Well that was just too much fun. Competing at the Moscow Athletics Open in the competition for journalists. Four events on the program – Standing Long Jump, Shot Put, 50m and 1500m. There was no way I was going to jeapordise chances of a podium finish in the 50m and SLJ by tempting fate and my calves by overdoing it in the Shot and fatigueing the hell out of the calves in the mile. So in the words of Rohan “My life has come to a point. Everything I have worked for is about this” (well at least the 3 standing long jumps sessions in June).
After some words of encouragement from former triple jimp world record holder Oleg Riakhovsky 16.59m 1958 now a jumps official it was my chance to end the comp on the first jump and that was how it turned out 2.85m in flats, with officials very strict on the board. End of comp. Sound kinda too dramatic? Not a chance. Man these guys were serious. They started warming up 1 hour before and half of them had spikes. I had a half hearted warm-up to make sure nothing would tear (and did some sneaky stretching in the change rooms).
2.90m in the second round would put the competition in no doubt and a dismal 2.82 would be my final jump. A gold medal of sorts (10 rubles gold coin) was presented from the officials who were backing me if only because I was from Australia although I reckon Oleg was impressed with the 2.90m in flats. So only 10cm off my lifetime best. Official STJ best now in Moscow, Russia. Stawell is back on!!
The 50m was a bonus. I just didnt want tear anything. Not sure of the time. Didn’t matter then. It was all about the SLJ. So anyway the main competition was good. The only Australia competing was Paul Burgess exited the pole vault competition early with three failures at 5.60m.
At the end of the meet, a very excited Alex (media director) had 2004 Olympic Long Jump medallist Tatiana Lebedeva present me with a medal, T-shirt certificate, bag. He joked that she had come to Moscow to do that and not jump. Very funny and there was lots of fuss. Obviously they don’t get many Australians in Russia reporting on athletics.
So the Moscow leg of the trip was everything I thought it would be and more. Lots of fun.