Kazan, RussiaThe Brothers Znamenskiy memorial is an international tournament with excellent deep-rooted traditions. It’s a part of IAAF GPII and this particular year it was officially included in the programme of festivities devoted to the 1000 years jubilee of Kazan - the ancient and the modern capital of Tatarstan Republic.
Brothers Serafim and Georgiy Znamenskiy won titles at the USSR Championships and were the long time national record holders in middle and long distances in the second part of the thirties of the last century. This tournament in Kazan may be counted as the 47th in the long row.
However the main prizes of the competitions at 1500, 3000, 5000 or 10,000 will be at stake for the 50th time. The thing is that the tournament held in 1949, 1950 and 1998 didn’t have the official international status and only Soviet and then Russian runners were competing for the main prizes.
A Two-day showcase of fantastic talents
The specific character of the Memorial is such that it is divided into two parts and is being held during two days. Only Russian athletes are taking part in the competitions on the first day. They will compete in 15 events of running, jumping and throwing.
The second day is even more important for a considerable group of foreign guests will join Russians struggling for the prizes in 17 events. Athletes from 17 countries of Europe, America, Africa and Asia are expected.
For the most part of the Russian athletes the Memorial will be the first international competition and the first stage of their selection for the World Championships in Helsinki.
If one may judge by the preliminary lists of participants the competition may turn out to be fascinating. For instance the women’s 800 will be the most attractive event of the tournament.
Fascinating 800m is expected
Last year the well-known 400m runner Olga Kotlyarova made her debut at 800m at Znamenskiy Memorial clocking 1:57.96 that was the 10th result of the season in the 2-lap race.
This year Kotlyarova is going to repeat her experiment. In this case she’ll be opposed on the track by the European champion of 2005 Larisa Zhao, the leader of the World season Tatyana Andrianova and other prominent compatriots. And the Cuban runner Zulya Kalataud who made the finals of two Olympic Games as well as the experienced fighters Leticia Vriezde (Surinam) and Seltina Ait Hammou from Marocco will not be just patient observers.
Kuzenkova, Makarov and Voronin in action
The women’s hammer throw is always considered to be interesting when Russians are competing. Last year the soon-to-be Olympic champion Olga Kuzenkova was an unexpected loser of the Memorial. She was defeated by Gulfiya Khanafeeva and Tatyana Lysenko. Maybe for Olga that failure was the first step on the long road towards the Olympic glory.
This time it seems that Ekaterina Khoroshikh will be Kuzenkova’s main opponent for it was Ekaterina who won the Russian national championships for under 23 breaking the European achievement.
The men’s high jump will be one of the baits of the Memorial. The Olympic winner of Sidney Sergey Klyugin, the former World champion Viacheslav Voronin as well as the young high jumper Aleksei Dmitruck who has just won at the European Cup and other celebrities will struggle for the victory.
In the men’s javelin Sergei Makarov and Aleksandr Ivanov will continue their eternal rivalry. Both have already secured their tickets for Helsinki but they continue the battle for the champion’s title in every tournament they meet.
The second day seems to be even more fascinating. In the men’s triple jump the European indoor champion Igor Spasovkhodskiy will meet with the Olympic bronze medal winner Danil Burkenya. But Vitaliy Moskalenko who went over 17 metres this year will for sure not remain just the silent witness. The young jumpers Aleksandr Sergeev and Aleksandr Petrenko as well as Ioandri Betanzos (Cuba) and his young talented compatriot the junior World champion David Giralt will try their utmost to win.
Two Olympic champions Svetlana Krivelyova and Yumileidi Cumba will continue their hot discussion in women’s shot put. After the Games in Athens the gold medallist of 1992 in Barcelona was thinking of quitting the athletics but then made up her mind to go on. However this year another opponent has appeared on the horizon. Olga Riabinkina participated in the Olympic Games of 2004 and this season she was the winner of the European Cup in Italy. Now she is on the second line of the world best of the season.
Slesarenko Vs Chicherova highlights women's HJ
World champion Tatyana Tomashova will start for the first time at such prestigious competitions in this outdoor season at 1500m. Her opponents in Kazan will be 2001 World champion Olga Yegorova, Elena Zadorozhnaya, the winner of the European Cup of 2005 Julya Chizhenko and a bunch of other strong runners.
It is next to impossible to enumerate all the stars who will take part in the Memorial. The spectators in Kazan will see World 400m Hurdles record holder Yulya Pechonkina-Nosova, Olympic High Jump champion Elena Slesarenko, European High Jump champion Anna Chicherova, World champions Tatyana Kotova and Ludmila Galkina.
And naturally the main attraction of the Memorial will be the men’s 5000m with the participation of seven foreign runners and all Russian champions at this distance.
Finally let us mention the world class achievement in the Under-17 Heptaphlon in Chelyabinsk where Tatyana Chernova from Krasnodar scored 5991 points. The result was achieved on the excellent newly opened specialized athletic stadium named after Sydney Olympic High Jump champion Yelena Yelesina.
Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov are reporting for the IAAF