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Russian Athletes Go for More Gold at World Athletics


Russian athletes will be in the spotlight, Tuesday, at the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan. As VOA's David Byrd reports, world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia hopes to capture another world title in the women's pole vault.

Two years ago, in Helsinki, Finland, Yelena Isinbayeva electrified the crowd by setting a world record on her way to the title. The Russian has promised "something special" for Osaka and easily cleared the qualifying height.

In Helsinki, it was wet and cold. But Isinbayeva says she has no trouble with Osaka's heat and humidity.

"The weather is good," she said. "It is not so terrible as we can think. It is good. We [will] compete in the evening. It is like in Athens. It is the same."

Meanwhile, Kenya's Janet Jepkosgei will try to beat veteran Maria Mutola and top Russian runners Olga Kotlyarova and Svetlana Klyuka in the women's 800-meters race.

Jepkosgei says, after the semifinal, she felt comfortable on the track, setting a season's best time in Sunday's semifinals.

"I feel good," she said. "I am happy because I have made it to the final. And, I was surprised. I could not believe about the time. But, I have to fight in the finals."

In other events, 2004 Olympic champion Tatyana Lebedeva and Russian compatriot Lyudmila Kolchanova will battle for the women's long jump crown. Another Olympic champion, Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic, is favored in the men's 400-meters hurdles race.

In the men's discus, two-time defending champion Virgilijus Alenka of Lithuania looks to hold off top Estonian thrower Gerd Kanter.

Also, Kenya's Ezekiel Kemboi and Brimin Kipruto hope to better their 2005 silver and bronze finishes in the men's 3000-meter steeplechase.