Hustopečské skákání
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Ukhov set for Moravia Tour defence

17.12.2012
Russian Ivan Ukhov is one of the most consistent stars of world athletics and it will not be long before he is back in action.

Ukhov won Olympic high jump gold in London and has confirmed he will be defending his title in the 9th staging of the Moravia Tour in the Czech Republic next month.

It could be the perfect base to begin his bid for a hat-trick of gold medals at the European Indoor Championships in March after his success in Turin in 2009 and Paris two years later.

Ukhov, 26, has made his mark in style before on the Moravia Tour which is staged over two meetings - in Hustopece on January 26 and Trinec three days later.

The Russian has record jumps at both venues, clearing 2.38m in Hustopece in 2011 and 2.34m 12 months earlier.

He is relishing being part of it once more and said: "I m looking forward to my fans in Czech again, it is for me already a must at the beginning of each season.

"This time they will see me for first time as an Olympic winner, that will be special. I cannot predict any results but as always I will try for the best possible (jump)."

Ukhov triumphed in London with 2.38m and will face opposition in the Moravia competition from two of the stars of last summer"s European Athletics Championships in Helsinki.

Mickael Hanany, of France, was third in Finland with 2.28m and Italy"s Gianmarco Tamberi was fifth with 2.24m as Britain"s Robbie Grabarz won gold with 2.34m.

Hanany and Tamberi will look to make their mark against Ukhov whose fellow Russian Olympic bronze medallist Svetlana Shkolina will be among the favourites for the women"s competition.

Shkolina, who was third in London with 2.03m, will be  in Hustopec where she won last year and will aim to break the meeting record 2.00m which  German Ariane Friedrich set in 2009.

Her opposition will include Italy"s World junior champion Alessia Trost and  Olena Holosha, of the Ukraine, the European bronze medallist.

The tour"s overall winner will be based on the sum of the two results from both meets where last year  Ukhov  triumphed with 4.63m and Shkolina with 3.91m.


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