06 MAR 2008 General News

Women's High Jump - FINAL

Such was the working intensity of the members of the international press this afternoon that the power went out over the media tribune on a number of occasions. In much the same way Ruth Beitia who carried realistic Spanish medal hopes in the women’s High Jump at these championships found that her sequence of eight consecutive heights had drained too much power out of her legs when it really counted. 

After seven successful first time clearances at heights from 1.84m through to and including 1.99m, Beitia seemed to lack vitality when it came to her next bar which was set at 2.01m. Her battery had run flat.

Unluckily for Spain it was at this height that the medals were decided and when Ukraine’s Vita Palamar cleared 2.01 - national record - on her third attempt, shortly after Beitia’s final try, the Spanish national champion had to settle for fourth , one place down on Moscow 2006. Still it was a season's best for Beitia.

The women’s High Jump was the last event of these 12th IAAF World Indoor Championships to be decided and despite the disappointment of this medal miss most of the stadium’s spectators stayed around to witness the final outcome of the competition.

World outdoor champion Blanka Vlasic of Croatia who had wisely conserved energy and was on her fifth height when she approached the bar at 2.01m cleared effortlessly. But then so did Olympic and reigning World Indoor champion Yelena Slesarenko of Russia who was just as smooth at this height, though with two second time clearances at two earlier heights (1.93 and 1.95) she was never ahead of the Croatian.

Vlasic also needed two attempts for her next height, 2.03m, but that didn’t matter as Palamar and Slesarenko were never close on any of their efforts.

Three very respectable attempts followed for Vlasic at a would be World Indoor record of 2.09m but none were actually close.

Vlasic came to these championships as the pre-eminent jumper of the last year and leaves with that reputation not just firmly intact but also enhanced by a new aura of invincibility. In Moscow 2006, Vlasic had faced a momentous battle with Slesarenko for the gold and lost out but today she never looked in any danger. The queen of Croatia is now the outdoor and indoor World champion and she looked every bit the part.

"It is not easy for me to get a medal when everybody is expecting me," said Vlasic. "It wasn't easy. I was a bit stressed, but the girls were good and I felt more relaxed. I expected to improve my personal best but unfortunately I didn't get it. I just need more practice. The girls were fantastic, so it was a successful day."

Chris Turner for the IAAF