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Ludmila Engquist - U.S.S.R. - 100m Hurdles gold at 1991 World Championships.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 29 August 1991

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      Tuesday, 21 April 1964
      Tambovskaya Oblast, Russia
  • Sweden Prostate cancer charity

Ludmila ENGQUIST - U.S.S.R. - 100m Hurdles gold at 1991 World Championships.


If there was ever an athlete whose life story had all the elements to be made into a blockbuster movie, it would surely be Ludmila Engquist. Born Ludmila Leonova in Russia in 1964, she married at an early age, and had a baby, Natasha, in 1982, well before she established her international athletics career. Initially, Ludmila competed under her married name of Narozhilenko for the Soviet Union. In June 1988, Narozhilenko reduced her personal best in the 100m hurdles to 12.62sec, and later repeated this time in the quarter-finals at the Olympic Games in Seoul. However, in her semi-final, she unfortunately fell at the final hurdle and failed to finish. Ludmila came back from that disappointment to win the silver medal at the 1989 World Cup in Barcelona.


She made a lightning start to the 1990 season when she set a new world indoor record of 7.69sec for the 60m hurdles at the Soviet championships on 4 February. The following month, Ludmila followed this with a victory over the same distance at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow. However, she was unable to maintain that supremacy over her continental rivals in the European Championships at Split on 30 August, where she finished 5th in the 100m hurdles. In 1990, Ludmila again had a successful indoor campaign, winning the 60m hurdles at the World Indoor Championships in Seville on 9 March.


She followed this with a superb outdoor season, winning 15 of the 17 finals in which she competed, and setting the year's fastest time of 12.28sec at the Soviet championships in Kiev on 11 June. Later that year, at the World Championships in Tokyo, Ludmila easily won her semi-final of the 100m hurdles on 29 August (see photo above) in 12.52sec, and then went on to win the gold medal in the final the following day. (Ron Casey)