With a dominant display of jumping, Czech Republic’s Michaela Hruba confirmed her vast potential when winning her first major international title in the girls’ high jump at the IAAF World Youth Championships, Cali 2015 on Friday night (17), her biggest clearance of 1.90m giving her a vast eight-centimetre winning margin.
Hruba – a silver medallist at the IAAF World Junior Championships last year – was considered a clear favourite for gold and when the pressure came on in Cali, the 17-year-old delivered in style.
Indeed, such was her supremacy that when the field had been whittled to just five athletes at the height of 1.82m – at which all four of her competitors failed their opening attempts – Hruba sauntered up to the bar wearing full-length tights and cleared it with room to spare.
From there, it seemed only a mishap could stop Hruba winning gold, and so it proved.
For the briefest of moments, it appeared she might have a battle on her hands as the bar moved up to 1.85m after Hruba’s Czech team-mate Lada Pejchalova, Latvia’s Ieva Turke and Poland’s Aleksandra Nowakowska all went clear at 1.82m.
It was then that Hruba separated herself from her peers.
After knocking the bar off on her first attempt with her lower legs, Hruba discarded the long tights for her second effort and sailed clear at 1.85m.
Pejchalova, Turke and Nowakowska all failed three times and from there, with the gold medal secured, it was just a question of how high she could go.
When the bar moved up to 1.90m, Hruba roused a sizeable gathering of Czechs in the stands who clapped along and cheered as she cleared the bar without contact.
Hruba went on to attempt a personal best of 1.94m, but none of her attempts looked likely to succeed, not that she was all that bothered.
“I hoped I would jump 1.94m, but 1.90m is perfect,” she said. “It was hard to stay relaxed after I knew I had won gold but I felt very good.”
The battle for silver was won by Turke on count-back and afterwards, the 17-year-old was in shock at having finished second and added five centimetres to her personal best with a 1.82m clearance.
“I didn’t expect to jump this high,” she said. “My goal was to make the final and improve my personal best. I am very short so it’s kind of hard for me.”
Turke, who is 1.71m tall, conceded that the silver medal was the best she could have hoped for, being up against an athlete of the calibre, and indeed size, of Hruba, who is 1.88m.
“She is crazy,” said Turke. “She is much taller so it is easier for her, but she did a fantastic jump.”
Hruba’s compatriot Pejchalova made it a memorable night for the supportive Czech contingent situated behind the jumpers by winning the bronze medal on count-back from Nowakowska – Pejchahova’s first-time clearance at 1.79m making the crucial difference.
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF