Poland's Kamila Licwinko after winning the high jump (© Getty Images)
In her first competition of the year, Kamila Licwinko equalled her own Polish indoor high jump record with a clearance of 2.00m at the International Jumps Meeting in Cottbus on Tuesday (26).
Licwinko, the joint world indoor champion, only recorded one failure on her way to clearing 2.00m, but she trailed European champion Ruth Beitia for much of the competition. The Spaniard had a clean card up to and including 1.96m – a national masters’ record – while Licwinko had registered an earlier failure at 1.92m.
Beitia, Licwinko and Lithuania’s Airine Palsyte all went over 1.96m on their first try, but Beitia’s competition ended at the next height as she failed to get over 1.98m. Licwinko, meanwhile, went over on her first attempt to move into the lead, while Palsyte broke her own national indoor record with a second-time clearance.
The bar then moved up to 2.00m and Licwinko once again cleared it at the first time of asking. Palsyte finally bowed out with three unsuccessful tries at that height, while Licwinko had one failed attempt at 2.02m before calling it a night.
The 28-year-old opened her 2014 indoor season in Cottbus, finishing third with 1.96m, which was also a PB at the time. Two weeks later she improved to 2.00m, and then went on to equal that mark twice that indoor season, culminating with a shared gold medal at the World Indoor Championships.
In the men’s pole vault, the only other event of the night, Russia’s former World University Games champion Aleksandr Gripich equalled his indoor PB of 5.70m to win against a quality field.
Returning to the same hall where he set his indoor PB back in 2010, the 28-year-old was a class apart. Both he and world indoor champion Konstadinos Filippidis had first-time clearances up to and including 5.50m, but Gripich went over 5.60m on his first try while the Greek vaulter needed two attempts.
As the bar was raised to 5.65m, Michal Balner of the Czech Republic, Poland’s Robert Sobera and Germany’s Tobias Scherbath were also left in, while Gripich and Filippidis both passed that height. Scherbath exited the competition, while Balner got over it on his third try. Sobera had one attempt before passing to the next bar.
Once more, Gripich sailed over 5.70m on his first go, while the other three remaining athletes brought the bar down on their attempts.
The Russian ended with three tries at 5.80m – five centimetres higher than his outdoor best – but none of them were particularly close. He has only twice gone higher than 5.70m outdoors, once in 2011 and once in 2009 when finishing fifth at the World Championships.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF