban in 48.75. The Olympic standard A was also achieved by the silver medal winner Mikhail Lipskiy in 49.16. Aleksandr Derevyagin took the bronze with 49.50.
 
Four world season best at women’s 800m

These results were achieved due to the joint efforts of all the finalists. Even the eighth and last runner made it better than 2 minutes. So this was the fastest heat of the Olympic season. Tatyana Andryanova won the race in 1:56.23 with Paris bronze medallist Natalya Khruzshileva finishing second in 1:56.59. Natalya Lavshuk was third – 1:57.45 while Svetlana Cherkasova who had defeated Mutola was fourth in 1:57.50.

There were no surprises in the men’s 800m with Yuriy Borzakovskiy winning the title in 1:44.72 but the medal was not given to him. Ramil Aritkulov won the silver medal -1:45.28 (he made the Olympic standard A) and the third place was taken by Evgeniy Ivanov – 1:47.42.

In the men’s Pole Vault the winner was determined by a jump off. Vadim Strogalev and Igor Pavlov both cleared 5.70 and surprisingly had the same number of attempts. The judges changed the height five times! Finally Strogalev cleared 5.60 and Pavlov failed to make it. Pavel Gerasimov was third – 5.65.

The men’s long jump was won by Vitaliy Shkurlatov. He was not lucky that night with the wind that changed direction just during his jumps. So his best was only 8.19. Evgeniy Tretyak was second – 8.07 and Ruslan Gataullin the younger brother of the famous pole vaulter Rodion Gataullin was third with exactly 8 metres.

Lebedeva is amazing

Tatyana Lebedeva made four successful attempts – 6.96, 7.22, 7.07 and 7.33 – the latest of which improves the World best/ Naturally she deserved the proper right to be included in the team not only as a triple jumper. May be she’ll be the one to whom the Olympic stadium in Athens will applaud twice? But she has a strong opponent in her team. Irina Simagina made four (!) attempts over 7 meters – 7.11, 7.03, 7.27 and 7.26. Tatyana Kotova took the third place – 6.93.

In the men’s high jump Yaroslav Ribakov and Petr Braiko both cleared 2.30 but only one attempt was required for Ribakov and Braiko made it at the second one. The 20 year old Aleksei Dmitrik was the third – 2.26. The former world champion Vuatcheslav Voronin finished fourth – 2.24.

Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF