Feofanova, Polyakova dominate in rainy Tula - Russian Champs, Day 1
Tuesday 31 July 2007
Tula, Russia - Before the Russian national championships even began, the first All-Russian record was set: 950 athletes from 66 regions arrived in this ancient city to take part in the competition. Never in the history of the Russian and even the former Soviet Union championships had such a large number of competitors registered. The quantity of athletes shows that with every coming year Russian athletics is gaining gradually both in strength and popularity.
Six gold medals were at stake on the opening day. Unfortunately heavy rain spoiled the show a bit but still there were several excellent resultsachieved.
Yevgeniya Polyakova (RUS)
Season’s best 4.75m for Feofanova
In the absence of World record holder Yelena Isinbayeva, five pole vaulters were doing their utmost to prove their superiority. Of those, former World record holder Svetlana Feofanova was the most experienced and ultimately most successful. She cleared the bar at 4.75m, the third highest clearance of the season, to take the win, before ending her outing due to heavy winds that dominated the opening day.
Yuliya Golubchikova cleared 4.70, a career best, to take second while another well known jumper, Tatyana Polnova, got the bronze with a 4.55m success. Two young athletes, Anastasya Shvedova (4.50) and Aleksandra Kiryashova (4.40), missed the podium but demonstrated good technique and the desire to improve. Now its due to the national Council of Coaches to decide who’ll join Isinbayeva in Osaka, Japan for the 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics. Feofanova is a certainty since the national champion is assured of a spot. But who’ll be the other or the others?
Anna Omarova at the European Cup in Munich
Omarova collects the first gold
The women’s Shot Put is nearly always at the top of the schedule at all major athletic tournaments in Russia due to the constant success of the nation’s shot putters. Everything was decided in the second round, with Anna Omarova getting the title with a best effort of 19.34m.
Omarova, the winner of the 2007 European Cup is having the best season of her career so far.
Asked why she decided not to use her sixth attempt, Omarova said, smiling: "It was the chief coach of the national team, Valeriy Kulichenko, who approached me saying that I did my best and that was quite enough for the day.”
It was really more then enough, for the silver medal winner Anna Avdeeva remained far behind with a 18.75m throw to take second. Irina Khudorozhkina got the bronze with a 18.57 toss. Even Oksana Gaus, who missed the podium, performed well, reaching 18.53m, rounding out a quartet who exceeded the 18.30m entry standard for Osaka.
But the men were not lucky at all that evening. The rain was so heavy that the men’s competition was postponed until Wedneday (1) morning.
Polyakova dominates 100m in 11.09, Yepishin out before the start
As expected the women’s 100m was dominated by Yevgeniya Polyakova. Paying no attention to the rain she clocked 11.09, the third fastest time in Europe this year. Her 11.13 result in the semi-final was also rather inspiring, illustrating that she’s in excellent form. Yekaterina Grigorieva, at 33 nine years Polyakova’s senior, was a distant runner-up in 11.26, ahead of Natalya Rusakova, third in 11.32. Rusakova specialized in the 100m Hurdles prior to an injury which forced her to change her “profession.”
It appears as though the leading trio will form part of the Russian 4 x 100m Relay team in Osaka. Perhaps Yelena Bolsun, fourth in 11.34 will be the fourth member in the quartet. Or may be Julya Guzshina who is stronger in her favoured 200m will get the honour? In Tula she was fifth in 11.38. Worthy of mention is Irina Khabarova, who finished seventh in 11.46. Khabarova turned 41 (!) this year.
Andrei Yepishin is the only hope in the men’s 100m, but was out before the start. The European silver medallist was injured three days before the nationals and according to his own words is not likely to go to the World Championships.
In his absence the fight for the gold medal was tough: the difference between the first five sprinters was only 0.08 seconds! It was Ivan Teplykh who gained the victory clocking 10.36, ahead of Igor Gostev (10.38) and Mikhail Yegorychev (10.41).
Aleksandr Orlov won the men’s 5000m in 13:42.10, ahead of Eduard Bordukov (13:42.31) and Sergei Ivanov (13:42.31). Everything was decided over the final lap when the runners, after running at a 2:46 to 2:47 per kilometre pace, understood that it was high time to switch to top gear.
Elsewhere, another result to be mentioned was clocked in the semi-finals of the women’s 400m Hurdles heat: reigning World champion and World record holder Yuliya Pechonkina-Nosova clocked 54.00. Nobody has ran faster this season in Europe.
Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF