Danil Lysenko wins the high jump at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 (© Getty Images)
It was a role reversal from last summer’s IAAF World Championships in London, as Danil Lysenko gained revenge on Mutaz Essa Barshim in a thrilling battle on the opening night of the championships.
The 20-year-old, competing as an authorised neutral athlete, extended his 2018 win streak to nine by clearing 2.36m to the Olympic silver medalist’s 2.33m best mark.
Having registered lifetime bests on three occasions this winter campaign with 2.35m, 2.36m and 2.37m respectively, Lysenko’s Birmingham victory marks his first major international title in an event he only began competing in five years ago.
Enjoying first-time clearances at 2.20m, 2.25m, 2.29m and 2.33m, he needed all three attempts at 2.36m before sailing over on his final chance to deny Barshim the opportunity of a jump-off contest for gold.
In preparation for that final jump --just one centimetre below his personal best-- Lysenko requested silence from the crowd and handled the pressure superbly to produce the first big surprise of the championships.
Meanwhile, Barshim, the champion in 2014 and last year’s male World athlete of the year, came into the competition with recent technical difficulties but leapt a world-leading 2.38m at the Asian Indoor Championships in early February.
The 26-year-old two-time Olympic medallist from Qatar also had no issues up until 2.36m, yet his best effort came in a tight near-miss on the second attempt.
Competing in the centre of the infield, back to back with the women’s contest taking place simultanously, the athletes benefitted from receiving up-close support and feedback from their coaches, who were permitted to watch from lane two of the track.
Taking the bronze medal was Germany’s Mateusz Przybylko, who registered a second-time clearance at 2.29m - just a centimetre shy of his lifetime best - to capture his first major international championship medal.
The 25-year-old London fifth placer entered the competition in only 13th place on the 2018 world list but held his nerve to only tease the bar on his third attack at 2.29m.
Elsewhere, the 2016 bronze medalist Erik Kynard of the USA needed all three tries at 2.29m and placed fourth, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist finishing ahead of Poland’s Sylwester Bednarek, whose first-time 2.25m clearance sealed fifth position for the European indoor champion.
European junior champion Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus, Yu Wang of China and 2007 world champion Donald Thomas of The Bahamas left the competition at 2.20m in a tie for sixth.
British hope, Robbie Grabarz - the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and 2016 world indoor silver medallist - could only manage 2.20m on his third attempt for equal ninth position.
Nicola Sutton for the IAAF