The spotlight in the Czech town of Trinec was on Mutaz Essa Barshim after his Asian indoor record of 2.40m over the border in Slovakia on Wednesday but the Qatari's thunder was stolen at the 23rd Beskydska latka high jump meeting by Russia’s world indoor champion Mariya Kuchina on Sunday (8).
Barshim, later saying he was feeling tired, could only clear 2.30m on this occasion and his technique was clearly awry while Kuchina went over 1.98m.
Only Kuchina herself and Poland’s Kamila Licwinko have jumped higher this winter.
In front of almost 4000 spectators in the Werk Arena, Kuchina cleared 1.98m with her third attempt and then had two good efforts at what would have been a world-leading and personal best height of 2.02m.
"I was tired and did not jump more (at 2.02m), but I’m very happy, Trinec is my place, I won here all three times I have come here," said Kuchina.
Licwinko, who shared the gold medal with Kuchina in Sopot last March, had a clean sheet up to and including 1.95m but could not go higher and suffered her first defeat of the winter.
Ana Simic also got over 1.95m, an indoor best for the Croatian, but was third on account of more failures.
Three men remained in the men’s competition at 2.30m but only Barshim went clear before failing three times at 2.35m.
He had huge height on his successful second-time clearance at 2.30m but rattled the bar with his heels, just like he had also done at 2.27m. In similar fashion, he was well over the bar with his last attempt at 2.35m but brought it down with his heels.
“I’m not satisfied, for sure,” said Barshim. “But nothing has happened, I’m just a bit tired.”
Ukraine’s world indoor bronze medallist Andriy Protsenko got over 2.27m on his first attempt for second place while former world champion Jesse Williams from the USA needed three tries to negotiate that height and was third.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF