Tula (Russia): Gulnara Samitova shattered the women’s 3,000m steeplechase world record at the Russian championships on Sunday.
Samitova clocked nine minutes 08.35 seconds to shave more than eight seconds off the old mark of 9:16.51 set by Alesya Turova of Belarus on July 27, 2002 in Gdansk, Poland.
It was the second world record to fall at the national championships in the last three days after Yulia Pechyonkina bettered the women’s 400m hurdles mark on Friday.
Pechyonkina clocked 52.34 seconds in the final to break American Kim Batten’s mark of 52.61 set at the 1995 world championships in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Samitova, who went out at a blistering pace from the start, maintained her stride for much of the race as she lapped some of the weaker runners on the final stretch. She finished more than 150 metres ahead of her nearest rival.
“Of course, I’m very happy with the record, but I think I could have ran even better if I started a bit more slowly,” Samitova told a Russian television channel. “I like steeplechase and hope it is included in the Olympic programme.”
The women’s steeplechase is not a championship event this year but will make its world championship debut in 2005.
Sunday’s victory was Samitova’s second Russian title after she won the 5,000m final in her first race at the distance with the time of 15:04.08 on Thursday.
The 25-year-old physical education student said she took up running long distances just over a year ago. The nationals, which finished on Sunday in the industrial city of Tula some 200 km south of Moscow, served as qualifiers for the Paris world championships this month. (Reuters)