Russia’s head coach Maslakov says team spirit helped win in Stockholm
|The victorious Russian team celebrates after winning the SPAR
European Team Championships in Stockholm.
Russia’s head athletics coach Valentin Maslakov hailed the team spirit of his country’s defence of their SPAR European Team Championships title last weekend.
The victory confirmed Russia’s position as the number one athletics nation on the continent.
“We had no apparent failures; we scored more points than last year. The team rallied around each other, and worked well with the officials on the team. Everybody felt for each other; everybody supported each other,” said Maslakov, in an interview with the Russian athletics federation website www.rusthaletics.com.
“When Darya Pishchalnikova finished her last attempt [after the women’s discus, when Russia took an unassailable lead four events before the end], we all just stood up and roared. The guys who did not do as well as we had hoped, came and apologized after their events. This had never happened before.”
Russia could boast of nine victories across the weekend but had very few weak events.
Particularly impressive were a number of performances by their men in the distance events, several of whom got double figure points when they were predicted to finish well down.
“The women of the team, as always, were expected to be at the front of their events but from among the men, the only ones who had European-leading marks were Zagorniy, Dmitrik and Menkov. All the rest were predicted to finish in sixth place or lower.
“It is definitely difficult in this situation to win a team tournament, but many rose to the occasion. We took to Sweden those athletes who their coaches had told us were rounding into form and many produced their best result of the season in Stockholm,” reflected Maslakov.
“Maksim Dyldin ran brilliantly in the 400 metres, he coped perfectly with his task. Tanya Dektyareva won the 100m hurdles for the second consecutive year. In Stockholm, she was seeded into the B race but then was faster than everyone in the A race.
|The Russian team demonstrated all round brilliance
across events to dominate the championships.
I was also pleased by the performances of our long jumpers Aleksandr Menkov and Darya Klishina. In both cases they won by just one centimetre from Swedish athletes but it was a testimony to the integrity of the Swedish judges that they were impartial in their work and were only guided by the electronic measurement system.
“I also want to mention [high jumper] Aleksiy Dmitrik, who didn’t win, but conducted himself with dignity in the field. This championship changed my attitude towards him. Previously, I had doubts about his fighting qualities.
“Mariya Savinova had a good run over 800m and I have no doubt that she will be in pretty good shape for the World Championships. Valentin Smirnov showed one of the best results in recent years from a Russian in the men's 1500m. He isn’t yet a world class runner but the guy should be given the opportunity to start as often as possible in such company, and he'll run even faster.
“Yegor Nikolayev’s performance was also brilliant. He actually prefers the steeplechase, but we trusted him to run 3000m flat and he coped very well.
“I am not going to abuse any athlete who struggled. The weather conditions were difficult. Alex Zagorniy [the 2011 hammer world leader] is a massive athlete and it’s hard for him to spin around properly on a wet surface.
“After his first attempt in Stockholm, I realized that he was not going to throw well. His result did not affect the overall good performance of our team, but there might be people who could suggest that might it might have been better not to have taken Aleksiy to a competition with such a format.
“Triple jumper Aleksey Fedorov [the only Russian athlete not to score a point] got injured while doing warm up jumps just before the competition started. The first was normal but then, at the start of the second, he felt a pain in the back of the thigh. Maybe he hadn’t warmed up enough for such cold weather.
“I feel very sorry for him. We'll give him the opportunity to completely heal the injury. He doesn’t have to compete in the Russian under 23 championships but he’ll go the Europe under 23 championships, on condition that he’s completely healthy,” added Maslakov, running the rule over Russia’s many positive performances and its very few negative note.
|Venue||Stockholm - Stadion|
|LOC President||Toralf Nilsson|
|LOC General Secretary||Rajne Söderberg|
|LOC event Co-ordinator
|Contact Organising Committee||Box 26099
100 41 Stockholm, Sweden
Tel: +46 8 141 241
Fax: +46 8 108 390
|Participating Teams||BLR, CZE, FRA, GER, GBR, ITA, POL, POR, RUS, ESP, SWE, UKR|
TimetableStockholm 2011 SPAR European Team Championships Timetable
Media GuideStockholm 2011 SPAR European Team Championships Media Guide
Final EntriesMen | Women
Archive2nd SPAR European Team Championships
SPAR European Team Championships 2009
European Cup 2008