Amalie Svabikova, winner of the pole vault at the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Tampere, Finland

Report: women’s pole vault – IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018

Amalie Svabikova produced the finest series in her of her life to dominate the pole vault and nab the first medal at these Championships for the Czech Republic.

It took the 18-year-old a clearance at just 4.40m to secure the victory --the lowest winning height since 2010-- but after taking care of the victory formalities and a couple sideline celebrations, she had the bar raised to 4.51m, one centimetre better than the personal best she set last year. After missing on her first attempt, she sailed higher with her second, grazing the bar slightly on the way down, but it stayed, handing Svabikova a national U20 record with the second highest clearance ever at these championships to go along with her gold medal.

"I still don't believe it, today was so good," said Svabikova, who was seventh at these championships two years ago and fifth at the European juniors last year.

She arrived in Tampere with a 4.45m season's best, but from the outset was clearly the class of the field. After an initial miss at her opening height at 4.10m, she topped 4.20m, 4.30m, 4.35m and the winning 4.40m all with her first attempts.

But behind her, the rest of field struggled. 4.20m dwindled the field to eight, but only five remained after 4:30m: Svabikova, Swede Lisa Gunnarsson, authorised neutral athlete Yelizaveta Bondarenko, Olivia McTaggart of New Zealand and Frenchwoman Alice Moindrot. Gunnarsson went over 4.35m on her second try, Moindrot and Bondarenko with their third, while McTaggart bowed out. All missed at 4.40m, with countback giving silver to Gunnarsson and bronze to Moindrot.

Gunnarsson, the 2017 European junior champion who topped 4.60m earlier this season, was visibly disappointed.

"I've been struggling a little bit this year so I should be happy but I'm disappointed," she said. "The next big thing is the European senior championships, but I sprained my ankle here so it's a question mark for the rest of the season."

Conversely, Moindrot was pleased. "These championships have been a very valuable experience for me and very important as I move forward to the French championships soon," the 18-year-old said. "I'm very happy with third place." 

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF