Zirkova 'ecstatic' over win

2005-06-16 21:55
Durban - The domination of the Russian Nurgalieva twins in the Comrades ended on Thursday, but Tatiana Zirkova, also of Russia, ensured that the women's prize money would still be converted to Roubles.

Zirkova (Harmony) is only the third women in the history of Comrades to win in under 6 hours. Her winning time was 5 hours 58 minutes 50 seconds.

If the champion of the two past years, Elena Nurgalieva (Mr Price) hadn't suffered a serious muscle injury early in the ultramarathon, the twins could have made it a one - two win again.

Olesya Nurgalieva (Mr Price) came second in a time of 6:10:39, followed by her sister in 6:12:18.

For the third year running Farwa Mentoor (Harmony) was the first South African woman to cross the line in a time of 6:19:20, followed by Russia's Marina Bychkova (Mr Price)in 6:19:29.

Only two other South African women finished among the top 10.

They are Mr Price's Yolande Maclean (eighth, 6:37:35)and Lindsay van Aswegen (Liberty Nike, 10th, 7:04:33).

Even though Zirkova cannot speak English, an interpreter was not really necessary to explain that she was over the moon with her victory.

Zirkova said: "When Elena Nurgalieva started walking about 15km from the finish, I knew I had won.

"I am ecstatic about my time, even though I just thought about the victory," Zirkova said.

Olesya said her sister had problems during the race.

Both of them said their Comrades races could be something of the past for the time being.

They want to concentrate on the regular marathons in future.

The Nurgalievas said earlier this week that they were considering becoming South African citizens and that they could be taking part in international races over the 42km distance wearing South African colours.

Mentoor was surprised when she heard that she was in fourth place and that Zirkova had won.

"I suffered severely from cramps the last 15km and also did not know that the twins were having difficulties," Mentoor said.


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