Aksana Miankova on her way to winning Olympic hammer gold (Getty Images) © Copyright
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National records and world leads for Miankova and Ostapchuk in Minsk

Minsk, BelarusAksana Miankova and Nadzeya Ostapchuk improved their own national records with world-leading performances at the International Competition in Memory of Belarusian Athletes in Minsk on Wednesday (18).

Miankova: 'Perhaps in London I’ll master 80 metres’

The competition, held at the new stadium of the Republic Olympic Training Center, presented the "bomb" at the start. Beijing Olympic Hammer Throw gold medallist Aksana Miankova beat the national record in the third attempt with a 78.69m effort, the best in the world this year. This was exactly half a metre further than her previous achievement, which was established in April at the Evgeny Shukevich tournament in Brest. Another three attempts were beyond 72 metres and the last was 74 metres.

Earlier in the season few would have thought that the thrower from Mogilev, who recently returned to the sport after the birth of a daughter, would improve the national record twice this year.

"Together with my coach we planned these starts as a regular training test before the Games and it immediately succeeded," she said. "In the third series, I just got into the throw and here is the record. I think it has affected even the fact that I was not under any pressure, I competed for fun and managed to show much."

What will she need to achieve to return to the Olympic podium in London?

"I cannot say one word, will there be extremely long throws or medium ones. It is possible that the weather will intervene as well, then you should not expect any records. But if conditions are good it is quite possible that women will reach the 80-metre line."

Ostapchuk’s optimism grows

In the evening everyone was waiting for shot putters Ostapchuk and Andrei Mikhnevich, who were also able to surprise the world.

Ostapchuk, an apprentice of Alexander Efimov rewrote the national record for the fifth time. As the trainer noted, Ostapchuk promptly responded to the challenge made by Valerie Adams from New Zealand who reached 21.11m at the international meeting in Lucerne. Ostapchuk’s response was more than tough - in the first round she reached 21.47m an 21.58 in the second.

The national record and season best holder did not hide her satisfaction.

"I was lucky with the weather, although at first I was afraid a little of the rain interfere, but to my delight the clouds in the sky parted and the sun shone all the time. The only negative fact is that the intervals between the attempts were too short – few people were in the women's sector."

"I liked the execution of my technique and movement," she continued, "although my coach had some questions. Nevertheless, I’m glad and happy that I managed to rewrite the national achievement once again. I believe that my result will be enough to win in London."

In the men’s event Mikhnevich reached 20.90m to take the victory.

Mikhail Dubitski for the IAAF