At the Russian Athletics Championship, which ended in Cheboksary, the main Russian stars, as expected, won without competition. At the same time, Anzhelika Sidorova showed the best result of the world season, Maria Lasitskene jumped two meters for the first time this year, and Sergey Shubenkov simply brought everyone a huge lead in the hurdle sprint, although he showed time so-so, by his own standards.
Agree, there is more than enough attention to these athletes, and therefore we chose others as heroes of the Russian championship. Those who did not have a single chance to speak at the international level due to the lack of a neutral status. Three were chosen, but in fact there are many more.
Faster than the world champion
Maxim Yakushev, who won the 3000 m hurdles, showed the best result of the Russian season. In a beautiful fight with Eduard Batyrshin, an athlete from the Sverdlovsk region won with a score of 8:21.95! Just a great result, like his main competitor – 8:23.64.
Why such excitement? Yes, because both Russians were faster than the world champion – 2022 Moroccan Sufian El-Bakkali, who ran in Eugene in 8:25.13! Imagine, if our guys went to the USA, they could fight for gold in the most, perhaps, unexpected discipline, which no one would have even thought about before the start of the tournament.
With all this, the newly-minted champion of Russia does not have a neutral status – Maxim is simply tired of waiting for the situation to be resolved.
“I withdrew the application, as I no longer hope for anything now. At the same time, I was one of the first to apply in January, ”Yakushev told the Championship.
This season could be the most stellar in his career for the 30-year-old athlete. There may not be a second chance.
Photo: From the personal archive
Back to 2015
Konstantin Tolokonnikov in juniors declared himself so loudly that many called him the heir to Yuri Borzakovsky. Silver medalist of the U-18 World Championship, U-20 European Champion. He simply fiercely smashed his opponents in Russia, in 2015 in Cheboksary he won the national championship among adults with a score of 1.45.76 – for Russian average athletes, results up to 1.46.00 can be considered high.
The then 19-year-old athlete hardly thought that that result would remain the best in his career. A series of his injuries coincided with sanctions against Russian athletics: our athletes lost the opportunity to compete under their own flag and anthem. The real Tolokonnikov returned only this season. Seven years later.
In Cheboksary, Tolokonnikov beat his principal competitor and namesake Konstantin Kholmogorov, last year’s champion of Russia at distances of 800 m and 1500 m. He beat him very beautifully, showing a result of 1:45.86. Yes, this is only the 89th time in the world this season, but Tolokonnikov is clearly ready to run faster if his opponents are also fast.
But Konstantin could not prove himself at international competitions – he also did not have a neutral status. He began to fill out an application, realized that the passport was expired (our athletes did not even think that they could travel to international tournaments), and when he received a new one, a special military operation began in Ukraine.
Now Tolokonnikov is 26 years old – it’s time to flourish. Will it be possible to implement it?
Konstantin Tolokonnikov leads the race
Photo: RIA Novosti
Nine years have not run so fast
Olga Vovk ran the 3000m steeplechase in Cheboksary in 9:09.29. This is the best result of the season in Europe and the seventh in the world. Vovk beat the main favorite Ekaterina Ivonina.
In the women’s steeplechase, our athletes have not run so fast for 9 years. Since the time of Yulia Zaripova, who showed at least part of her high results using prohibited methods.
“Honestly, I expected about 9.15. I had one task – to hold on to Katya, because for many years I could not do it, and now I managed not only to hold on, but also to overtake, ”said the champion.
In the cut with a fast rival, she ran much faster than what she expected from herself.
Vovk prepared perfectly for the Russian Championship, showing the absolute best result in her career. Olga demonstrated amazing form on the “smooth” lorry, finishing third.
Photo: RIA Novosti
She also does not have a neutral status.
“Yes, he is useless this year. All the same, even those who have it cannot compete anywhere, except for internal starts, ”Olga told the Championship.
Vovk will turn 30 early next year. Perhaps she will no longer have a chance to prove herself at the highest level.