Menkov strikes back after Olympic low point | 08.09.2012
The 21-year-old had three failures on his first three attempts in the long jump and should by rights have been out of the competition and the race for the Diamond League title.
But the fact that there were only eight competitors in the stadium that evening with Olympic champion, Greg Rutherford, absent through injury, meant that Menkov was allowed to take his final three jumps and he accepted the lifeline gratefully.
The battle for the Diamond Race long jump title was wide open with potentially seven men in contention, including 19-year-old Morgunov. But in the end it was Menkov who was to prevail.
On his fourth jump he hit the sand at 8.03m to put him in second, 1cm behind fellow Russian Sergei Morgunov and then in the fifth round he sailed out to a lifetime best of 8.29m to seal the competition and the Diamond League title.
Thus Menkov collected $40,000 and ended the season on a high after his lowly position in the Olympic Games when he could muster no better than 8.09 for 11th place in the final in London.
Menkov now has an impressive pair of lifetime best both indoors and out, both marks set in 2012. In the Moscow Winter meeting in February he went out to 8.24 and now has improved on his previous best outdoors of 8.28 from Kalamata last year.
The Russian is fulfilling all the potential he started to show as a junior. He first came to notice in 2009 when he clinched the European Junior title and in the same year improved the Russian national junior record to 8.16.
In Ostrava last year he added to his junior title by lifting the European U23 crown with 8.08. Then this winter he went to Istanbul to contest the world indoor championships and came away with a bronze.
In his last three meetings after his Olympic low-point he won in Birmingham, Berlin and Brussels. Five of his six longest jumps have come in 2012. With the world championships taking place in Moscow next year, Menkov is sure to have a say when the medals are decided.