Staking all on younger generation

Participation of Belarusian team in World Athletics Championship leaves many questions
By Dmitry Baranovsky

Usain Bolt of Jamaica was present, alongside former champion Yelena Isinbayeva. Hosted by Luzhniki Stadium, most of the medals went to experienced sportsmen. However, there were a few surprises. Polish hammer thrower Pawel Fajdek, who won the Universiade in Kazan this season, saw unexpected success, as did Russians Alexander Menkov and Sergey Shubenkov; the latter came third in the hurdles.

Our Belarusian team performed modestly, despite having done well in previous years. Some of our veteran victors are no longer on the team, bringing some new faces onto the squad. Sadly, the novice athletes failed to clinch any medals, although Olga Sudareva came close, taking fourth place in the long jump. Of course, Anastasia Mironchik-Ivanova and Veronika Shutkova used to vie for victory in this event, with Ms. Sudareva rather overshadowed. In fact, she produced the same result as bronze winner Ivana Spanovic, but lost out because of the distance of her second attempt. Ayear ago, Ms. Sudareva claimed silver at the European Championships, making her today’s most titled Belarusian long jumper. 

Anna Drabenya and Ivan Trotsky did well in the walking event, despite missing out on medals, while decathlete Andrey Kravchenko, recovering from serious surgery a year ago, earned a worthy 8,300 points. Commenting on the performance of other athletes, the head coach of the Belarusian national squad, Alexander Troshchilo, has promised ‘to take measures’ to improve our future performance. 

The US team won the competition. The Russians failed to perform as well as they had hoped, perhaps due to the absence of several of their top athletes. 

Sadly, the stands were half-empty for most events, even where world stars were competing, leading to some speculation as to whether those organising the tournament were at fault. No doubt, each athlete, official representative and journalist working in Moscow would have their own story to tell. However, with Russia’s Sochi hosting the Winter Olympics next February and a future World Football Championship (the second most important and popular tournament), we can only hope that some lessons have been learned. 
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