Ruth Beitia of Spain celebrates a successful clearance in the high jump (© Getty Images)
The last time Ruth Beitia cleared two metres was in the 2012 Olympic high jump final. Despite producing one of the best marks of her career, in a high-quality competition it was only good enough for fourth place.
Bitterly disappointed to miss out on a medal, the Spaniard announced her retirement at the end of the season.
Fortunately, she reversed that decision and just six months later Beitia won the European indoor title, adding it to the continental gold medal she won outdoors in 2012.
Last summer she continued to make amends for her Olympic disappointment and took the bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow. And now she has come full circle by clearing two metres at the Spanish Indoor Championships.
This time, it was easily enough for the victory. It was her 12th career two-metre jump and her fourth time over that barrier indoors. The last time she jumped higher indoors was in 2007 when she set the Spanish indoor record of 2.01m. And at 34 years old, no woman has ever jumped higher indoors.
“I’m enjoying every moment and to train every day is a gift,” said Beitia after winning her 13th national title, a record for a Spanish woman.
But Beitia wasn’t the oldest winner on the first day of the Spanish Indoor Championships in Sabadell. 2010 European 1500m champion Nuria Fernandez, now 37, won the 3000m in 9:12.63. In so doing, she became the only Spanish athlete ever to win national titles over 800m, 1500m and 3000m.
Italian high jump record for Fassinotti
Two weeks after setting an Italian indoor high jump record of 2.33m in Arnstadt, Marco Fassinotti added one centimetre to that mark at the Italian Indoor Championships in Ancona.
Fassinotti, who has been based in Britain over the past winter, enjoyed first-time clearances up to and including 2.24m, at which point he had the competition won. He then cleared 2.28m on his second attempt before another first-time success at 2.31m.
He nailed 2.34m on his second try to set an outright Italian record, higher than the outdoor best of 2.33m set by Marcello Benvenuti in 1989, just five months after Fassinotti was born.
It was one of two national indoor records set in Ancona. The other came from race walker Eleonora Giorgi, who covered the 3000m in a world-leading 11:50.08.
The other surprise of the weekend came in the long jump where Stefano Tremigliozzi successfully defended his national indoor title with an outright PB of 8.06m, surpassing his outdoor best of 8.01m.
Martinot-Lagarde rebounds at French Champs
Having overcome a brief spell of illness that hampered some of his races earlier this month, world 60m hurdles leader Pascal Martinot-Lagarde produced the second-best time of his career to win the French indoor sprint hurdles title on the first day of action in Bordeaux.
The world indoor bronze medallist’s winning time of 7.49 was just 0.04 shy of the world-leading mark he set earlier this month and was comfortably enough to defeat 2005 world champion Ladji Doucoure, who clocked 7.76.
In the women's sprint hurdles, world finalist Cindy Billaud powered her way to her first national indoor title with a lifetime best of 7.93.
In the absence of European indoor champion Jimmy Vicaut, Christophe Lemaitre was an easy winner of the men’s 60m in 6.63. European junior champion Stella Akakpo won the women’s event in a PB of 7.30.
Spanovic flies to national record at Balkan Champs
At the Balkan Indoor Championships in Istanbul, world bronze medallist Ivana Spanovic sailed to an outright national long jump record of 6.92m with her first attempt. With three victories to her name this season, the Serbian now sits at second on this year's world indoor lists.
Fellow Serbian Asmir Kolasinac won the shot. In a close competition, the European indoor champion overtook Romania's Andrei Gag in the third round, 20.23m to 20.17m.
A week after becoming the first Croatian woman to beat two-time world champion Blanka Vlasic in the high jump, Ana Simic equalled her indoor PB of 1.94m to win in Istanbul.
World University Games bronze medallist Luiza Gega broke her own Albanian indoor record, winning the 1500m by more than 10 seconds. Her winning time of 4:07.84 puts her inside the top 10 on this year's world list.
Polish Indoors doubles up as World Indoors test event
The ERGO Arena in Sopot is this weekend hosting the Polish Indoor Championships, the first ever athletics event to be held at the venue. And if the performances are anything to go by, the IAAF World Indoor Championships in two weeks’ time, held at the same arena, can be expected to produce a spate of great performances.
Kamila Licwinko equalled the national indoor high jump record she set two weeks ago, winning with 2.00m. Two-time Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski set a season’s best of 20.70m to win the shot put by almost a metre.
Two-time European indoor champion Adam Kszczot won a tactical 800m from Marcin Lewandowski, 1:47.07 to 1:47.16. But arguably the best performance on the track came from Lukasz Parszczynski, who smashed the national indoor 3000m record.
The versatile 28-year-old, who has previously won national outdoor titles in the 3000m steeplechase and 10,000m, clinched his fourth successive national indoor 3000m title with his fastest performance to date, indoors or out. His winning time of 7:49.26 improved the former national indoor best by almost five seconds.
Darius Kuc ran his fastest time for five years to win the 60m in 6.60, just 0.01 outside his PB, while Robert Sobera defeated 2011 world champion Pawel Wojciechowski in the pole vault, 5.72m to 5.62m.
Elsewhere, Angelika Cichocka produced her second-fastest indoor clocking to win the 800m in 2:01.14, taking her to second on this year’s world indoor list. Combined events specialist Karolina Tyminska, having secured an invite for the pentathlon at the World Indoors, set a season’s best of 6.36m in the long jump to finish third, eight centimetres behind winner Teresa Dobija.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF