Tajikistan's Dilshod Nazarov, currently number two on the 2015 world lists, had his second-best competition of the season when he threw 78.29m to claim the victory at the Znamensky Memorial, part of the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge, in Zhukovsky on Saturday (18).
Nazarov's best effort came in the fifth round, when he took the lead from Slovakia’s Marcel Lomnicky, who threw a season’s best of 77.50m with his second attempt. Home star Sergey Litvinov finished third with 77.00m.
“This is my second career victory in Zhukovsky, and I really enjoy competing here,” said Nazarov.
“I like the stadium and the sector. And the field is usually packed with great throwers. I am quite satisfied about my result; this is more or less what I hoped for before. Now I'm going to compete in Karlstad (Sweden) on 22 July, and then focus on my preparation for the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.”
In the women’s competition, current Russian number one Mariya Bespalova did not face any strong opposition and won with her season’s best 70.89m.
The Olympic finalist was the only one to throw beyond 70 metres, and did it twice. Anna Sobaleva from Belarus finished second with 69.95m.
“It really felt like I was competing at home because I regularly train at this stadium and represent the Moscow region at the national level,” said Bespalova.
“I am happy that I managed to be consistent throughout the competition, with five out of six valid throws. I perfectly realise that 70 metres is not enough at all, and it is not very high on the world top lists. The level of women's hammer throw in the world is very high now so I hope to improve my result by the national championships in Cheboksary in August.”
There was a special moment with the appearance in the sector of world and Olympic champion Tatyana Beloborodova (nee Lysenko), who gave birth to her son Makariy in February.
Beloborodova finished eighth with 61.88m. Her form is still a long way from her best conditions but, after winning in Moscow two years ago, she has got an automatic entry for Beijing is still thinking over the possibility of competing in China next month.
”I am so impressed with Tatyana's fast comeback and especially with her attitude to her competitors,” said Bespalova.
“She cheers for the other girls and tries to help us as much as she can,” added the winner in Zhukovsky’s Meteor Stadium. "She is a real hero to start training so early after giving birth, and I am sure she is on the right way to find her best shape."
The men’s long jump was the best event on the second day of competition. Kanstantsin Barychevski had never before surpassed eight metres, but the Belarusian smashed his PB to win with 8.17m.
The 25-year-old opened with 8.02m, produced his winning mark in the second round and then backed it up with 8.11m in round three. He finished 13 centimetres ahead of Sergey Polyanskiy, the Russian who recently set a PB of 8.20m.
European 400m bronze medallist Donald Sanford also had a perfect day in Zhukovskiy, breaking the meeting record and his own Israeli record with 45.04. Fellow European bronze medallist – albeit in the 400m hurdles – Denis Kudryavtsev was Sanford’s closest challenger, setting a PB of 45.86 in second.
The other notable performance came from Kristina Koroleva. The 24-year-old quit the heptathlon three months ago to focus on the high jump, and now trains alongside Olympic champion Anna Chicherova under the tutelage of high jump guru Evgeny Zagorulko. In Zhukovskiy, she set a PB of 1.90m in her new specialist event.
Natalia Maryanchik for the IAAF