Defending European indoor champion Klishina feels strong heading for Russian Trials | 05.02.2013
|European indoor long jump champion Darya
Klishina of Russia.
After warming up in the first round with a season's best 6.77m at the Russian Winter meeting at the weekend, The Russian left her best until last with a sparkling 6.80, a full 11cm better than her previous best this winter prior to Moscow.
"My original plan was to hit 6.75, but I forgot all about that in the heat of the competition." In fact, she surpassed that in her first attempt, fouled her second, stabilised with her third at 6.66 before putting everything into her final push. "This result was important for me," noted the 22-year-old, "It was important because I wanted to get the best out of the shape I am in."
That result places Klishina third on the world rankings behind fellow Russian, Olga Kucherenko, who won the competition with 6.83m. Kucherenko leads the rankings with 7.00m.
"In training I feel strong," added Klishina. "But in previous competitions, I did not think that I was able to take advantage of my form.
"But I approached this Russian Winter with more motivation than previous ones. I am really happy with my second place.
"Next on the agenda is the Russian Championships and qualification for the European Athletics Indoor Championships."
Another athlete who finished second in Moscow, Ekaterina Poistogova, was the surprise package from the London Olympics who ran so impressively for 800m bronze in the British capital.
This time she went in the 1000m and came away with a lifetime best 2:36.97, almost two seconds faster than her previous top mark: "Of course, I am delighted with my race because I set a personal best, but I did not expect to finish second because there were some serious rivals in the race.
"As we approached the finish line there was a lot of jostling for position and though I had the strength to win I did not manage it because of some small mistakes I made in positioning."
Since her surprise medal in the summer, Poistogova, 21, senses she has become a target for her rivals, but it is not a situation she dislikes: "There is an added responsibility [to being an Olympic medallist]. But I have more confidence now and recognise I can compete for the top places in international competition."
Completing a trio of youthful talent is high jumper, Mariya Kuchina, who has recently celebrated her 20th birthday. She too is looking forward to the Russian championships so that she can qualify for Göteborg.
Kuchina is one of those intriguing athletes who has jumped higher indoors than out, a world junior record no less when she went over 1.97 two years ago.
So far in 2013 she has gone no higher than 1.91 in her only competition of the winter, but it was one that she won. Nonetheless, she learnt a lot from it, she maintains: "Now I can clearly see my flaws and I need to work on them before the Russian Championships," she said.
The European junior champion from 2011 lies currently ninth on the 2013 world lists, but she did compete in Samara in December and cleared 1.95. That would place her third this winter and clearly makes her a medal threat for Göteborg if she gets through her Trials.
When asked what did she think she will need to get picked for the Europeans? "1.98m," said Kuchina, who has not competed since that early January outing because she wants to be ready to fight for her place on the Göteborg plane.
If all goes well, she is planning a full season, aiming for not only Sweden, but the IAAF World Championships in Moscow as well as the European Athletics U23 Championships in Tampere: "Don't forget I am still young enough for that!" she insisted.