A heavy snowfall of world season leads in the “Russian Winter”

Sunday 27 January 2008

Moscow, Russia - The 17th edition of the ‘Russian Winter’ indoor meeting in Moscow witnessed a heavy snowfall of world season indoor leading marks which was somewhat appropriate for the opening event of the 2008 IAAF Indoor Permit season.

Another good pointer to the strength of this meeting was that the Vladimir Kutz Arena was crowded with spectators and the demand for the “extra tickets” was extremely high.

Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia
(Getty Images)

Lebedeva is Russia’s best of 2007…and aims for double in Beijing

The competitions started with a ceremony. The public applauded loudly when the President of the All-Russian Athletic Federation and IAAF Council member Valentin Balakhnichev, and the director of the “Russian Winter” tournament, Mikhail Butov presented Tatyana Lebedeva with the prize for being the Best Russian Athlete of the Year of 2007.

But it was to be a triple victory ceremony for Lededeva who also received a beautiful plate after also being voted number one in an internet poll of Russian athletics fans, and thirdly, she received a Silver Deer statuette which was handed to World and Olympic Long Jump champion by the Federation of Sport Journalists of Russia.

Yelena Soboleva of Russia
(courtesy of tsiklitiria.org)

“I’m really very much pleased with all the awards, commented Lebedeva. “My thanks to the journalistic community. This Silver Deer is the fifth in my home collection….As far as my plans are concerned I must tell you that I’m missing the indoor season. I have not targeted myself to perform at top level this winter. I have only one principal aim in mind – the Olympics in August. And in China I’ll do my utmost to perform in both – the Triple Jump and in the Long Jump.

Mile record for Soboleva

In the competition’s which followed, the most impressive mark was the national record in the women’s Mile which was set by Yelena Soboleva. The previous mark - 4:24.11 -was set 7 years ago by Yelena Zadorozhnaya.

Andrey Silnov (RUS)
(Getty Images)

Soboleva’s victory today was 4:20.21, and though Soboleva said that Mile was not her favourite distance she now must be a serious contender for the World record as she is now the third fastest of all-time and was only 3 seconds short of the mark.

Olga Komyagina was the runner-up with an encouraging 4:23.49 that was also better than the old record and Yelena Sidorchenkova was the third on the podium – 4:24.53.

Silnov so near to 2.40m…he won’t miss the record next time!

Yuriy Borzakovskiy of Russia
(Getty Images)

In Men’s High Jump, Andrei Silnov tried to improve the national indoor record. He nearly cleared the bar at 2.40m but after a moment of a slight hesitation the bar fell down.

But Silnov’s coach Yevgeniy Zagorulko calmed down his pupil saying that the main aim of the season was to win the Olympics and the records in this indoor season didn’t matter that much. In any case Silnov won the competition with a leap of 2.36m, which equals the world season lead of fellow Russian Ivan Ukhov, and he looks extremely strong and well-prepared for 2008.

World Indoor champion Yaroslav Rybakov was next best with 2.30m, while Jesse Williams of the USA reminded the public of the fine traditions of his country’s high jumping taking third place with 2.27m. 2005 World Champion Yuri Krimarenko of Ukraine was fourth also on 2.27m.

Olusoji Fasuba (NGR)
(Louisette Thobi)

Simagina, unstoppable indoors so far in 2008

Irina Simagina, the 2004 Olympic silver medallist, is the unconditional leader of the Russian indoor season in the Long Jump, and she won today’s competition with evident ease with a best of 6.92m. This is the second longest result of the world indoor season and of course the best one also belongs to Simagina (6.94m, Moscow 12 Jan).

Tatyana Kotova with her sixth jump leaped 6.75m for second, while the guest from Latvia Ineta Radevica, 26, was the third on the podium with 6.64m. The European champion Lyudmila Kolchanova finished fourth (6.51). 2005 World champion Tianna Madison from the USA was a total disappointment with 6.16m that brought her only ninth and last place.

“Simagina is jumping very well this January. But I would direct your attention to Darya Klishina,” commented Tatyana Lebedeva about the results. Klishina was born in 1991, and that’s why her jump at 6.44m looks rather encouraging. Yes, that mark only took sixth place today but still….

