A solid and surprisingly fast duel in the women's 3000m Steeplechase, along with victories by Yuliya Pechonkina and Yuriy Borzakovskiy were the key highlights of the second day (1 Aug) at the Russian National Championships.
Sub 9:15 for Volkova and Petrova
Even with 2007 world leader Gulnara Galkina-Samitova, the World record holder, exempt from the competition, the women’s 3000m Steeplechase provided excellent results. In a spirited duel with Tatyana Petrova, Yekaterina Volkova won in 9:13.35, the second fastest performance of the year. Her performance knocked more than seven seconds from her previous career best set while taking the silver medal at the 2005 World Championships. Petrova's 9:14.35 was also a personal best and the year's third fastest performance. Yelena Sidorchenkova was a distant third in 9:26.55.
Pechonkina rounding into form
Pechonkina, the reigning World champion and World record holder in the 400m Hurdles, illustrated fine form with her 53.61 victory, the third fastest of the season. Her technical performance is at an excellent level and she remains one of Russia's biggest hopes in Osaka. After a long period of injuries Yekaterina Bikert is also on the comeback. She finished second in 54.24, with Natalya Ivanova third (54.36).
Borzakovskiy, the reigning Olympic champion, wasn't required to compete in Tula, but did so to please the fans. With astonishing ease he proved one more time that there are no rivals for him in his Motherland and won handily clocking 1:45.46. In spite of his traditional runner-up performances, Dmitriy Bogdanov still remains one of the few Russian hopes at this distance. He finished second in 1:45.81. Somewhat worrisome is his weak will: he never tries to challenge his friend Borzakovskiy. Yuriy Kolodin was well back in third clocking 1:47.07.
Easy win for Makarov
2003 world champion Sergei Makarov dominated in men’s Javelin Throw. Taking the lead after his opening round 84.26 effort, he improved to 86.56 in the last. Fans who expected a duel with his permanent rival Aleksandr Ivanov were disappointed. Ivanov was far from being competitive reaching only 80.78, some six metres shy of his season's best. Igor Sukhomlinov was third (78.33).
Lada Chernova won the women's title with a career best 63.35, ahead of Marya Abakumova (62.90) and Marya Yakovenko (62.32).
In all, 12 gold medals were at stake on the second day of competition with the battles beginning at 10:30 in the morning with the men's Shot Put, which was postponed for because of heavy rains on the opening day of the champoinships.
It was the 23-year-old Anton Lyuboslavskiy who immediately took the lead with an effort of 20.71. On his third attempt he added six more centimetres to collect his first outdoor national title. His 20.77m throw was a career best. But Lyuboslavskiy wasn't pleased, as his goal was to break through the 21m mark. He will try again at the Moscow Challenge on 5 August. Behind Lyuboslavskiy, Pavel Sofin took second (20.10) and Ivan Ushkov (19.79) third.
The women’s 1500m turned into a battle field for a trio of persistent runners. Natalya Panteleeva won it over the final few metres in 4:05.19, edging favourite Yuliya Fomenko-Chizhenko (4:05.64). Yelena Konyagina was third – 4:05.93.
Igor Pavlov won the men's Pole Vault with a 5.75 clearance before bowing out 5.85. With their 5.70 clearances and identical performances throughout the competition, Sergei Kucheryanu and Sergei Lukyanenko tied for second.
In other events, the men's results didn't measure up to to performances in the women's. Roman Usov won his seventh national title in the 3000m Steeplechase but his 8:33.35 result was far from being encouraging. Unfortunately there is no evident progress in this event. Eldar Minshin was the runner-up (8:34.11) and Andrei Farnosov third (8:35.92). Aleksandr Derevyagin was the only competitor to break 50 seconds in the 400m Hurdles, clocking 49.35. Vladimir Antmanis (50.13) was second and Aleksandr Mishanin a distant third (50.70).
The men's 110m Hurdles turned into the fascinating duel between Igor Peremota and Evgeniy Borisov. The much more experienced Peremota won in 13.60 with Borisov only .02 seconds behind. The women's 100m Hurldes was dominated by Tatyana Pavliy in 12.90, ahead of Aleksandra Antonova's 12.95. The bronze went to Yekaterina Shtepa (13.01), the national junior champion.
Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF