Hustopece, Czech Republic - It was only the first stop of the 8th Moravian High Jump Tour, but the follow-up meeting in Trinec Monday evening will be hard pressed to match the drama and the excellent depth from Saturday (28) night’s competition in Hustopece.
Both titles were won by Russians—Aleksey Dmitrik took the men’s competition with a world-leading 2.35m, and Svetlana Shkolina won the women’s crown with 1.95m.
One cannot deny that Aleksey Dmitrik rises to challenges. Facing a national record 2.41m bar and after two mediocre attempts, the Daegu silver medal winner came so very close to eclipsing Ivan Ukhov’s 2.40m set nearly three years ago. Dmitrik’s winning leap was a world-leading performance for the season and it was an indoor personal best.
The St. Petersburg resident was perfect through 2.31m. A second-attempt clearance at 2.33m moved him into battle at 2.35m with his remaining rivals, Jaroslav Baba and Ukhov, both of whom passed 2.33m. As the others failed, Dmitrik then succeeded in gritty fashion with a personal best on his third try to set up the record attempts.
Andrey Silnov finished second with 2.31m although he was not part of the final-height drama. Ukhov and Britain’s Samson Oni tied for third, also at 2.31m. That mark equalled the Briton’s career indoor best during a season in which his nation’s vertical jumpers have recently asserted themselves in a way befitting an Olympic host country.
Svetlana Shkolina used a first-jump clearance at 1.95m to gain the women’s victory. The 25-year-old was in a group of four jumpers - with three taking perfect records for the day into the 1.95m height - but Shkolina was the only one who could negotiate the barrier, as she ended the day with three failures at 2.00m, her last one coming very close to success. It would have equalled the indoor personal best for the Daegu fifth-placer.
Tied for second at 1.93m were Chanute Howard Lowe of the U.S. and another Russian, Irina Gordeyeva. Mariya Kuchina, also of Russia and who set a World junior indoor record of 1.97m on the Moravian Tour last year, was fourth, also at 1.93m.
The bronze medallist at the Berlin World Championships in 2009, Germany’s Ariane Friedrich, began her long comeback after a 16-month hiatus after an Achilles operation. Her first attempt at her opening height of 1.84m seemed tentative and was not successful, but a determined second jump was good. At 1.87m, Friedrich’s third jump appeared good. Only an errant heel clipped the bar at the final moment and brought her day to an end.
Coach/manager Guenter Eisinger was pleased afterwards. “Her best jump in training until now had been 1.80m. She needs to get the feeling of jumping back in her system, and to regain consistency. Now we have time [in preparing for London]. It’s better not to hurry and to go step by step.”
Ed Gordon (organisers) for the IAAF