Anna Chicherova in Paris World Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Russian Championships - Final Day

Tula, RussiaOnce again the competition at the 2004 Russian Championships had to be postponed because of heavy rains and thunderstorms which started at the most inappropriate moment.
Olympic champion Yelesina fails to qualify

Worl Indoor champion and the best Russian high jumper this year Elena Slesarenko was exempted from the selection and in her absence four athletes were still in competition at 1.98m but only Anna Chicherova succeeded in her last third attempt.

Olga Kaliturina and the 20 years old Tatyana Novoseltzeva tied for second after failing at 1.98 with a clearance of 1.95. Victoriya Seregina was fourth on count-back while Sydney Olympic High Jump champion Elena Yelesina could only managed fifth clearing the mediocre 1.89.

World silver medallist and European Indoor champion Marina Kuptsova didn’t participate because of injury.
Triple jump in the absence of the All-Russian Glory

In the women’s triple jump the absence of Tatyana Lebedeva gave all the opportunities to her opponents to prove their strength. Anna Patykh who is the triple winner of the European Cup won the final with a leap of 14.69. The 22 year old European Youth champion Victoriya Gurova was second with 14.65 and Oksana Rogova took the third place with 14.46.
Tough choices expect the Council of coaches

There were so many surprises in the men’s 1500m. The national champion and record holder Viatcheslav Shabunin is very often under the coaches’ fire as his tactical decisions often prove wrong in international competitions when he often tries to kick with 40-50 metres to go but with little success.

But at the national level Shabunin is usually never second to none. But it wasn’t the case in Tula as Shabunin was severely beaten by the young 21 year old Aleksandr Krivchenkov who finished first with his personal best of 3:40.04.

Shabunin was second – 3:40.37 as the bronze medal went to Stanislav Khukharkin in 3:41.23.

World Steeplechase record holder Gulnara Samitova won her second gold of the championships as she took the 1500m title following her 5000m win earlier this week. Samitova sprintied to the line and clocked an excellent 4:01.29 with relatively unknown 800m specialist Natalya Evdokimova taking second with 4:01.57.

2003 World champion of 2003 Tatyana Tomashova crossed the line in third (4:01.60) and Elena Zadorozhnaya was only fourth (4:02.34).

And now the Council of coaches of the Russian team will have to decide who’ll be selected at 1500m. For as we’ve already written Olga Yegorova was exempted from the competitions and there are four strong contenders for only two places left.

In the absence of Svetlana Feofanova and Yelena Isinbaeva the women’s pole vault was surprisingly won by Anastasya Ivanova who cleared all her heights to eventually score 4.55.

Tatyana Polnova passed at 4.55 and failed at 4.60. So she finished second. Elena Belyakova was third with 4.40. 
The day of classical relays

Medals were at stake at four classical relays. Men’s 4x100m was won by the team of Krasnodar region in 40.12. The team of the Siberian city Omsk lost by only 0.05 seconds.

The women’s team of Rostov composed only of four young runners aged 19 to 21 year old finished first in 44.52. The runner-up team of Cheliabinsk was a full second adrift.

The men’s 4x400 went to the team of St-Petersburg who clocked 3:07.09 to defeat the arch-rival team from Moscow into second in 3:08.37.

The team of St-Petersburg also took the women’s 4x400m relay in 3:29.65 with the team of Cheliabinsk in second in 3:31.39.

 Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF