Germany's Ariane Friedrich silences the crowds in the Berlin Olympic Stadium before she takes a jump in the women's High Jump final (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Friedrich opens season with 1.96m, Armstrong breaks Canadian Shot Put record in Baunatal

Ariane Friedrich opened her season at the Askina Meeting in Baunatal (Germany) on Wednesday (2) with a 1.96m clearance while Dylan Armstrong broke the Canadian national record in the Shot Put with a 21.58m effort.

Freidrich's leap was by far enough to win the High Jump competition with Ireland's Deirdre Ryan a distant second at 1.85m. This was the 2009 World bronze medallist's first competition since a knee injury forced her to stop her indoor season.

Friedrich and her coach Günter Eisinger had deliberately chosen an event without top-class opposition to start her campaign without much pressure. But next week Friedrich intends to jump at Rome’s Golden Gala IAAF Diamond League Meeting. In Baunatal the 26-year-old European Indoor Champion first cleared 1.85m, then needed two attempts to fly over 1.90m, followed by a first time clearance of 1.93m. After missing out at her first attempt of 1.96m, she cleared on her second go. She went on with three attempts at 2.00m, which were reported as "promising".

“I am simply happy to be able to compete again,” said Friedrich, who had another scare in training some weeks ago, when she fell on her right knee (the one injured in February was the left one).

21.58m heave be Armstrong to prep for Oslo appearance

The best result in the men’s events came in the Shot Put. Armstrong produced a Canadian record of 21.58m, also a meeting record. The 29 year-old winner, who had placed fourth at the World Indoor Championships earlier this year, had a fine series as well: 20.70m, 21.58m, 21.08m, x, 20.09m and 20.82m.

Germans Ralf Bartels (20.63m) and David Storl (20.07m) took second and third.

There were more promising results from German women jumpers at the Askina Meeting, which originally used to take place in Kassel. Since the rebuilding process of the Kassel stadium continues, the meeting was again staged in Baunatal. Silke Spiegelburg once again tied her outdoor season's best of 4.70m to win the Pole Vault. She then tried to improve Annika Becker’s eight-year-old national record (4.77m, 2002), but missed three times at 4.78m. Anna Battke was second with 4.60m while Kristina Gadschiew and Carolin Hingst took third and fourth with 4.50m each.

In the Triple Jump Katja Demut improved to 14.31m which was good enough for second place behind Ukraine’s Olga Saladukha (14.49m). Demut intends to break the German record of Helga Radtke (14.46m in 1994) this summer.

Cindy Roleder was handed victory after a photo finish in the 100  Hurdles. The German had crossed the line in a personal best of 12.97 (+1.9 wind) with second-placed Lucia Skrobakova (Czech Republic) given the same time.

There was another notable win for Germany’s women in Baunatal: In the Javelin Throw Christina Obergföll beat Maria Abakumova with a throw of 64.96m. The Russian World Championships bronze medallist achieved 64.02m to take second while Linda Stahl (Germany) was third with 61.71m. Obergföll’s second best throw of 64.80m would have been good enough for victory as well.

Ty Akins (USA) won the 110m Hurdles with 13.43 (+ 0.2 wind) from Dutchman Marcel van der Westen (13.72) and Germany’s Helge Schwarzer (13.75).

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF