Italian high jumpers Marco Fassinotti and Alessia Trost set world-leading marks of 2.34m and 1.96m respectively in the Czech town of Hustopece as the now traditional Moravia High Jump Tour got underway on Saturday (24).
Into the bargain, Fassinotti equalled his own absolute Italian record, going over 2.34m on his second attempt after having also jumped 2.34m indoors last winter, before he brought the bar down three times at 2.36m.
However, Fassinotti looks to have higher heights in his legs in the near future.
There was plenty of daylight between his torso and the bar on several of his attempts, both successful and unsuccessful, from 2.32m upwards.
“I jumped 2.32 a couple of weeks ago so I knew I was in good shape. It is my first time in Hustopece so I just came here to see what I can do. My target for the season is to do well at the European Indoor Championships (in March),” said the 25-year-old from Turin.
Fassinotti has never won a medal at a major global and continental championship, and finished a disappointing seventh at the European Championships last summer, but in Hustopece he collected the scalp of one of the men who made the high jump one of the most attention-grabbing events in the sport last summer, Andriy Protsenko.
Protsenko, the European silver medallist and world indoor bronze medallist who jumped 2.40m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne last summer, had to settle for second place after a first-time clearance at 2.30m.
He then had one failure a piece at 2.32m, 2.34m and finally 2.36m in a deserate bid to wrest the initiative back from the inspired Italian.
However, the Ukrainian could justifiably claim to be feeling tired after his plane from Odessa was fog-bound on Friday and he only arrived in Hustopece on the morning of the meeting.
Former Italian record-holder Silvano Chesani produced his best performance in almost two years and went over 2.30m, succeeding with his second attempt to place third.
Earlier, former world youth and junior champion Trost turned in her best performance for more than a year when she went over 1.96m on her first attempt to complete the first half of an Italian double in Hustopece.
Spain’s European champion Ruth Beitia had gone over 1.94m on her third attempt, a height Trost negotiated at the second time of asking, but could go no higher.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF