By Yuri Karpenko
Olga Panarina, 26, (coached by Stanislav Soloviev) set a world record in the 500m heat, with a time of 33.168. She beat the last record set by 0.128 seconds — achieved at the World Championship in Polish Pruszkow, by Lithuania’s Simona Krupeckaite, on March 25th, 2009. Since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Panarina has been performing in sprint disciplines, winning four medals at world championships. At the World Championship in 2010, held in Copenhagen, Denmark, she took two bronze medals — in the 500m heat and in the keyring (8 circles of 250m). At this year’s World Championship in Dutch Apeldoorn, she claimed gold in the 500m heat and silver in the keyring.
Panarina was not the only star to shine at the Belarusian Cup, as Apeldoorn gold-medallist Tatiana Sharakova and 2008 World Championship gold and bronze medallist Alexander Lisovsky both took gold. Panarina also won other sprint disciplines: the keyring, sprint and team sprint. Sharakova was once again named best all-round athlete and won the team pursuit with Oksana Popko and Yelena Dylko.
Panarina’s record is a landmark in the history of Belarusian cycling. “Belarus is currently bidding to host the 2013 World Cycling Championship at Minsk-Arena,” explains Stanislav Soloviev. “The decision will probably be taken at April’s World Championship, to be hosted by Australia. The heads of the International Cycling Union are considering all bids carefully but Panarina’s achievement speaks for us, showing that Minsk-Arena is a huge asset for Belarus.”