Moscow: Fasuba pipped, Russian flipped


Ukhov stuns with 2.39m leap in Moscow
Monday 29 January 2007
Moscow, Russia – A sold-out Vladimir Kutz arena in Moscow applauded the young prodigy Ivan Ukhov who established a new Russian indoor High Jump record of 2.39m last night (28) at the ‘Russian Winter’, the first of the IAAF Indoor Permit meeting series of 2007.

20-year-old Ivan Ukhov is flying very high

Ivan Ukhov jumping at the 2006 IAAF World Athletics Final in Stuttgart
(Mark Shearman)

Ukhov was not the pre-event favourite to tell the truth, as the European outdoor champion Andrey Silnov, who trains with him under the guidance of the legendary coach Yevgeniy Zagorulko, and Russia’s World Indoor gold medallist Yaroslav Rybakov were also in the line-up.

Rybakov took the lead easily clearing on his first attempt at 2.35m. It was at that point that Ukhov who had failed at his first attempt at 2.35 decided to try his luck at 2.37m. He was impeccable, flying over the bar at his first attempt with the astonishing ease.

Now it was Rybakov who had the pressure decision to make as having failed first time at 2.37 he decided to use his last two remaining attempts at 2.39m but he had no success.

With his last opponent gone Ukhov cheered by the enthusiastic crowd cleared the 2.39m bar on his first attempt becoming the leader of the current world indoor season, and the equal sixth best indoor high jumper of all-time! The previous national record of 2.38m had belonged to Rybakov.

Ukhov, who took the European Junior title in 2005, then tried at 2.41 but with no luck.

“The tournament was very well organized and I’m very much thankful for the organizers,” said Ukhov. “I felt myself at home here and besides I’m in the know now how to beat the records. Hope to do it even better at the European Indoor Championships.”

Rybakov who didn’t look upset took second place with 2.35m defeating Andrey Tereshin on count-back, as he managed 2.35m as well!!!

Andrey Silnov with his best of 2.31m remained 4th, and Tora Harris from the USA with the same result – 2.31 – was 5th in what was an impressive quality competitive to put it mildly!

‘Injured’ Lebedeva long jumps 6.82m!

Tatyana Lebedeva, the Olympic Long Jump title holder and World indoor champion and record holder for the Triple Jump, was the promotional face of the tournament, appearing on the advertising posters for the meeting. But only a few people were in the know that she was also currently carrying an injury. Her left leg was aching and the natural way out was to withdraw.

“Even during the last warm-up I wondered whether or not to jump,” confessed Lebedeva. “I decided not to let down the people who believed in me and so decided to try. After the first attempt I was really surprised and when landing at 6.82m on the third one I got to understand that I’m really ready to jump!. I didn’t use two of my attempts but my last one was 6.78.”

“I was going to miss the indoor season preparing myself instead for the World Championships in Osaka. But now I feel even ready to go to the Europeans (indoors in March). I won’t do the triple but I’ll do the Long Jump for sure.”

Victorya Rybalko from Ukraine was runner-up (6.74m) and the European champion Ludmila Kolchanova came third (6.69m). The Olympic medallist Irina Simagina returned to the jumping sector after her maternity leave – her baby is 8 month’s old – and took 8th place (6.34m).

Ottey slips - Antyukh surprised

Slovenia’s Merlene Ottey, 46, was the main attraction in the Women’s 60m but her blocks slipped and so the sprinting legend who is formerly Jamaican failed to reach the final (7.54 heat). In her absence it was Yevgenya Plyakova who won the women’s 60m in 7.18 seconds which is the best result in the world so far this season. Marina Kislova was the runner-up (7.20), and the 32-year-old Cuban Virgen Benavides was third (7.36).

In the women’s 400m, Tatyana Veshkurova won with a tremendous rush at the finish in 52.17 surprising the powerful Natalya Antyukh who was leading up until the last few metres (52.27). Yelena Novikova finished a good third (52.28).

Oksana Zbrozhek (RUS) won the women’s 1000m easily and the announcer initially even declared that she had bettered Yuliya Tzhizhenko’s European record (2:32.16) but he was mistaken as in fact the official result showed that Zbrozhek (born in 1978) had crossed in 2:32.21. Tatyana Petluk from Ukraine finished second (2:34.76) and Marya Dryakhlova was third (2:36.40).

Irina Pepelyaeva won the 60m Hurdles (8.12), while her team-mate Tatyana Degtyrova took the photofinish for second with Jamaica’s Vonette Dixon (8.13).

Summersault dash celebration

In the absence of the best Russian men’s sprinter Andrey Yepishin, the World Indoor silver medallist, it was his colleague Mikhail Egorychev who won the 60m (6.60). His back summersault at the finish line brought him even more cheers from the crowd. Nigeria’s Oli Fasuba, the African 100m record holder, was the runner-up (6.63), while Morne Nagel of South Africa took third (6.67).

After one year of absence Anton Galkin returned to the track with a good win at 400m (47.02), leaving teammates Vladislav Frolov (47.11), and Artem Setgeenkov (47.18) comfortably adrift.

Yevgenie Borisov took the 60m sprint Hurdles in 7.58, beating the well-known Latvian Stanislav Olijar, the European 110m Hurdles champion, who was second in 7.62. Another guest, Ukraine’s Serhiy Demydyuk finished third (7.71).

Aleksandr Sergeyev won the Triple Jump (17.12). Randy Lewis of Grenada was only a little bit behind (17.04) in a tight contest with Aleksandr Petrenko who finished third (17.02).

Pavlov - 5.80m

The European Indoor Pole Vault champion Igor Pavlov looks to be back to form after a poor season by his high standards in 2006. He cleared 5.80m and was a sure winner. Five athletes went successfully over the bar at 5.65. Denis Yurchenko turned out to be the next best with Australia’s Viktor Chistiakov, who is trying to regain the right to compete for Russia, was third.

The Shot Put was dominated by guest stars, Miran Vodovnik (SLO) and Tomazs Majevski (POL) both had a best of 19.63m but the Slovenian got the win care of a better second best put. Anton Luboslavskiy (RUS) was the bronze winner – 19.28.

Several excellent results were reached in events that were not included in the official programme of the ‘Russian Winter’. Victotya Gurova in Women’s Triple Jump leapt 14.04; in the Women’s Shot Put Irina Khudorozhkina produced 18.91, with Anna Omarova releasing 18.69m for second; in Men’s Long Jump Ruslan Gataulin won with 7.85m, several days earlier he had set the world season’s best with 7.93m in St-Petersburg.

Russian Two Miles record, an oldie but not a goldie

Rashid Sharafetdinov set the national USSR record for the indoor Two Miles (8:50.8) in February 1970 in Los Angeles, USA. And it was the oldest standing record in the history of the Soviet and then Russian track and field. That was why the organizers included the non-traditional distance in the programme of this year’s ‘Russian Winter’.

Six Russian runners duly improved the old record yesterday but the older holder Rashid Sharafetdinov wasn’t satisfied at all:

“I set it with enormous difficulties in 1970 for the length of the track was only 140 metres and I was all in pieces (physically exhausted) after the finish. And look how well these competitions are organized on an excellent track. But our runners lost to four Kenyans without putting up any resistance. That’s why I’m so upset.”

And how true he was! The Kenyans were at their best. Shadrack Korir won the Two Miles easily in 8:23.94 leaving behind his team-mates Isaac Sang (8:24.10), Boniface Songok (8:24.18) and Mark Bett (8:24.44). Sergey Ivanov who is the owner of the new Russian record was only 5th (8:35.84). But let’s not be too severe on the new record holder: Congratulations, Sergey!

Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF