Mariya Kuchina scales a 1.97m World junior best in Trinec (LOC Beskydska latka) © Copyright
Kuchina, the winner at last summer's inaugural Youth Olympic Games, sailed clear on her second attempt to add one centimetre to the previous World junior best set by Bulgaria’s Desislava Aleksandrova-Mladenova in 1994.
"I m surprised, this is something new for me, but very special,” said Kuchina, who celebrated her 18th birthday just 13 days ago (14 Jan). “Now I realise I can try to be Russian team member for the European Indoor Championships in Paris."
The clearance marked a major breakthrough for Kuchina, the 2009 World youth silver medallist, who began the season with a 1.90m best outdoors and 1.80m indoors. Even her 1.90m effort in her season's debut in Volgograd last week didn’t signal what would unfold in her follow-up performance.
Jumping with just an eight-stride run-up, Kuchina notched only two misses on the night. Opening at 1.76m, she breezed through the next four heights before needing a second try at 1.92m, her first PB of the evening. She managed 1.94m on her first go and after an initial miss at 1.97m, sailed clear after asking the crowd for silence and requesting that the music be turned off. After three PBs, she called it a day.
In Volgograd she upset 2004 Olympic champion Yelena Slesarenko. In Trinec, she handily dispatched with Sweden’s Emma Green, a 2.01m jumper and the reigning European silver medallist outdoors. In her 2011 debut, Green narrowly missed 1.90m, topping out at 1.88m to finish second.
Alexandr Shustov, the European champion, took the men’s competition to complete a Russian sweep. The 26-year-old, who opened his 2011 season in Yekaterinburg on 7 January with a 2.32m leap to equal his career best, won on countback over Sergey Mudrov at 2.29m. The crucial height was 2.26m where six jumpers departed from the competition.
2000 spectators turned out for the event.
Alfons Juck and Bob Ramsak for the IAAF
1. Kuchina 1.97, world junior best (176/1, 181/1, 185/1, 188/1, 190/1, 192/2, 194/1, 197/2, then stopped)
2. Green, SWE 188
=3. Simic, CRO and Maresova, CZE 185
5. Frenkel, ISR 185
6. Dubnova, CZE 185
7. Kufaas, NOR 181
8. Stepaniuk, POL 181
=9. Brambilla, ITA, Ustinova, KAZ and Francis, JAM 176
1. Shustov, RUS 229
2. Mudrov, RUS 229
=3. N. Ciotti, ITA, Barry, BAH, Williams, USA, 222
=6. Dmitrik, RUS and Baba, CZE 222
8. Ninov, BUL 222
* The IAAF does not recognise World Indoor Records in the junior athlete category