(L-R) Elena Kofanova of Russia and Elisa Cusma Piccione of Italy compete in the women's 800m semi-final in Berlin (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Moscow, Russia

Women’s World 4x800m Relay record falls in Moscow – Russian indoor champs wrap

A World indoor record* in the women’s 4x800m Relay highlighted the final day of the Russian indoor championships which concluded in Moscow on Friday (18).

A quartet representing the Moscow region clocked 8:06.24 in the final event of the championships to knock a massive six seconds from the previous record, 8:12.41, set by another Moscow team at these championships on this same Vladimir Kutz Arena track last year.

Alexandra Bulanova opened with a 2:02.2 leg, followed by Ekaterina Martynova’s 2:03.3. Elena Kofanova and Anna Balakshina concluded the task with quick 2:00.3 and 2:00.44 efforts. [Ed note: all splits unofficial.] Kofanova was also on the record-setting quartet last year.

It was a busy evening for Martynova who two hours prior to the relay took the 1500m title in 4:07.67.

More than 650 athletes from 60 regions gathered for the champions which began on Wednesday (16), with 30 medals at stake. Several world, European and Russian season leads were registered and the bulk of the national team for next month’s European indoor championships was selected.

3000m world lead opens the competition

In the women’s 3000m, the first final of the championships on Wednesday, Olesya Syreva from Siberia signaled a strong comeback after maternity leave. The result was an impressive 8:41.35, the fastest in the world this year and an 11 second improvement over her previous best set earlier this season. One of the most experienced Russian runners, Yelena Zadorozhnaya, was the runner-up in 8:41.64, the second fastest performance in the world in 2011.

Twenty year-old Elena Korobkina was third in 8:52.12, breaking the national Under-23 record that had stood for 15 years.

The men’s winner, Sergei Ivanov, is also a record holder in a way. Clocking 7:51.88 he produced the best performance by a Russian this season and took his 13th national title!

In the 5000m, the titles when to Andrei Sokolov and Natalya Popova in 13:49.07 and 15:39.25, both the fastest by Europeans this season.

World leads in women’s 400 and 800m

The 400m and 800m were at the centre of attention on Thursday (17). In the women’s 400m, Olesya Forsheva took the win in 51.22, another world leader. Kseniya Zadorina (51.38) and Kseniya Vdovina (51.81) followed in second and third. Forsheva, formerly Krasnomovets and now married to 400m runner Dmitriy Forshev, captured two gold medals at the 2006 World Indoor Championships in Moscow. Not achieving much success competing under her married name, she decided to enter these championships under her maiden name which seemed to change her fortunes!

Unknown Sergei Petukhov won the men’s 400m in 46.79, the fastest of the Russian season.

In the women’s 800m, world leader Yuliya Rusanova was again at her best. Leading most of the way, she improved her own season-pacing performance to 1:58.14, a personal best. She left behind Yevgeniya Zinurova (1:58.83) and the 21-year-old Elena Arzhakova who clocked 1:59:35, another national Under-23 record.

Ivan Tukhtachev took the men’s title in 1:46.89.

As usual, good competition in the jumps

High Jumpers Yelena Slesarenko and Andrei Silnov, the Olympic champions in 2004 and 2008, respectively, didn’t win the glories. But they were greeted with applause for both were competing after serious injuries.

In the women’s event, Slesarenko shared the third step of the podium with the 18-year-old winner of the inaugural Youth Olympics, Marya Kuchina, who recently raised the World junior Best to 1.97m. Here, both cleared 1.87m. Svetlana Shkolina took the title with a 1.94m leap ahead of Viktoriya Klyugina (1.91m).

Silnov also finished third at 2.27m – tied with Eduard Malchenko in a competition won by 20-year-old Sergei Mudrov who topped 2.30m. European champion Aleksandr Shustov was second at 2.27m, which he cleared with his first attempt.

The women’s Long Jump was a thrilling and close affair. Anna Nazarova led with at 6.73m until young jumper Darya Klishina overtook her by a lone centimetre with her fifth round leap. Yuliya Pidluzhnaya was third at 6.69m.

Sergei Polyanskiy, 21, took the men’s title with a 7.92m leap ahead of Aleksandr Menkov (7.88m), the current world leader.

And the spectators at Vladimir Kutz arena also witnessed the comeback of well known triple jumper Olesya Bufalova, now Zabara. Her 14.38m winning mar, is the best of the Russian indoor season. Natalya Kutyakova (14.13m) was well behind.

Igor Spasovkhodskiy won the men’s crown at 16.85m ahead of Lyukman Adams (16.80m) and Taras Moiseenko (16.75m).

The women’s Pole Vault is popular event among the public in Russia, and even with the absence of Yelena Isinbayeva and Svetlana Feofanova attention was still focused on the Pole Vault sector where the struggle was dramatic. The new champion was Aleksandra Kiriashova who cleared 4.50m with her first effort. At 4.55m her pole was broken but luckily she wasn’t injured. Yuliya Golubchikova, the European indoor champion, lost on count back clearing 4.50m as well. The 19- year-old Anjelika Sidorova got the bronze at 4.40m.

Dmitriy Starodubtzev was the strongest in Men’s Pole Vault clearing 5.60m for the win. Igor Pavlov and 19-year-old Anton Ivakin were left behind, both clearing 5.45m.

Elsewhere...


Sprinter Aleksandr Shpaer is getting more and more accustomed to victories. Now the 21-year-old improved to 6.63 to take the 60m title, the best this season among Russian sprinters. Mikhail Idrisov and and Aleksand Hutte rounded out the podium, both credited with 6.69.

Natalya Murinovich won the women’s 60m in 7.30.

There were two winners at Men’s 60m Hurdles. Konstantin Shabanov and Evgeniy Borisov both clocked 7.63 and were inseparable at the finish.

Anastasiya Solovieva was the fastest at Women’s 60m clocking 8.12 just edging the season’s fastest Russian, Aleksandra Antonova, by a scant 0.01.

The 200m titles went to Roman Smirnov (20.91) and Ekaterina Voronenkova (23.37).

Maksim Sidorov, the leader of the Russian indoor season in the men’s Shot Put, again improved his result reaching 20.70m. The next two also reached beyond the 20m barrier: Sidorov’s long-time rival Ivan Uyshkov was second at 20.48m and Valeriy Kokoev, at 20.19m, third.

In the women’s Shot Put, Anna Avdeyeva reached 18.81m, just a centimetre shy of the world lead. Anna Omarova was a distant second with a 17.79m best.

Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF

* pending the usual ratification procedures