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30 Jun, 2010 10:28

Russian athletes shine at Moscow Open

A total of 29 countries have sent athletes to Russia to take part in the fourth annual Moscow Open.

Almost every European capital has its own athletics championship. The competitions in London, Madrid, Paris and Rome all have great traditions. The Moscow Open is a relatively new tournament, but its prestige is growing. And every year, more and more star athletes are taking part.

One of the most impressive races was early in the night, in the hurdles, where Artur Noga from Poland and Daniel Kiss of Hungary fought it out on the track. It was neck-and-neck, even at the finish line.

As a result, both athletes showed the same time, and the winner had to be decided by photo finish. The judges gave it to Noga. However, settling for silver was not too disappointing for Kiss.

There was a strong line-up in the women's 200-metre final with two Olympic champions representing Russia. Yulia Gushchina and Aleksandra Fedoriva both won 4 x 100-meter relay gold medals in Beijing.

So it was no surprise that the winner was decided between them. This time it was Fedoriva's turn.

“I just wanted to perform well. I knew I had prepared properly for this event. I didn't really think about competing with Yulia Gushchina – I just thought about my performance, and tried my best,” the winner explained.

Meanwhile, Russian high jumper Ivan Ukhov, who won the World Indoor Championship this year, failed to repeat his result in the Moscow Open, finishing second behind countryman Aleksey Dmitrik.

In the women's 800 meters, Elena Kofanova showed strong willpower right at the end of the race, which helped her hang on to clinch victory – just.

“I started too quickly, so I was absolutely exhausted by the time I was close to the finish line, but I didn't give up. I even fell at the finish! I just didn't want to waste the chance to win,” she said.

Meanwhile, the highlight of the evening came in the men's 800 meters, as the 2004 Olympic champion Yuri Borzakovsky – the biggest star of the event – came on to the track.

No one could really challenge the Russian in his favorite distance as Borzakovsky won easily to delight the home crowd.

“It was hard for me to win today. I suppose it's because of the hot weather, and I wouldn't say I was fully fit. But I did prepare for this event, and produced a good finish – so I'm satisfied with the result. And I had strong opposition from Kenya and Europe, so it's a real pleasure to win,” said Borzakovsky.

Despite the low turn-out to watch this event – many people were probably watching the World Cup football in South Africa – the organizers of the Moscow Open are confident that the increasing high caliber of the athletes taking part will attract many more spectators in the future.