Maria Kuchina, winner of the high jump at the IAAF Continental Cup Marrakech 2014 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Marrakech, Morocco

Report: women's high jump – IAAF Continental Cup, Marrakech 2014

Maria Kuchina was looking to end her 2014 competition schedule in the same manner in which she had started it: on top of the world.

At the IAAF World Indoor Championships in March, the 21-year-old Russian won a global gold medal, sharing the title with the inspired Pole Kamila Licwinko.

Six months on, Kuchina lined up in the IAAF Continental Cup as the only woman in the field with a clearance at two metres or better to her name in 2014, having negotiated precisely that height for an outdoor best at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris back in July.

Her Europe team-mate Ana Simic from Croatia did have a 1.99m effort to her name, thanks to the jump that secured her the European Championship bronze behind Ruth Beitia and Kuchina in Zurich last month.

As the competition unfolded, however, it was US record-holder Chaunte Lowe who posed the biggest challenge to the favourite.

Lowe, the 2012 world indoor champion, needed three attempts to negotiate 1.95m but cleared 1.97m at the first time of asking, a season’s best.

Simic was still in the hunt at that stage but three failures kept her down in third place, although she had a first-time success at 1.95m.

Kuchina’s first failure of the night came at 1.99m but she succeeded with her second attempt. Lowe drew three blanks, leaving Kuchina the victor.

The Russian had three shots at a world-lead equalling 2.01m, but it proved a height too far for her.

Simon Turnbull for the IAAF