Anna Nazarova-Klyashtornaya in the long jump (© Getty Images)
During three days of the Russian Championships in Kazan on 23-26 July there was only one European lead – Anna Nazarova-Klyashtornaya’s 6.93m long jump – but there were still a number of close battles and high quality results in other events.
Nazarova-Klyashtornaya, who took a break last season for a child birth, came back to competition strong as ever and in the qualification round she flew out to 6.93m, her second-best jump ever and the second-best mark in the world this year.
The hot favourite, double European indoor champion Darya Klishina, took it easy in qualifying but in the final she produced a season’s best of 6.90m to win her first outdoor national title. Nazarova-Klyashtornaya finished second with 6.58m to book her spot on the Russian team for the European Championships.
World indoor champion Yekaterina Koneva had a hard time in defending her national triple jump title. Alsu Murtazina leapt a season’s best of 14.50m in the first round, but Koneva responded straight away with a wind-assisted 14.84m (2.1m/s). She rounded out her series with wind-legal leaps of 14.30m, 14.40m, 14.64m and 14.58m.
World indoor silver medallist Anzhelika Sidorova improved her outdoor PB to 4.70m to win the pole vault, just one centimetre shy of the European lead currently shared by Lisa Ryzih and Ekaterina Stefanidi. Sidorova will join the newly-crowned world junior champion Alena Lutkovskaya on the team for Zurich.
Kristina Sivkova, the 17-year-old sprint prodigy, continued her amazing progress. After setting a national youth 100m record of 11.38 earlier this month, Sivkova improved on that by 0.07 to win the national title in 11.31.
That time would have been enough to win a medal at the World Junior Championships in Eugene, but she is young enough to compete at the next edition. Her main focus for this year is the European Championships.
Tsyplakov breaks through
The championships was missing some of Russia’s biggest men’s stars, as the likes of Olympic high jump champion Ivan Ukhov and European sprint hurdles champion Sergey Shubenkov have both secured automatic selection for the European Championships.
But in their absence, European under-23 silver medallist Daniil Tsyplakov stepped up and won the high jump with an outdoor best of 2.32m, beating 2011 world silver medallist Aleksey Dmitrik, who cleared 2.28m.
Both jumpers will join Ukhov at the European Championships. 2008 Olympic champion Andrey Silnov had to withdraw from the competition due to injury, ending his season.
Elsewhere on the track, 22-year-old Svetlana Rogozina ran an 800m PB of 1:59.54 to win her first senior national title. Olympic bronze medallist Ekaterina Poistogova got a bye from her specialist event at the national championships and instead ran the 400m, clocking 53.47 in the heats.
European indoor finalist Svetlana Karamasheva narrowly missed the middle-distance double, finishing second in the 800m in 2:00.30 and then two days later winning the 1500m in a season’s best of 4:04.45.
Former world champion Tatyana Tomashova, now 39, made an impressive comeback after child birth and crossed the finish line second in 4:06.77 but it wasn’t enough to qualify for the European Championships, as European Team Championships silver medallist Anna Schagina has an automatic berth for the team.
There was impressive depth in the men’s pole vault as the three best jumpers cleared 5.70m. Sergey Kucheryanu and Ilya Mudrov refused to partake in a jump-off, so shared first place. Dmitry Starodubtsev cleared the same height in third and all three will represent Russia at the European Championships.
World indoor champion Mariya Kuchina dominated the high jump and won with 1.92m before two good attempts at a would-be PB of 2.01m. Olympic champion and world leader Anna Chicherova is still taking care of her health issues, but hopes to be back on track by the time of the European Championships.
Olympic silver medallist Yevgeniya Kolodko easily won the shot with 19.29m. In the absence of 2011 world champion Mariya Abakumova, who recently gave birth to twins, 23-year-old Viktoriya Sudarushkina won the javelin with 58.53m.
Dmitri Tarabin surprisingly lost the national javelin crown to European silver medallist Valery Iordan, who threw 78.20m. Tarabin managed just 74.63m, but his place on the European team was already guaranteed after finishing second at the European Team Championships earlier in the season.
Aleksey Fedorov was the only man to surpass 17 metres in the triple jump, leaping 17.07m. World indoor champion Lyukman Adams is temporarily out of action, nursing a leg injury.
It was a similar situation in the long jump, where Aleksander Petrov prevailed with a wind-assisted 8.02m in the absence of world champion Aleksandr Menkov, who is dealing with health issues ahead of the European Championships.
Elsewhere, European junior champion Timofey Chalyy set a PB of 49.15 to win the 400m hurdles, while world 4x400m bronze medallist Vladimir Krasnov won the 400m in 45.45, the fourth-fastest time of his career.
Yuriy Borzakovskiy, the 2004 Olympic 800m champion, had intended to compete at the National Championships, but he pulled out at the last minute and has now called an end to his outstanding career, aged 33.
Natalia Maryanchik for the IAAF