Russia's Lyukman Adams in action in the triple jump (© AFP / Getty Images)
The Russian Championships and trials for the IAAF World Championships later this month were held in Cheboksary and the four-day event, which finished on Wednesday (5), produced several high-quality performances in jumping events.
World indoor triple jump champion Lyukman Adams, after struggling during the early part of the season, finally found his form and bounded out in the first round to a season's best of 17.34m, the second-best outdoor performance of his life.
World University Games winner Dmitry Sorokin leapt 17.07m to finish second but European champion Aleksey Fedorov has had to call an end to his season after a leg injury sustained at the World University Games in Korea last month. He did not compete in Cheboksary but has told local reporters that although he'll miss the IAAF World Championships, he hopes to be fit for the World Military Games in October.
On the women's side, a 14.27m jump was enough for Ekaterina Koneva to take another national title.
Her training partner, high jumper and World University Games gold medallist Daniil Tsyplakov, won his event with 2.31m.
Tsyplakov faced opposition from Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov. With the bar at 2.31m, Tsyplakov cleared this height on his second attempt which proved to be decisive, while Ukhov decided to skip it. He smashed into the bar on his first jump at 2.33m and had two unsuccessful attempts at 2.35m.
Chicherova the Russian champion again
Olympic and 2011 world champion Anna Chicherova again confirmed her top shape and cleared 2.00m to win the women’s national title.
World indoor champion Maria Kuchina, who has a wild card entry for Beijing as the 2014 Diamond Race winner, jumped 1.97m.
In the absence of pre-qualified Darya Klishina, Yuliya Pidluzhnaya reached a personal best of 6.87m to take the gold medal in the long jump, adding three centimetres to her own best which had dated from 2010.
Elena Sokolova, coming back after childbirth, seems to be on the right path to regain her best shape, and was second with 6.70m.
In the men’s long jump, another World University Games winner, Pavel Shalin, produced a wind-assisted 8.05m leap in the fourth round to win but missed the qualification standard for Beijing. Sergey Polyanskiy, who earlier in the season already fulfilled the standard with 8.20m, was second with 8.03m while Alexander Petrov was third with 8.01m.
In the pole vault finals, the gold medals went to the two clear favourites: European champion Anzhelika Sidorova with 4.50m – her one and only clearance before three failures at 4.65m while her main rival Angelina Krasnova no-heighted – and Alexander Gripich with 5.65m.
Konstantin Tolokonnikov made the headlines in the men's middle-distance events, as the 19-year-old improved his 800m personal best to 1:45.76 and took his first national senior title.
Tolokonnikov, who earlier in the season took the silver medal at the European Junior Championships, is definitely worth paying attention to, as he is advised by the current head coach of the national team, 2004 Olympic 800m champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy.
The 400m winners were Kseniya Aksyonova (nee Ustalova) in 51.44 and Maksim Dyldin in 46.04.
Antyukh faces race against time
Olympic 400m hurdles champion Natalya Antyukh has a lot of ground to make up before Beijing.
In her first competition of the season, she finished third in 56.28, although she was faster in the heats with 55.92. The winner in the final was Darya Korableva, another recent mother, in a personal best of 55.69.
In the men's event, European medallist Denis Kudryavtsev did not face any problems and had an easy win in 49.07.
There were good performances in the women's 100m hurdles, Nina Morozova was first home in 12.88 and Yekaterina Galitskaya second in 12.92.
2011 world javelin champion Maria Abakumova, back in action in her first season after giving birth to twin daughters last year, finally managed to fulfill the qualification standard when she threw 61.26m but this was still enough only for the silver medal, with the gold going to Vira Rebrik with 64.93m.
Abakumova's husband Dmitri Tarabin made it a family affair, adding another national title to his collection, and throwing 84.70m in his first competition after two months out with an injured shoulder.
Elsewhere, Maksim Sidorov won the men's shot with 20.58m while Elena Panova threw the dicsus out to 63.22m to become the national champion.
Natalia Maryanchik for the IAAF