Russian high jumpers planning winter season

Aleksandr Shustov
Getty Images

Aleksander Shustov of Russia celebrates after winning the gold medal at the 2010 European Athletics Championships in Barcelona.

High jumper Aleksandr Shustov, the 2010 European champion, fully intends to compete over the winter season.

According to All-Sports news, he began his preparations at the Adler training camp on 10 October, a lot sooner than most.

“I have been following this schedule for the last nine years and don’t want to make any changes,” he said.

Shustov, 30, was part of the large Russian team that competed at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow in August, where he took seventh place in the high jump with a 2.32m jump.

Later in the summer, he was advised to undergo surgery after medical exams had detected a hip injury.

“I refused the surgery because at my age I’m running the risk of not returning to my usual shape,” he added.

This perseverance has allowed him to compete consistently over the past eight years without missing a single indoor or outdoor season.

“The older you get, the less you want to miss anything, that is why I don’t accept the possibility of missing next season,” Shustov continued.

2012 London Olympic champion Anna Chicherova remains evasive about her winter plans.

She still has not entirely recovered from foot surgery and has decided to wait before returning to her usual training.

“I will go to Tallinn for a routine medical examination, but I don’t want to force myself back,” she said.

Chicherova is one of three female high jumpers (after Stefka Kostadinova and Heike Henkel) to win at both the Olympic Games and World Championships.

However she has never been crowned European champion nor has she won gold at the World Indoor championships.

This year could be her chance to earn both titles.