Blanka Vlasic, the winner at the Oslo Diamond League (© Mark Shearman)
The women’s high jump at the ExxonMobil Bislett Games on 11 June is shaping up as one of the most eagerly anticipated competitions to be staged at the Oslo leg of the IAAF Diamond League.
Rarely has a Diamond League competition boasted as many reigning champions on its start list as there are on this year’s edition of the Bislett Games.
Meeting director Steinar Hoen, the 1994 European high jump champion, has painstakingly put together a field that boasts enormous pedigree, with no fewer than seven winners of global high jump titles.
Olympic champion Anna Chicherova of Russia heads the list of gold medallists which also includes her team-mate and world champion Svetlana Shkolina, two-time world champion Blanka Vlasic, 2012 world indoor champion Chaunte Lowe, the joint winners of the 2014 world indoor title, Kamila Licwinko of Poland and Russia’s Maria Kuchina, and world junior champion Alessia Trost.
European champion Ruth Beitia of Spain and European bronze medallist Irina Gordeyeva of Russia are also in the field. All nine high jumpers have PBs higher than two metres.
Shkolina displayed consistent form all season in 2013 and improved on her Olympic bronze medal by taking the gold in Moscow at the World Championships.
Chicherova has been a dominant figure in high jumping over the past decade and while she was disappointed with her bronze medal at last year’s World Championships, she has returned to the strict training regime that brought her the Olympic and world titles and Russian record of 2.07m.
Lowe, who has remarkably returned to the sport after the birth of her third child, is a firm favourite with the Oslo crowds. A winner at Bislett in 2012, Lowe started jumping only a matter of months ago but already shares the world lead with a clearance of 1.96m, just nine centimetres shy of her US record of 2.05m.
Organisers for the IAAF
2014 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 9 May
Shanghai, CHN – 18 May
Eugene, USA – 31 May
Rome, ITA – 5 Jun
Oslo, NOR – 11 Jun
New York, USA – 14 Jun
Lausanne, SUI – 3 Jul
Paris, FRA – 5 Jul
Glasgow, GBR – 11-12 Jul
Monaco, MON – 18 Jul
Stockholm, SWE – 21 Aug
Birmingham, GBR – 24 Aug
Zurich, SUI – 28 Aug
Brussels, BEL – 5 Sep