Mixed feelings but no mixed results for Galkina-Samitova in Stockholm
Gulnara Galkina-Samitova’s victory - one of nine by Russia over the weekend - might have helped her country retain the SPAR European Athletics Championships but the steeplechaser left Stockholm on Monday morning with mixed feelings.
"I wanted to show a better result here but I couldn’t, my legs were limp. Perhaps they were still jet-lagged after arriving from New York,” said a reflective 2008 Olympic Games 3000m gold medallist who is still the world record holder for her event with the 8:58.81 she sensationally ran in the Beijing final.
At the Samsung Diamond League meeting in New York nine days ago, she finished third but set a 2011 European-leading time of 9:29.75, a mark which she had hoped to improve on in the Swedish capital on Saturday.
“I didn’t show my best there [in New York] so I was hoping be in good shape and run well at these Championships. However, I have not appeared for the national team for some time, so I was a little nervous,” she added.
Nevertheless, Galkina-Samitova still had enough strength and speed in her legs to sprint away from Portugal’s Sara Moreira on the last lap, crossing the line in 9:31.20 and relegating her rival to second place.
“I'm glad that I’m getting the competitive feeling back. My stamina is not quite at the top level but many girls have told me that after giving birth is difficult to recover it quickly. I really liked the stadium in Stockholm and it was nice to have a real race as well, I was running with Sara Moreira and together it was a lot more fun."
The SPAR European Team Championships was only Galkina-Samitova’s second outing over the barriers, the first being in the Big Apple, since she finished fourth at the 2009 World Championships.
Samitova-Galkina, now 32, missed the whole of last year, including the 2010 European Athletics Championships, after becoming pregnant and then giving birth to her daughter Alina in June but she returned to training last autumn.
“Now I’ll be glad to get home. My daughter Alina has her first birthday and I miss her very much. Every day, I’m talking with her on Skype so he does not forget me. When I get to Moscow, she will get a huge bag of gifts. At least my little daughter is being looked after by her grandmother, grandfather and my husband, so there is no lack of babysitters,” she told the Russian athletics federation website www.rusathletics.com
However, going home wasn’t on the travel plans of another Russian winner over Stockholm Olympic stadium obstacles, 100m hurdler Tatiana Dektyareva, on Monday.
Dektyareva, who also won in Bergen 12 months ago, took maximum points with a run of 13.16 but it was indicative of the damp conditions on Sunday that she was almost half-a-second slower than her 2010 triumph.
"I wanted to run faster but I’m not going to blame it on the weather. I should be able to run faster in any conditions,” joked Dektyareva, who finished sixth at the 2010 European Athletics Championships, just running out of steam after a sparkling first few months last summer.
“After all, nobody knows what awaits us in Daegu. I say that with conviction because I now train in Korea, as my coach is working there under contract, so I know what the conditions can be like there.
“Now, I’m going back to Korea and I will prepare there for the Russian Championships,” added the 30-year-old Muscovite.