World Indoor record flurry points to warm winter finale in Moscow


Monte-Carlo - Temperatures in the Russian capital have been exceptionally cold this winter but the flurry of World Indoor records which have occurred during the opening weeks of the 2006 indoor season leave us no doubt that the 11th IAAF World Indoor Championships, which take place in Moscow from 10 to 12 March, will provide us with some red hot competition.
In the last month, six World Indoor records* - four set by the host nation Russia - at championship disciplines, as well as a scattering of fast times at some rarely contested distances on the track, have set the backdrop for what should be another high quality edition of the World Indoor Championships. Notably, next months global gathering will be the first IAAF World Athletics Series (WAS) event staged by Russia since they hosted the IAAF Grand Prix Final in Moscow in 1998.

The current IAAF indoor permit season of meetings commenced appropriately enough in Moscow on 25 January, and since then hardly a week has gone by without the sports statistical boundaries being pummelled by the worlds elite. There have been 4x400m Relay records for the Russian women (3:23.37 28 Jan) and USAs men (3:01.96 11 Feb), infield clearances by Swedens Kajsa Bergqvist (High Jump 2.08m 4 Feb) and Russias Yelena Isinbayeva (Pole Vault - 4.91m 12 Feb). Then last weekend at the Russian Indoor Championships, the middle distance runners took their turn, with the womens 1500m and 3000m Indoor records falling.

With Yelena Soboleva (3:58.28 1500m) and Liliya Shobukhova (8:27.86 3000m) speeding to World Indoor records in Moscow, it is clear that the host nation will be taking this WAS event very seriously when competition begins on 10 March.

But neither the recent records nor the host nations resolve should come as a surprise. Four Russian athletes are in the Top-7 of the Womens 1500m Event in the current IAAF World Rankings, and all four Russians reached the 1500m final at last years World Championships in Helsinki. Also, at the last edition of the World Indoor Championships in Budapest two years ago, five of the six World records which were either equalled or broken were done so by Russian athletes. So the 2006 indoor season is very much business as usual for Russia.

But the hosts will by no means have it all their own way next month. This coming weekend USA, France, Germany, Sweden and many other nations will hold their indoor nationals, and we can expect plenty more sporting headlines as the worlds best fine tune their preparations to do battle in Moscows Olimpiyskiy Sport Palace Complex from 10 to 12 March.

*all marks remain subject to the usual ratification process
RusAthletics - Russian Athletics

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