Petr Svoboda after his 7.44 national record in Prague
The biggest headline of the weekend in Prague’s Otakar Jandera Hall came from hurdler Petr Svoboda, whose magnificent 7.44 NR win in the 60m Hurdles not only brought him to within 0.03 of the world lead in that event but catapulted him to the number-six performer all-time among Europeans.
The 25-year-old gave a hint of his record run with 7.52 in the heats, which itself was both a championships record and hall record.
Svoboda had taken keen note of many of Cuban Dayron Robles’ training and technique minutiae over several seasons and had incorporated much into his own regimen. “It’s good to know that I’m now approaching the level of my role model,” Svoboda admitted.
After catching his breath, the hurdler climbed to an upper level for a public-address interview, the location of which also provided him a splendid vantage point to watch as his girlfriend, Jirina Ptacnikova, successfully defended her national indoor Pole Vault title with a new personal best and championships record of 4.56m. Only a slight nudge of the bar at 4.66m kept her from a new national indoor record. Both marks are held by Katerina Badurova, silver medalist from Osaka 2007, 4.65m indoors and 4.75m outdoors.
The men’s Pole Vault turned into the expected battle between Opava natives Michal Balner and Jan Kudlicka. Balner’s blemish-free record up through 5.70m proved enough for the win, but he added a PB 5.76m with a third-attempt jump to finish the day. It’s third place for him among this seasons’s pole vaulters as well as championship’s record. Kudlicka finished second with 5.55m, unlucky with not jumping the IAAF standard for Doha.
Beijing finalist Roman Novotny had a close competition in the Long Jump, but his early 7.75m held off Stepan Wagner’s fifth-round 7.73m. Novotny’s Triple Jump victory was even closer, as he had to survive a countback against Jiri Vondracek, as both had a 14.91m best.
Oldriska Maresova matched her PB of 1.90m in taking the women’s High Jump, while Jaroslav Baba, already the men’s winner at 2.14m, jumped alone the rest of the afternoon and ended with a 2.25m best.
The flat sprints were won in successful title defences by Libor Zilka in 6.66, equaling his own championships record, and Iveta Mazacova with 7.38.
Jakub Holusa won the 800 metres for the second time, cruising to an easy 1:49.09, while Tereza Capkova took the women’s title, also her second, in 2:07.50.
European Heptathlon record holder Roman Sebrle presented himself after receiving happy news about his invitation for Doha in the hurdles with 8.19 in the heats (8.22 in final), Shot Put (15.17m) and Pole Vault (4.65m).
Ed Gordon and Michal Procházka for the IAAF
800 m - Lenka Masná 2:01.85 (15th Jan, Luxembourg)
60 m H - Lucie Škrobáková 8.04 (17th Feb, Prague-Strahov)
HJ - Iva Straková 192 (23rd Jan, Hustopece)
PV - Jirina Ptácníková 4.56 (27th Feb, Prague-Stromovka)
PV - Pavla Rybová 4.40 (12th Feb, Potsdam)
4x400 m - Zuzana Hejnová 52.75 (16th Feb, Wien)
4x400 m - Denisa Rosolová 52.97 (27th Feb, Prague-Stromovka)
4x400 m - Zuzana Bergrová 53.37 (16th Feb, Wien)
4x400 m - Jitka Bartonicková 53.99 (16th Feb, Wien)
800 m - Jakub Holuša 1:46.09 (31st Jan, Karslruhe)
60 m H - Petr Svoboda 7.44 (27th Feb, Prague-Stromovka)
60 m H - Martin Mazác 7.74 (13th Feb, Leipzig)
HJ - Jaroslav Bába 228 (23rd Jan, Hustopece)
PV - Michal Balner 5.76 (28th Feb, Prague-Stromovka)
SP - Jan Marcell 20.20 (19th Jan, Prague-Stromovka)
Heptathlon - Roman Šebrle – invitation from IAAF
4x400 m - Josef Prorok 46.88 (16th Feb, Wien)
4x400 m - Theodor Jareš 47.15 (16th Feb, Wien)
4x400 m - Jirí Vojtík 47.16 (28th Feb, Prague)
4x400 m - Pavel Jirán 47.36 (16th Jan, Wien)
4x400 m - Richard Svoboda 47.63 (16th Feb, Wien) - alternate