Maria Kuchina wins the high jump in Moscow (© Alexander Kiselev / www.sportfoto.ru)
Mariya Kuchina, the current world leader in the women’s high jump, was dominant on the final day of the Russian Indoor Championships, held at the CSKA Indoor Arena in Moscow on February 17-19.
The 21-year-old world junior bronze medallist has already jumped 2.01m and 2.00m this season, but on Wednesday she just needed to clear 1.94m to get the gold. Irina Gordeyeva and Oksana Krasnokutskaya jumped 1.90m with Gordeyeva being given second place on count-back.
Kuchina – who is undefeated this season with four wins – then attempted a would-be personal best of 2.02m, but didn’t succeed.
“The competition wasn’t perfect. I cleared too many heights at the second try, so I’ll have to figure out the reasons with my coach,” said Kuchina. “It was good to try to set a personal best, but it’s too hard to do it in the morning. As for my approach, it will remain short. These eight steps contain all my power.”
Elsewhere in the field events, Pavel Shalin went over eight metres in the long jump for the third time this season, leaping 8.08m for the win, but he still lacks the 8.16m entry standard for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot 2014.
In the pole vault, 22-year-old Ilya Mudrov improved his indoor personal best by 20cm to win with a 5.60m clearance.
Olympian Veronika Mosina was the only athlete in the women’s triple jump to surpass 14 metres. The 23-year-old jumped 14.06m on her final attempt to win her first national title.
Medal exchange for Karamasheva and Shchagina
After getting the bronze in the 800m on Tuesday, Svetlana Karamasheva gained her revenge in the 1500m, winning in 4:11.46. Natalya Aristarkhova took second place in 4:12.51, while 800m winner Anna Shchagina took the bronze in 4:14.42.
“I was too sure I would win the 800m the other day,” said Karamasheva. “It was so upsetting to only get bronze, that today I was thinking I would give all I’ve got in the last 500m. Whether I die or not, it doesn’t matter. So I’m extremely happy about having achieved my goal.
“The time is not impressive, but given the fact that it’s the third straight competition day for me, I’ll take it.”
The men’s 1500m title went to Valentin Smirnov, but he failed to achieve the 3:41 entry standard for the World Indoors, clocking 3:41.65.
“It is a tough season for me because my coach recently passed away. I miss his attention and care,” said Smirnov. “Anyway, I didn’t put any focus on indoors. I was doing 600km a week worth of volume in December and 500km in January. My training is aimed at the summer.”
In the 5000m, the women’s national title went to Alla Kulyatina, who won in 15:30.52, almost 18 seconds faster than her outdoor PB. In second, 19-year-old European junior bronze medallist Alena Kudashkina set a Russian indoor under-23 best of 15:51.00, breaking the previous mark of 15:59.07 that was set two years ago by Lyudmila Lebedeva.
In the men’s 5000m, twins Anatoliy Rybakov and Evgeniy Rybakov took gold and silver in 13:44.21 and 13:44.70 respectively.
The Russian team for Sopot is expected to be announced on Thursday (20).
Elena Dyachkova and Alla Glushschenko for IAAF