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    54 RUSSIAN ATHLETES TO APPEAR AT UPCOMING WORLD TRACK&FIELD CHAMPIONSHIP

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 1. /RIA NOVOSTI / -- At the world indoor track-and-field championship forthcoming in Budapest, 54 Russian athletes will participate - 25 men and 29 women, Valeri Kulichenko, chief coach of the Russian national team, said at a news conference.

    The world championship, due to begin on March 5, will as ever be a rivalry between the leading track-and-field powers, Russia and the United States.

    "We expect both the national teams to win 16 medals each", Kulichenko said.

    The Russian team will be made up of foremost athletes and those for whom the tournament will be the first large official event, 16 in all, he said.

    Traditionally, track-and-field lovers expect world records from the upcoming tournament. At least three Russian sportsmen can set world records in Budapest - Natalia Nazarova, Svetlana Feofanova and Yelena Isinbaeva.

    At the last Russian championship Nazarbaeva beat the new national record in 400-meter run. In all estimates, she can show higher results in the near future.

    As to vault-jumpers Feofanova and Isinbaeva, they have long been vying for leadership, setting world records alternatively. Not long ago the top achievement belonged to Isinbaeva. Feofanova regained it conquering the 4.85-meter plank.

    In Feofanova's opinion, in Budapest a new record - 5 meters - can be set. Contrarily, Isinbaeva is sure that 5 meters will not be overcome before the Athens Olympics.

    Only Stacy Dragila of the United States can intervene between the two Russians at the world championship. "Not long ago Stacy conquered 4.71 meters" Isinbaeva said.

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