Monika Pyrek (POL) competing at the World Championships in Paris (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Spala, Poland

Pyrek-Rogowska duel is the jewel of the Polish Championships

A marvellous women’s Pole Vault tussle which ended with a 4.65m national record win for Monika Pyrek over Anna Rogowska (4.50) was the highlight of the national indoor championships, which took place this weekend in the Spala woods (110 km from Warsaw) on 21 and 22 February.

Pyrek and Rogowska lined up as the event’s two major protagonists, but their previous career paths were not really comparable. 

Pyrek has already taken bronze medals in World Championships – both in summer (Edmonton 2001) and indoor (Birmingham 2003). She had cleared 4.50m, 38 times before.

Rogowska on the other hand, is one year younger and though among the top eight vaulters in Munich (European Championships), Birmingham (World Indoor Championships) and in Paris (World Championships), she had jumped above 4.50 only once in her career – in Donetsk (15 February 2004). In that meet along with Pyrek she finished 4th= position, with the result of 4.52.

This weekend in Spala Rogowska had the better start, as she cleared her first four heights (4.20 - 4.50) with her first attempts, while Pyrek needed two at both 4.30 and 4.50.

However, with Rogowska failing to go over 4.60, it was Pyrek who found herslef back on song jumping both 4.60 and 4.65 in first tries, so bettering the Polish Indoor Record by 4 cm and outdoor - by 3cm.

“I was afraid I could loose after failing to jump 4.50 on my first attempt. Anna is in superb shape. I really wanted to win today, in my first competition for my new club – to repay them for the help they gave me last year,” confirmed Pyrek.

“I know that in Budapest 4.65 will be too little to win a medal but if I hadn’t been experimenting with my pole I would have jump 4.70 today.”

This was Pyrek’s 7th national indoor championship win, she has won every national title since the event was first staged.

Women’s 400m record too

Bettering her own 400 metres national record was Grazyna Prokopek. Her coach Slawomir Nowak (who also advises Wilson Kipketer) had set out a punishing schedule with Prokopek racing four times over the weekend, heats and finals in both the 200 and 400m.

At 200m Prokopek was sensationally beaten by Monika Bejnar (23.78) but in her fourth race she performed excellently achieving 52.56 for 400m, so bettering her own record by 0.16. The unfavourable tightness of the Spala track gives this result much more value.

In Budapest, at the World Indoor championships (5-7 March) the Polish 4x400 metres relay will run with almost the same line-up as in Paris last summer.  Only Anna Olichwierczuk-Jesien (European Championships bronze medallist) will be absent as she hasn’t competed yet after a 2-month long stay in New Zealand.

Good Pentathlon depth

Slawomir Nowak was also satisfied with the results from those in the Pentathlon. The winner was Magdalena Szczepanska (4483pts), and even the seventh place the 7th athlete only missed the 4000 barrier by three points. All 9 of the bettered their personal bests.

In other events it is worth emphasising the very good shape of Lidia Chojecka-Okninska, who led from start to finish both the women’s 800 and 1500 metres.

Among men the best result belonged to the 2002 European Indoor 200m Champion Marcin Urbas. After gaining the bronze medal in the 60m he was unbeatable on 200 metres, running below 21 seconds, the first person ever on the tough track of Spala.

Yared Shegumo faced a hard task in the 3000 metres. The 21-year-old athlete who came from Ethiopia had a spectacular debut in the Polish National Team during the European Indoor Cup in Lipsk, beating the oldest of Polish records (30 years), which belonged to the Olympic Champion from 1980 – Bronislaw Malinowski.

For more then 2000m of the race which was led by Rafal Wojcik, then Radoslaw Poplawski (European U-21 Champion from 2001) helped by Jakub Czaja (European U-21 Champion from 1999), Shegumo faced a near team effort in an attempt to beat him. However, 100 metres from the finish he finally got himself out of the pack and won his first Polish title. Shegumo has been living in Poland for four and half years.

Four athletes cleared 2.22 in High Jump, but their attempts on bigger heights were not as good. Last year’s outdoor World Lists leader – Aleksander Walerianczyk once again failed to achieve the minimum for Budapest (2.28) and had to settle for his second Polish Champion title.

All-time best walker Robert Korzeniowski had no opposition in the 5000 metres race walk winning in 18:44.37.

Medal chances in Budapest

Asked about Polish medal chances in Budapest, National Head Coach Jerzy Skucha pointed at Monika Pyrek and Lidia Chojecka, the later is most likely only to compete in the 1500 metres.

10 of the19 members of the national team are those, who will compete in relays. If the women’s relay have some chances for a high finish in Budapest, the men’s relay squad are only sending their coach – Jozef Lisowski.  All 10 athletes from the Olympic relay squad team, among them are Robert Mackowiak, Marek Plawgo, Pawel Januszewski, Piotr Rysiukiewicz, Rafal Wieruszewski, never had any plans to compete indoors this winter.

For FULL RESULTS click here

Polish team for the World Indoor Championships in Budapest

60 m – Lukasz Chyla (6.63)
200 m – Marcin Urbas (20.90), Marcin Jedrusinski (21.06)– if on 24 Feb in Budapest below 21 seconds
1500 m – Miroslaw Formela (3:41.14)
shot put – Tomasz Majewski (20.07)
4x400 m – Piotr Dlugosielski (47.74), Artur Gasiewski (47.95), Daniel Dabrowski (47.92), Piotr Klimczak (48.00), Filip Walotka (48.38).

400 m & 4x400 m – Grazyna Prokopek (52.56)
1500 or 3000 m – Lidia Chojecka (4:10.44 / 8:51.81)
3000 m – Wioletta Janowska (8:53.90)
pole vault – Monika Pyrek (4.65), Anna Rogowska (4.52)
shot put – Krystyna Zabawska (18.50)
4x400 m – Monika Bejnar (54.17), Zuzanna Radecka (53.64), Malgorzata Pskit (54.33), Marta Chrust (54.23)