Volodymyr Zyuskov from Ukraine won the men’s Long Jump with 8.02m, with Ruslan Gataulin was second thanks to his last round leap of 8.00m. Victor Gushchinskiy was third with 7.80m.

Borzakovskiy takes care of his friend Bungei

The men’s 800m is not surprisingly always the attraction of any tournament in Russia where the Olympic champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy is running and as always his fortunes were at the top of public expectations.

Despite the political problems and unrest in Kenya, World Indoor champion Wilfred Bungei still managed to reach Moscow but had to settle for runner’s-up spot today in 1:47.52, behind Borza’s impressive 1:46.78 victory. The Russian’s time was the fastest global indoor performance so far this year. Yuriy Koldin, also from Russia, got third place – 1:47.52.

“I’m very much satisfied with this result,” commented Borzakovskiy. “And my special thanks to the public that supported me that much. It was the good and I’m happy to be faster than my permanent opponents. My special thanks also for my old friend Bungei. I know that there are serious problems in Kenya. I was so much worried about him, was he safe? How was his family is doing? But Wilfred still arrived in Moscow and due to him the level of the competitions was raised to the height required.”

“It wasn’t an easy win for me,” continued the Olympic champion. “I had to battle my way through the crowd. But on the last lap I did it and now I feel satisfied with my result.”

“My thanks to Borzakovskiy,” replied Bungei. “I knew he was worried about me and my family. But we are safe and I was glad to come to Moscow and to compete with Yuriy.”

Vaulting high too

The best result of the world indoor season was reached by Yevgeniy Lukyanenko from Russia in the men’s Pole Vault who took the win with a 5.85m performance. Maksym Mazuryk from Ukraine cleared the bar at 5.75m and Pavel Gerasimov (RUS) lost on count-back at the same height of 5.75.

More flyers in the 60m dashes

The struggle at the Women’s 60m was very tough and Svetlana Nabokina won in 7.16 seconds, which was another of today’s world season leads. Yevgeniya Polyakova, the previous season’s quickest (19 Jan – 7.17) was just a bit behind matching her 2008 best of 7.17, while Natalya Murinovitch remained third in 7.24.

The men were not to be upstaged with Olusoji Fasuba from Nigeria dominating the 60m dash in 6.56 seconds, the best result of 2008, though his former Nigerian compatriot Samuel Francis now running for Qatar dashed to 6.54 in October last year in Macau at the Asian Indoor Games and so is the fastest of the current indoor season. Andrei Yepishin from Russia was the runner-up (6.67) and the Matic Osovnikar (SLO) finished third with a 6.73 run.

“I won it this time,” said Fasuba at the press-conference. “Unfortunately last year the “Russian Winter” was the only tournament in which I lost in my series of the indoor competitions. Now I made no mistakes and the victory is mine!”

In the 60m Hurdles, Yuliya Kondakova won the women’s event in 8.01 from Mariya Koroteeva (8.05), with Aleksandra Antonova third in 8.13, while Igor Peremota was the fastest in the men’s sprint Hurdles. His 7.59 left behind Russian compatriot Yevgeniy Borisov (7.66) and Stanislav Olijar from Latvia (7.73).

200m season revelation

Anna Geflikh from the famous athletic school of Volgograd won the women’s 200m in 23.31 seconds, the fastest indoors in the world this year so far. She is one of the revelations of this season. Behind her Olga Zaitseva clocked 23.35 and Elena Bolsun finished third in 23.69.

“I’m happy to clock the best result of the young season,” said Geflikh. “Things are going extremely well. May be I’ll be able to make the Olympic team and to go to China in August. But I understand clearly that I have to male a lot of progress.”

Maksim Dyldyn is running fast this season. He was second to none at the men’s 400m, winning in 46.32. Denis Alekseev took second place (47.02) and Vladislav Frolov took third (47.03).

600m exploits

The women’s 600m is not a traditional distance to be run even indoors but the public seems to like it. Tatyana Firova won it clocking 1:25.23, which is third best time ever run. 1:25.23. Only Olga Kotlyarova (1:23.44) and Natalya Khrushchelyova (1:25.15) at this meet in 2004 have ever gone quicker. Today, Natalya Ignatova was the runner-up (1:26.53) and Tatyana Paliyenko was third (1:26.92).

Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF