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Russian team aims for medals in Erfurt


Russia
[08.07.2005] A high quality Russian team of 60 athletes (28 men and 32 women) will travel to the European Athletics U23 Championships which take place in Erfurt, Germany, on 14-17 July. The team includes three World Junior champions, two recent winners at the SPAR European Cup and plenty of medal chances.

The team for Erfurt should be just as successful as previous Russian teams. At the European Athletics U23 Championships in Bydgoszcz two years ago the Russians won seven Gold medals and 13 other medals and at last year's World Junior Championships 18 podium places and seven gold medals were achieved.

Current World Junior champions Anastasia Taranova (triple jump), Andrej Azarenkov (hammer) and Irina Petrova (race walking) will be competing in Erfurt. 2005 SPAR European Cup winners Alexej Dmitrik and Tatjana Kivimyagi (both high jump) will also be amongst the favourites for Gold.

Home favourite Betty Heidler, the German record holder, will face tough competition from Ekaterina Koroshikh in the hammer. Koroshikh's personal best is 73.08m and she has thrown over 70m in the majority of her competitions this year.

German athletes Nadine Müller (discus), Christina Schwanitz (shot put) and Norman Müller (decathlon) will be looking to reverse the placings at last year's World Junior Championships when they again meet their Russian rivals Darya Pishchalnikova, Anna Avdeyeva und Aleksey Sysoyev. The Germans all finished third behind the Russian Silver medallists in Grosseto last year and will be looking for revenge. The favourite in the decathlon however will be current Russian champion Alexej Drozdov.

Other Russian medal favourites are Anna Aliminova (1500m), Silver medallist at the 2004 World Juniors; Olga Zaytseva, who has already run 50.06 for 400m this year; 17 metre triple jumper Alexander Sergeev; and walker Vladimir Parvatkin, who at the age of just 20 has already clocked 1:18:06 for the 20km walk and is one of the five fastest walkers in the world this year.   (el/fc)