Isinbayeva spearheads Russians in London
Russia’s track and field athletics chief Valentin Balakhnichev said yesterday he had high hopes for his country’s chances of winning medals at the London Olympics which start on July 27.
Unveiling the country’s athletics squad, Balakhnichev said that results from last week’s national athletics championships in Chebo-ksary boosted his optimism ahead of the Olympics.
“Our athletes performed season’s best results in six disciplines at Cheboksary,” Balakhnichev said.
“I believe we did everything right and we’re still moving in the right direction.”
Russia’s pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva, a 30-year-old two-time Olympic champion, who is also the world record holder, is one of the country’s red hot favourites for gold at the London Games.
Reigning world champions Maria Abakumova in javelin, Tatiana Chernova in heptathlon, Tatiana Lysenko in hammer, Maria Savinova over 800m and Anna Chicherova in high jump are also among the gold medal hopes.
Four 2012 European champions – Irina Davydva, Olga Golovkina, veteran Yury Borzakovsky and Sergei Shubenkov – also have serious medal chances.
Balakhnichev added: “We did everything we could in these four years after Beijing.
“We’ve chosen the country’s best athletes to compete at the main event of the four-year period.
“All of our athletes understand perfectly that it’s a great honour to represent Russia at the Olympics.
“It will be extremely tough to clinch a place at the podium in London but I hope that our people’s support will help us to perform at the upcoming Games with dignity.”