30 JAN 2011 General News Hustopece, Czech Republic

Ukhov tops 2.38m, threatens World record in Hustopece

Near miss at a 2.44m World indoor record by Ivan Ukhov in Hustopece (Hustopece organisers)Near miss at a 2.44m World indoor record by Ivan Ukhov in Hustopece (Hustopece organisers) © Copyright
In a stunning season's debut, Russia's World indoor champion Ivan Ukhov cleared 2.38m and seriously threatened Javier Sotomayor's 2.43m World indoor record at the second leg of the Moravia High Jump Tour in Hustopece, Czech Republic, on Saturday (29).

Underscoring his solid form, Ukhov, last year's Samsung Diamond League winner in the event, warmed up for the competition at 2.30m, clearing handily, before opening at 2.20m. After one technical miss he sailed clear, and moved on with first attempt clearances at 2.24m, 2.30 and 2.34. He scaled 2.38m, a season's world leader, on his second attempt and immediately asked for the bar to be raised to 2.44m, a would-be World indoor record. With Sotomayor in attendance in the packed hall of 800, Ukhov's first attempt was solid, which he followed with a near-miss on his second.

"I knew I'm in very good shape," said the 24-year-old, whose 2.40m indoor and overall career best came in 2009. "I had the feeling I could do it, that is why I went directly to world record. I think it will be possible in the near future. I just need to work on some technical issues."

Ukhov's next appearance is scheduled for 3 Feburary in Moscow, followed by the Russian Winter meeting on 6 February, and in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, on 9 February.

Russians were a dominant force on the night, with Aleksey Dmitrik finishing runner-up after a second attempt clearance at 2.32m before ending the night due to fatigue. European Champion Aleksandr Shustov was third at 2.30m followed by Sergey Mudrov who topped out at 2.27m. Donald Thomas, the 2007 World champion, was fifth on countback, also at 2.27m.

Russian Svetlana Shkolina, who finished fourth at the European championships in Barcelona last summer, won the women's competition after third attempt success at 1.6m. She bowed out with three attempts at 2.00m, a would-be world leader.

"I wanted two metres badly today, but did not manage it," said Shkolina, who joined the still-exclusive two-metre club last year. "I hope next time, maybe when my coach Klyugin would be here, he would give the right advice to do it."

Young talent Mariya Kuchina went over 1.94 on her first attempt to confirm her sensational improvement from last Wednesday in Trinec where she topped a World junior best of 1.97m. Here, she produced some close misses at 1.96m.

Danielle Frenkel twice improved the Israeli national indoor record with clearances of 1.87m and 1.90m. After two close misses at 1.92 she bowed out with one attempt at 1.94m.

Still on the comeback from injury and surgery, 2004 Olympic champion Yelena Slesarenko finished in a tie for fourth at 1.87m. Sweden's Emma Green, suffered a muscle strain in her ankle on her first attempt at 1.80m, and did not continue.

The overall winners of the Seventh Moravia High Jump Tour winners were Shustov (2.29m + 2.30m = 4.59m) and Kuchina (1.97m + 1.94m = 3.91m).

Results:
MEN - 1. Ukhov, RUS 238 MR, WL (220x, 224/1, 230/1, 234/1, 239/2, 244/xxx), 2. Dmitrik, RUS 232, 3.Shustov, RUS 230, 4. Mudrov, RUS 227, 5. Thomas, BAH 227, 6t. Barry, BAH and Baba, CZE 224, 8. Ninov, BUL 224, 9t. Owczarek, POL, Milokumov, RUS, Horak, SVK, N. Ciotti, ITA all 220, 13. Kroyter, ISR 220, 14. Moya, CUB 215

WOMEN - 1. Shkolina, RUS 196 (184/1, 190/1, 192/1, 194/1, 196/3, 200/xxx), 2. Kuchina, RUS 194, 3. Frenkel, ISR 190 NR, 4t. Simic, CRO and Slesarenko, RUS 187, 6. Strakova, CZE 187, 7. Maresova, CZE 187, 8. Francis, JAM 184, 9. Stepaniuk, POL 184, 10. Ustinova, KAZ 184, 11. Kufaas, NOR 180, 12. Dubnova, CZE 175, Green, SWE injured nm, Brambilla, ITA dnc (fever)

Alfons Juck for the IAAF