The Russian athletics season closes with the final of the "Queen of Sports" series in Yekaterinburg. The participants of the decisive stage were determined by the rating: in most types of vouchers, the eight strongest received. The only exceptions were sprint disciplines, both smooth and hurdle, where competitions begin with the semifinal stage (two races of eight athletes), as well as 1500 and 5000 meters, where 12 athletes were admitted. In addition, in the women's high jump, Olympic champion Maria Lasitskene was given a wild card, as she missed most of the season due to injury.
Solid prize money is played at the tournament: the winners in each form will receive 300 thousand rubles, silver medalists - 200 thousand, and bronze - 100 thousand. They are entitled to 4, 6 and 50 thousand, respectively.
The competition opened with a women's 5000 m race, where the winner of the Russian Cup Olga Vovk and the current champion of the country Svetlana Aplachkina once again clashed for the victory. No one could intervene in their duel that day: the girls pulled ahead from the first meters of the distance and reached the finish line together. Vovk was running, and the opponent in her style kept behind her, waiting for an opportunity to attack at the finish line. Aplachkina really made this attempt to snatch victory with a spurt, but it was unsuccessful, and the victory went to a runner from the Rostov region.
In such a tense rivalry, both girls showed very good results: none of the Russian athletes had run so fast since the London Olympics. As it turned out, speed was originally Vovk's tactical idea.
"Sveta is known for her good finish, and this season I sank a little at the finish line, but I added to my stamina. And the coach and I decided that the only way to beat Svetlana was to immediately crush the pace. I didn't crush it, but still the tactics played, "Olga shared after the speech.
Oddly enough, but in her crown steeplechase, Vovk did not make it to the final of the "Queen", and in her absence, Ekaterina Ivonina won there with a clear advantage. She was ahead of her closest pursuer, Anna Tropina, by a whole tram stop - almost 15 seconds.
For men, it seemed, the race would follow the same scenario: Maxim Yakushev went into the lead from the first meters, and at some point he was separated from his rivals by almost a third of the circle. But closer to the finish line, the strength of the champion of Russia dried up, and he was almost overtaken by Konstantin Plokhotnikov - he did not have enough meters to snatch gold. After the end of the race, all attention was focused on the winner of the silver medal, although not because of his heroic breakthrough. The fact is that the 26-year-old athlete right at the stadium made a marriage proposal to his girlfriend Vlad, who works at these competitions as a photographer. She agreed.
It was a successful competition day for the Makarenko couple - both Kristina and Artem won victories in their disciplines. And if the multiple champion of Russia for many years is considered the unquestioning leader of the women's sprint and the favorite of any competition, then her husband, who retrained for a short hurdle race after the decathlon, did not go so smoothly. At a number of starts, Artem managed to successfully carry out preliminary stages, but in the final the run did not work out for one reason or another. And only in Yekaterinburg he managed to win the long-awaited victory, and with a personal record of 13.36 seconds. The second place went to the Belarusian Vitaly Parokhonko, who was ahead of the ex-world champion Sergei Shubenkov. The illustrious runner, still recovering from a broken collarbone, is content with third place for the second start in a row.
Meanwhile, Makarenko admitted that on the eve of the tournament he had a fever and the performance until the last moment was in question. In the qualifying race, according to him, it was difficult, but then the state of health improved.
"I didn't expect that there would be such a good feeling in the final. It took a very long time to get to these seconds, I was often ready, but everything didn't work out. And here is the second start in a row: personal bests. We are very happy with the coach that we are going in the right direction," the runner shared his impressions.
Shubenkov, in turn, complained about the result shown, as he expected more from himself. According to him, it was a shame to lubricate the end of the season.
"I didn't expect this to happen. I like it though. That was the last start. Now I will rest, heal and recover to the end," the athlete said.
He also said that he does not plan to end his career even if he is not allowed to attend the Olympics in Paris. As you know, the head of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, said that the federation does not plan to invite Russian athletes to the Games.
"We didn't expect anything else from Coe. I said earlier that even if we have access from the International Olympic Committee, there is still an international federation that has its own opinion on this matter, "Shubenkov stressed.
In Yekaterinburg, unlike the recent championship of Russia, there was no fierce struggle at high altitudes in the men's pole vault. Already at around 5.55 meters, five participants remained in the sector, and everyone, except Timur Morgunov, had problems overcoming it. Matvey Volkov and Mikhail Shmykov needed two attempts, and Alexander Solovyov and Georgy Gorokhov coped with only the third. Only Morgunov and Solovyov were able to fly another 10 cm higher, and the last one "broke" at 5.72. Timur, already in the status of the winner, tried to take 5.82, but invariably knocked down the bar.
"Emotions are mixed. I was a little scared that not everything worked out in the warm-up, the jumps did not go. But then he pulled himself together, corrected his mistakes and began to show the jumps that were in Chelyabinsk. But since the end of the season, I really lacked strength. It was clear that all the guys were tired, including me, "Morgunov shared.
But in the final of the men's hundred-meter race, the participants were able to arrange a real show. Moreover, one of its brightest participants was Alexei Laptev, the champion of Russia in bobsleigh, a participant in last year's Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. The athlete, who combines two types, managed to impose a fight on the recognized leaders of the domestic sprint, who won the season more than once - Yaroslav Tkalich, Danila Ten and Konstantin Krylov. In the dynamics of the race, it even seemed that all four crossed the finish line almost simultaneously, but the photo finish put everyone in their places. Gold went to the champion of Russia Tkalich, who was 0.007 seconds ahead of Krylov. Ten won bronze, and Laptev became the fourth, repeating his personal best (10.34 seconds).
After the performance, Tkalich joked that all the prize money earned would have to be spent on new spikes, since six pairs were out of order during the current season.
"After the championship of Russia there were ambivalent feelings. On the one hand, the weight fell from my shoulders, as we managed to defend the title, and on the other hand, there was a certain emotional devastation. But I was looking for the strength to train," the athlete said.