Fri, Aug 11, 2006 - Page 24 News List

Russian athletes dominate day three at Gothenburg

AFP , GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN

Russia's Tatyana Lysenko celebrates on the podium during a medal ceremony at the 19th European athletics championships in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Wednesday. Lysenko won the women's Hammer ahead of compatriot Gulfiya Khnafeyeva and Poland's Kamila Skolimowska.

PHOTO: AFP

Russia dominated the third day of the European championships on Wednesday, claiming three gold, three silver and two bronze medals.

The pick of the bunch was a fantastic performance in the men's high jump by Andrey Silnov, the 21-year-old Russian champion producing a faultless display of jumping to reach 2.36m.

With Swedish hopes lying on Olympic champion Stefan Holm and Linus Thornbald, the 30,000 vocal spectators at the Ullevi Stadium were treated to a riveting competition.

Tomas Janku of the Czech Republic eventually took silver from Holm on countback on 2.34m.

Silnov's compatriot Tatyana Lebedeva left it late to win the women's triple jump, the two-time triple jump world champion and long jump Olympic gold medalist leaping a championship record of 15.15m in her sixth and final attempt. That was enough to snatch the gold by 10cm from Hrisopiyi Devetzi of Greece, who herself edged Anna Pyatykh, also of Russia, by 3cm.

"This is great victory for me because it was achieved in a tough fight," Lebedeva said. "In the last round I was suddenly third, so I decided to risk it all in my last jump."

The third Russian gold came from the little-known Yeygeniya Isakova, who pulled off a major surprise in the women's 400m hurdles.

After spotting Fani Halkia of Greece -- the Olympic champion -- tiring in the final 20m, she motored through to the line to win gold in 53.93 seconds.

Halkia held on for silver with Ukraine's Tetyana Tereshchuk-Antipova taking bronze in 54.55 seconds.

It was also a good day for France, who claimed gold medals in the 1500m and 400m through Mehdi Baala and Marc Raquil.

Defending champion Baala won a cracker of a race, breaking at the bell past the Spanish trio of pacesetters and holding his stride through to the line in 3 minutes 39.02 seconds ahead of Ivan Heshko of Ukraine and Spain's Juan Carlos Higuero.

Raquil's win was equally as dramatic, a last-meter lunge for the line pushing him ahead of Russian Vladislav Frolov, who had led for most of the race. Raquil's compatriot Leslie Djhone took bronze.

Norway's Andreas Thorkildsen dominated the men's javelin, recording a best throw of 88.78m in a consistent showing.

That effort by the current Olympic champion and world silver medalist was more than two meters clear than Tero Pitkamaki of Finland.

An elusive European title proved out of reach for Czech veteran Jan Zelezny, the 40-year-old triple Olympic and double world champion content with bronze (85.92m).

The women's 100m was won by pre-race favorite Kim Gevaert of Belgium in 11.06 seconds, with Russian Yekaterina Grigoryeva taking silver in 11.22 seconds in a photo-finish with 40-year-old compatriot Irina Khabarova.

Ryta Turava of Belarus led the women's 20km walk through the streets of Gothenburg from start to finish. She completed the course in 1 hour 27 minutes 08 seconds, 1:27 ahead of Russian Olga Kaniskina, with Italian Elisa Rigaudo in bronze just two-hundredths off.

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