Close duels at world-class level in the men’s Shot Put and the women’s Pole Vault provided the highlights at the Pedro’s Cup indoor meeting in Bydgoszcz. World Indoor champion Christian Cantwell came through to win the former event on his last attempt ahead of Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski and equal his own world-leading performance of 21.47.
In the all-Polish climax of the pole vault competition, Monika Pyrek beat Anna Rogowska on countback after both women cleared 4.71.
Last round win for Cantwell
The previous editions of the Pedro’s Cup were limited to two events only: women’s pole vault and men’s high jump. This year, after Tomasz Majewski’s Olympic success, the organisers decided to add the men’s shot put to the programme, and it was this competition that was expected to be the highlight of the evening, as all three medallists from Beijing were in attendance.
Olympic silver medallist Christian Cantwell started the competition well, reaching 20.60 in round one. This was enough for the lead at this point, ahead of Majewski’s 20.21. The Pole improved slightly to 20.31 in round two, and then unleashed a big throw on his next attempt. It was measured at 20.83, only 10 cm off his national indoor record and putting him second on this year’s world lists. It also gave him a lead in the contest, as Cantwell struggled after his opening put, fouling his next three attempts intentionally when the shot did not fly far enough.
The American proceeded with another good attempt of 20.46 in the fifth round, but then really hit it right on his final attempt. Generating much more speed in his rotation than on his previous throws, his mighty heave resulted in 21.47, matching his world-leading put from Nordhausen on 23 January.
Majewski was unable to respond to Cantwell’s distance, although he finished with another solid put of 20.64. In interviews after the competition, the Olympic champion commented he was happy with this performance, as the indoor season was not a priority for him. He is intending to skip this year’s European Indoor Championships, and is planning on just two more competitions this winter before leaving for warm-weather training in California.
The only other man over 20 metres in the competition was the Olympic bronze medallist Andrey Mikhnevich, who once again had to yield to Cantwell and Majewski. This time he finished third with 20.06, just ahead of 19.99 from European outdoor champion Ralf Bartels.
A Polish affair in women's Pole Vault
The women’s pole vault competition was hard hit by the withdrawal of Yelena Isinbayeva due to illness, but it proved an exciting competition nonetheless. And, despite the presence of world-class competitors from Russia and Germany, it was the Poles who came through to take the top three positions.
Of those foreign guests, Tatyana Polnova and former World Indoor champion Anastasija Reiberger only managed to clear 4.31 before failing three times each at the next height. Silke Spiegelburg did better, but a second-time clearance of 4.51 was as high as she could go, and 4.61 proved too much on this occasion. The same height was cleared first time by Poland’s Joanna Piwowarska, who thus equalled her indoor personal best and placed third in the competition.
In the end, though, two women stood out from the rest of the field. Monika Pyrek started off well with first-time clearances at 4.31 and 4.51. Anna Rogowska struggled somewhat at these heights, clearing on her second and third attempt, respectively. Once the bar went up to 4.61, however, both Polish women went over on their first attempts without much trouble.
Pyrek continued her series of first-time clearances at 4.66 with a well-measured attempt, while Rogowska passed that height. The rivalry resumed at 4.71, and once again Monika Pyrek executed well on her first attempt. With her usual excellent technique, this looked to be a comfortable attempt, although she had little to spare over the bar as she brushed it slightly on her way down. Rogowska had an unsuccessful first attempt, in which she failed to even reach the bar, but on her second she had an impressive clearance with a few centimetres to spare.
Pyrek then went on to attempt 4.76, as Rogowska played the waiting game once more and didn’t re-enter the competition until the bar was raised to 4.81. Neither was successful at those mighty heights, but both had reasons to be satisfied. Pyrek, the winner thanks to a clean sheet up to 4.71, said afterwards she had not expected to vault as high. Like Majewski, she is not taking this indoor season too seriously, and is also giving the European Indoor Championships a miss.
Rogowska, on the other hand, is intending to go to Turin. The 4.71, which is her highest clearance in exactly two years, puts her as joint second with Pyrek in the world lists this year. Only American Jenn Stuczynski has vaulted higher, which means Rogowska will start as one of the favourites for the European crown.
Harris takes high jump win
The men’s high jump competition also boasted a world-class field, but did not quite live up to promise. The first major casualties were the Czech Tomas Janku, who managed only 2.15, and World Championships medallist Kyriakos Ioannou, who cleared 2.20 and failed 3 times when the bar was raised another 4 cm.
Six men cleared 2.24, but once the bar moved to 2.27, only the American Tora Harris managed to clear on his first attempt. None of the other five men cleared on their second or third attempt, either. Harris, already sure of the win, moved straight to 2.32. His first two jumps were failures, but on his third, he just managed to go clear. The American then took one attempt at a personal best height of 2.34 before calling it a day.
Of the jumpers who cleared 2.24, the Greek Konstantinos Baniotis was the only one who cleared that height the first time around and so he took second place, ahead of a three-way tie for third place between Artiom Zaitsau, Jaroslav Baba and World Junior silver medallist Sylwester Bednarek.
Janusz Rozum/ Pawel Jackowski