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16 Jun, 2009 05:31

World’s best athletes settle scores at Russian Challenge

With two months to go until the start of the World Athletics Championships, no less than three Beijing gold-medalists have chosen the annual Russian Challenge tournament to fine-tune their skills.

Getting down to the main events of the day, let's start with the women's 400-meter hurdles where Beijing Olympic champion Melaine Walker of Jamaica was looking to prove her dominance in the discipline.

The 26-year-old did just that, but it apparently took her a lot to edge out her three Russian competitors.

That event was followed by the women's 200 meters heat where Russia's Elizaveta Savlinis snatched victory over her three compatriots.

In the men's pole vault, it was all about settling old scores between Russia's Igor Pavlov and Renaud Lavillenie.

The home advantage helped the 2005 European indoor champion to overcome the Frenchman, who had won gold at the 2009 European championships.

And all that brought us to the top of the bill – the women's 1500 meters – which saw two 2008 Olympic champions face off: Russia's Gulnara Galkina-Samitova versus Kenya’s Nancy Lagat.

But it very soon became clear this wouldn't be much of a battle, as the Russian left her opponent almost standing, and even saved some energy to have a training session afterwards.

So with two months left before the World Championships, some of the medal favorites are already becoming clear.

And the 2004 gold medal winner in the 800 meters, Yuriy Borzakovsky, was also at the stadium. The runner revealed his other talent on the night, showing off his skills as a DJ.