The 56th edition of the Polish indoor championships took place on the last weekend (25-26 February) in Spala. In addition to medals, Poland’s top athletes also fought for places on the national team for the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul. A few youngsters used this opportunity to come through. The most impressive results of the weekend, however, were achieved by established stars: Tomasz Majewski with 21.05m in the Shot Put and Anna Rogowska’s 4.71m in the Pole Vault.
In the very first final of the championships, the Olympic champion Majewski won his seventh national indoor title with ease by reaching out to 21.05m in the opening round. He was unable to improve on that, but confirmed his form with two more attempts over 20.80m. The competition was his fourth in succession over 21 metres. “I feel very good, and I am going to Istanbul with the aim of coming back with a medal”, he said.
In the women’s Shot Put competition, while the winner's result was not as impressive in international terms, it was nonetheless significant. The 20-year old Paulina Guba improved her recent personal best from 17.60m to 17.79m, achieving the World Indoor qualifying distance set by the national federation. The youngster will thus get her first taste of major competition at the senior level in Istanbul.
Two more athletes met the qualifying standards in the final of the men’s 60m Hurdles. Olympic finalist Artur Noga came through for the win in 7.65. Dominik Bochenek was not far behind in second with 7.68.
Polish combined events star Karolina Tyminska did not contest the pentathlon, but participated in individual events, with mixed success. She was disqualified for a false start in the heats of the 60m Hurdles, but came back later in the day to take gold in the Long Jump with 6.44m. On the next day, she entered the High Jump and finished with a clearance of 1.70m.
In the women’s Pole Vault, Rogowska was a runaway winner. As it turned out, even her first vault, a clearance at 4.46m, would have been sufficient for the win. Not satisfied with this, she followed with a first-time clearance at 4.58m and a second-time 4.71m. It was only at 4.80m that Rogowska had to capitulate. Focused on the Olympic summer, Rogowska is, however, passing up on the trip to the World Indoor Championships.
Joanna Piwowarska took second with 4.40m and had three misses at the World Indoor qualifying height of 4.52m. Monika Pyrek, some way off her best form, could only finish in third with 4.30m.
In the absence of World champion Pawel Wojciechowski, Lukasz Michalski was the comfortable winner of the men’s event with 5.60m. Despite having achieved the World Indoor qualifying standard this winter, Michalski will not be making the trip to Istanbul. Instead, he and Wojciechowski are going to a training camp in South Africa as part of their preparation for the Olympic season.
Dariusz Kuc was the fastest among the men in the 60m dash. After running a season’s best of 6.68 in the heats, he took the win with 6.70, a mere 0.01 ahead of Robert Kubaczyk. The women’s race was nearly as close, with Daria Korczynska winning in 7.33 and Marika Popowicz taking the silver with 7.35.
At 200m, Kamil Krynski beat both Kubaczyk and Kuc to take first place in 21.18, while Anna Kielbasinska scored a win on the women’s side by a big margin with 23.76.
The men’s 400m was won in impressive fashion by Jakub Krzewina. The 22-year old, who had broken 47 seconds for the first time indoors the previous weekend, improved his best again to 46.85 in the heats at Spala, and took the final in 46.92. Lukasz Krawczuk finished runner-up with a personal best of 47.32.
Adam Kszczot and Marcin Lewandowski, respectively world’s number one and three in the 800 metres this year, did not compete in Spala, but both will be in action at the World Indoor Championships. Kszczot had originally planned to give these championships a miss, but changed his mind after a couple of impressive wins on the circuit.
Pawel Jackowski for the IAAF
Polish team for the World Indoor Championships (with season's best):
800 metres: Adam Kszczot (1:44.57), Marcin Lewandowski (1:45.41)
60 metres hurdles: Artur Noga (7.65), Dominik Bochenek (7.68)
Shot put: Tomasz Majewski (21.27)
4x400 metres: Jakub Krzewina, Lukasz Krawczuk, Grzegorz Sobinski, Lukasz Domagala, Marcin Marciniszyn
1500 metres: Angelika Cichocka (4:07.83)
3000 metres: Lidia Chojecka (8:55.05)
Shot put: Paulina Guba (17.79)
Pentathlon: Karolina Tyminska