Marina Kuptsova of Russia qualifies for the high jump final (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News 9 February 2005 – Moscow, Russia

The Grigorian Memorial - Developing Junior talent

Moscow, RussiaThe annual Grigorian Memorial whose 2005 edition was held yesterday is named after the late Eduard Grigorian. After finishing his active sport career, this well-known sprinter from Moscow became an assiduous sport organiser. Besides being the director of the athletic youth school Grigorian managed to find time to coach youngsters himself, and he discovered many talented athletes.

In 1998 he was appointed as the sport director of the First Youth International Games in Moscow, and it was also due to his efforts that such young stars as Yelena Isinbayeva, Yuriy Borzakovskiy and Marina Kuptsova, who won at the Youth Games, became known to the public at large.

Training camp at IAAF RDC Moscow

The main aim of the Memorial is to follow the traditions set by Grigorian – that is to discover young athletes with a promising future. But the Memorial is not just important as a tournament for under 20 year-old athletes, it is also a kind of coaching master class.

The participants live in the training camp created under the direction of the IAAF's Regional Development Centre (RDC) in Moscow. There these junior talents are watched and coached by experienced trainers, and among this team of athletics specialists is Pole vaulting legend Sergey Bubka.

As well as the Grigorian Memorial the young athletes have the opportunity to participate in two other rounds of tournaments united by the same junior development theme, the Vladimir Dyachkov - Nickolai Ozolin Memorial and in the Cup of Hope. This programme of competition as well as training in the IAAF Moscow RDC Center was launched several years ago and was of real and important help for many young gifted athletes. It is expected that this February that athletes from 15 countries will take part in the programme.

Records and wonderful enthusiasm

In last nights competition junior athletes were extremely enthusiastic, but only one Grigorian Memorial record was improved. Lina Grichikaite (Lithuania) twice set new marks for the women’s 60m dash, first in her heat and then in the final - 7.38 seconds. Grichikaite looked absolutely calm during the competitions and even after breaking the record.

“I’m from Klaipeda,” she told us in her unexpectedly good Russian. “And this seaport is an international city where practically everybody speaks several languages. I think that this knowledge will help me in the future when I’ll start to compete at the international level.”

“Up to the moment the main aim is to do my best at home for we’ll have the Junior European Championships in my country. I’ve never competed outside my motherland in senior competitions because I’m still learning at school.”

Lina’s coach Edmundas Norvilis looked much more happier then his disciple. “Nobody in our country is running sprint faster then Lina,” he said broadly smiling. “She is doing even better then the seniors. And last week in Vilnius she ran 60m clocking 7.37. I have been coaching her for four years running and her progress is evident. Lina is very talented and I expect her to win at the international level soon. And this Memorial gives her a real boost.”

An opportunity for good training

In women’s High Jump the winner was easily predicted. Irina Kovalenko from a little Ukrainian town Tarazino has won many important events at home and abroad. Her personal best is 1.95. Her coach Valtntina bears the same family name – Kovalenko – thus making everybody’s think that she is Irina’s mother.

“No, it’s not the case,” she explained us. “We are not relatives. But I consider my girl to be a real heroine. Its so difficult to train practice in our little town, the conditions are awful. And every time Irina is landing after the jump I’m so much afraid she’ll get injured. So we have to go to the Ukrainian capital but the distance is 100 kilometres and one must have real stamina to travel like that so often like we do. High Jump is popular in our country and there are five high jumpers whose personal best is higher then 2 metres. But we’ll still try to get to the national team and may be even to take part in the Helsinki World Championships this summer.”

Dedicated to Athletics

Irina Kovalenko was also eager to talk. “I devoted all my life to sport,” she explained. “But I understand it clearly that I should go on studying. And this year I entered the only institute that we have in our town – the agricultural one. My future profession is as an economist specialising in agricultural issues. But still education is a kind of a secondary aim for me. I’m so fond of athletics. I’m rather tall and professional basketball coaches are inviting me to play for their teams – I always refuse. In our sport you are the queen of your own fate. Though I get it clearly that the money you can get in athletics is much smaller then in basket. It doesn’t bother me much. I like to compete and I respect my opponents wishing them all good luck. But the only thing is that I’ll be stronger then they in the long run and I know it for sure.

Yuliya Tarasova from Uzbekistan won the Long Jump. She is living in the capital of that country, Tashkent.

“I inherited my love to athletics from my daddy,” explains Yuliya. “My father was a very well-known athlete and he won many Decathlon competitions in the time of the Soviet Union. May be I’ll try to repeat his deeds in Heptathlon. I like jumping and running and my best result in shot put is over 12 metres.

Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF

RESULTS - Grigorian Memorial 9 Feb 2005


60 m
1.     Evgeniy Perle RUS 6.90
2.     Dmitriy Efimov RUS 6.97
3.     Artur Mustafaev RUS 7.04

60 m Hurdles
1.     Denis Byvakin RUS 8.06
2.     Dmitriy Prokofiev RUS 8.43
3.     Oleg Olkha RUS 8.62

Long Jump
1.     Eduard Lukashevich RUS 7.09
2.     Taras Moiseenko UZB 7.07
3.     Stanislav Ionov RUS 6.99

Triple Jump
1.     Taras Moiseenko UZB 16.00
2.     Sergei Yarmak RUS 15.21
3.     Marat Abbiasov RUS 15.05

Pole Vault
1.     Pavel Prokopenko RUS 5.40
2.     Mikhail Golovtzov RUS 5.10
3.     Konstantin Kostiuchenko RUS 5.00


1.     Lina Grichikaite LTU 7.38
2.     Natalya Volobueva RUS 7.63
3.     Juna Mekhti-Zade RUS 7.65

60m Hurdles
1.     Valentina Zenkina RUS 9.04
2.     Anna Glikina RUS 9.09
3.     Ekaterina Malysheva RUS 9.13

Long Jump
1.     Yuliya Tarasova UZB 6.12
2.     Veronika Shutkova BLR 6.08
3.     Lubov Alekseenko RUS 6.01

High Jump
1.     Irina Kovalenko UKR 1.85
2.     Ekaterina Evseeva KAZ 1.82
3.     Svetlana Shkolina RUS 1.82

 Pole Vault
1.     Marina Orlova RUS 3.90
2.     Julya Zhukova RUS 3.80
3.     Svetlana Makarevich BLR 3.80