Natalya Antyukh in Torino (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Tula, Russia

Antyukh’s 54.19 in the 400m Hurdles the chief highlight at Russian Cup in Tula

The Russian Cup provided the final opportunity for Russian athletes to achieve qualification for the upcoming World championships. Natalya Antyukh took full advantage winning the 400m Hurdles in 54.19.

Before Tula, the double medallist from the 2004 Olympics was to run only on the relay team, and she wasn't particularly happy about that fact. Nor was her coach Yekaterina Kulikova. But when Antyukh appeared on the track, it was a kind of a surprise for everybody. Except for the duo of Antyukh and Kulikova who showed that Antyukh didn’t compete just to make an appearance, but to win.

It was World record holder Yuliya Pechonkina who took the early lead, but the former World champion made a mistake in the latter half of the race and ended the race after the seventh hurdle. It wasn't the first time since her comeback that Pechonkina lost her rhythm. Antukh proceded to take the victory with the fastest performance among Russians this season and equaled the fourth fastest in the world. It now appears that the berth to Berlin is in her pocket.

Abakumova bounces back from loss at nationals

2008 Olympic Javelin Throw silver medallist Marya Abakumova, who failed to collect the victory at the Russian nationals last weekend, proved that her silver in the city of Cheboksary was just a little slip. It was absolutely evident in Tula that she had improved her technique as her two efforts both sailed beyond 64 metres. The best landed at 64.67.

In the women's Pole Vault the results were rather high, with Aleksandra Kiryashova setting her personal best at 4.65m. The experienced fighter Yuliya Golubchikova toppedout at 4.60m after failing to clear 4.70m.

In the women’s Hammer Throw, Tatyana Lysenko proved again that she was in tip top form after her return to competition. In her best effort she reached 74.19m. Igor Vinnichenko was the best in Men's hammer, reaching 78.19m.

Usually the 400m is a really thrilling event with the women threatening the 50 second barrier. This time Tatyana Veshkurova clocked 51.84.

The results in Men's 100 m sprint left much to be desired. Roman Smirnov's time was only 10.48. In the women’s race Svetlana Nabokina clocked 11.41. Former World champion Anastasiya Kapachinskaya won 200m in 22.92. The 1500m races were dominated by Andrei Osipov (3:41.80) and Yevgeniya Zolotova (4:09.45). Yekaterina Kaukova was the strongest in the women's Triple Jump (14.31m) and Vladimir Altmanis was the fastest in the men's 400m Hurdles in 49.94.

Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF