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Athletics - 20. February 2008.

European Athletics Indoor Cup, Moscow in review

The host nation, Russia, emerged victorious in the women's competitions at the 4th European Athletics Indoor Cup in the CSKA Arena in Moscow today.

Their victory in the men's event was their first in the history of the Cup while the women won their fourth successive title.

Spain had their best ever finish in the men's competition to take the runners-up spot behind the host nation and Italy also had their best ever result to take third position, while the German women took the runners up spot ahead of the Spaniards.

There were three new European Indoor Cup records set by Spain's Josephine Onyia with 7.93 in the 60m Hurdles, Germany's Ariane Friedrich with 2.00m in the women's High Jump and a new Russian record and European leading performance by Yevgeniy Borisov in the men's 60m Hurdles.

For full event-by-event reports and results go to www.european-athletics.org


Russia once again revealed their total dominance of European competition with a fourth straight win in the fourth edition of the cup by a record 24-point margin from Germany.

Even minus a number of their star name athletes the hosts were simply untouchable, winning six out of the 10 events and only once finishing out of the top three. Yet despite the day having a distinctly Russian flavour, the performance of the cup belonged to rising German High Jump star Ariane Friedrich who cleared 2.00m for the second time in her career to take all nine points.

The 24-year-old Friedrich let out a scream of delight after wriggling over the bar at her third attempt at the height to match the mark she cleared for the first time in her life in Glasgow last month.

Oleysa Chumakova ran from the front to claim a
comfortable 1,500m title.

Spain’s World Indoor bronze medallist Ruth Beitia had to settle for second with 1.98m in a high-class competition, although the World Championship silver medallist Antonietta di Martino, a little rusty in her first competition of the indoor season failed to progress beyond 1.92m for fourth.

On the track, 2002 European 400m Champion Oleysa Zykina, the world No.1, confirmed her status by cruising to a routine success in the 400m in 51.91 while her team-mate Svetlana Nabokina repelled a later charge from German Verena Sailer, the European U23 100m Champion, to take the women’s 60m by 0.02 in 7.24.

In the middle-distances Russia once again dug deep from its astonishing bank of talent to take the 1,500m and 3,000m courtesy of Oleysa Chumakova (4:15.28) and Yelena Sidorchenkova (8:57.78) as both employed aggressive front-running tactics to destroy the opposition.

However, the 800m provided the pick of the women’s races as Poland’s 2006 World Indoor finalist Ewelina Setowska-Dryk timed her victory bid to perfection to pass Italy’s 1:58 Elisa Cusma in the final strides to win by 0.23 in 2:01.50. Spain’s World Championship bronze medallist Mayte Martinez failed to keep the pace for most of the race and had to settle for third in 2:02.57.

Spain’s Josephine Onyia catapulted into the world’s top seven after setting a cup record 7.93 in the women’s 60m Hurdles to claim the scalp of 7.89-performer Yauhenia Valadzho of Belarus.

In the field, European Champion Lyudmila Kolchanova was some way below her best in the Long Jump, but a leap of 6.60m was good enough for maximum points. While in the women’s shot Denise Hinrichs only needed a modest best of 17.84m to clinch victory from European Indoor Champion Assunta Legnante of Italy (17.74m).

Somewhat predictably the final event, the 2000m Medley Relay, went the way of the powerful Russian quartet who eased to a comfortable win in 4:43.22.

Behind the all-conquering hosts, Germany will be encouraged by their efforts to finish second on 53 points and Spain backed up their second place in the men’s competition with a solid third in the women’s with a 50 point haul.

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