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left to right - Yelena Soboleva and Yulia Fomenko (then Chizhenko) compete at the 2006 World Indoor Championships (AFP / Getty Images) © Copyright

Moscow, RussiaTwo World records were broken on the third day of the Russian Indoor championships, with Yelena Soboleva at 1500m and a Sverdlovsk region quartet at 4x800m Relay setting the fastest times ever in their respective events**.

There was also a European men’s 4x800m record and a 2.38m world season lead in the men’s High Jump, in what was a spectacular day’s action.

Soboleva - originally undecided even about competing at the champs!

It looks like the 25-year-old Russian who is the World Indoor (2006) and outdoor (2007) 1500m silver medallist, is running with records in her mind at every start this season.

On the 27 January at the ‘Russian Winter’ tournament Yelena Soboleva bettered the national record in the Mile, and yesterday (8 Feb) set a national indoor 800m record of 1:56.49 on the second day of the national indoor championships records. Now today she improved her own World Indoor record at 1500m to 3:58.05.

At the beginning of the Olympic season Soboleva declared that there would be only one important tournament in her schedule, the Olympic Games for which she would try to get prepared steadily and meticulously. Before the Russian Indoor Nationals she even admitted that her decision whether or not to take part in the indoor championships for the sake of more important victories this summer in Beijing had not been an uneasy one.

The decision of Soboleva and her coach Matvey Teliatnikov to take part in the championships seems to have been vindicated. At the very least she will have shocked her opponents around the world.

The women's 1500m is always one of the most attractive events of the programme of the Russian Nationals, and this race was no exception.

It was not the World record holder Yelena Soboleva who took the lead from the very start, rather it was World Indoor champion Yulia Fomenko better known under her maiden name ‘Chizhenko’ who lead the race - 400m: 1:02.83; 800m: 2:06.15; 1000m: 2:38.56.

It was at 1000m that Soboleva switched into top gear, accelerating to take the lead - 1200m: 3:11.24; 1400m: 3:45.00 - and finally the line as victor in 3:58.05. Soboleva looked happy after her record race and a bit surprised as she hadn't been aiming to beat her previous World record mark of 3:58.28 which she had set on the 18 February 2006.

It should be noted that Fomenko wasn't acting like a pace-maker. There was no agreement between the two athletes, just a tough battle the epilogue of which was the World record. Fomenko failed to pass the 4 minutes mark but her result was also excellent, 4:00.21. Yekaterina Martynova finished 3rd with a new European indoor best for under-23 athletes of 4:03.56.

The fastest women are living in Sverdlovsk region

The 4x800m relay is rather popular in Russia because of the popularity of the women's 800m. There are so many excellent women runners in Russia that the battle for berths in  he national team is always really tough. So that's why a lot of runners take with pleasure the opportunity to participate in national level competitions.

The decision to try and better the World record in the 4x800m Relay wasn't a spontaneous one and the efforts particularly of two runners made the pre-race dreams of their Sverdlovsk region quartet come true today.

It was obvious that the result of the lead-off runner Yevgeniya Zinurova left much to be desired, only 2:04.01 but the highly experienced Olga Kotlyarova then blasted out 2:01.8 on the second leg only to have Marina Savinova bring them back down with 2:06.8. But on anchor was Natalya Ignatova and she was in fine form repeating Kotlyarova's time — 2:01.8, giving an overall clocking of 8:14.53. That time was over four seconds better than the previous World Indoor record set by a squad from Moscow (8:18.54) on 11 February 2007 in Volograd.

Borzakovskiy helps to set a European men’s 4x800m record

Olympic 800m champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy at first hesitated. Was it worth the effort to take part in 4x800m relay? But finally he decided with his coach Evstratov that he would help his teammates from the Moscow region try to better the European 4x800m record, a really old one as it had been set 37 years ago.

Roman Trubetzkoy and Dmitriy Bukreev were rather slow but Dmitriy Bogdanov was at his best running 1:47.5, and that left it to Borzakovskiy to bring the quartet’s baton home. Borzakovskiy started with an unusual acceleration for him and it was evident that he was controlling the race, and after his glorious finish he admitted that he had had time to look at the big clock in the arena. His result was fantastic, a 1:44.5 800m leg that permitted him and the whole squad to set the new European record of 7:15.77.

“I want to be like Yuriy”

The men's 1500m winner today was Yuriy Koldin, who has mainly been an 800m runner in the past. He clocked 3:41.96 and even had time enough to look back for his opponents. Asked about switching from 800m to 1500m permanently he said with a smile: “No, I'd rather stick to 800m. For this is the distance that Yuriy Borzakovskiy is running. And I'd like to be like him.”

Rybakov leaps 2.38 world season lead

The men's High Jump is always an event Russians are watching with great interest. There were and there are so many world class high jumpers in the country. One of them is reigning World Indoor champion Yaroslav Rybakov. Today he tried to beat the national record after successfully clearing the bar at 2.38m, which is the current world season lead.

Rybakov tried to conquer the peak of 2.40m and he was very close to conquering this personal Everest twice. Alas, he did not succeed this time.

In second place, Andrei Tereshin cleared 2.36m bettering his best result of the season by 12cm, while European champion Andrei Silnov lost the runner’s-up spot on count-back, after also clearing 2.36. The young prodigy Ivan Ukhov and Aleksei Lmitrik both cleared 2.33m.

Feofanova is flying rather high

In the absence of World record holder Yelena Isinbaeva, it was Svetlana Feofanova who won the women’s Pole Vault clearing 4.60m on her first effort. Anastasiya Shevedova did the same height but on her second effort, and Yulia Golubchikova won the bronze also with 4.60m which came on her third effort.

14.51m for Pyatykh

Anna Pyatykh improved her season’s best with 14.51m in the women's Triple Jump. Her previous 2008 best had been 14.23 (29 Jan). Her two opponents today, Olesya Bufalova and Oksana Udmurtova, were not far behind, both producing 14.43m with the former taking second place by virtue of a better second jump.

In Women's Shot Put, it was Anna Omarova who took the win with 19.09m, the second best mark of the current indoor season. Anna Avdeeva got a well deserved silver with 18.88 and Irina Khudorozhkina was third on the podium (18.18).

A women's 4x200m relay squad from St-Petersburg (Ludmila Zuenko, Aleksandra Sorokina, Elizaveta Savineyes and Marina Kislova) ran 1:35.48, and a Sverdlovsk region won the men’s 4x200m relay (1:24.87).

Vitaliy Shkurlatov won the Men's Long Jump (7.83m).

Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF

Click here for RESULTS


**NB. World Indoor records subject to the usual ratification procedures