News28 Jan 2010

Gripich and Aitova the winners in Cottbus


Marina Aitova at Rome's Golden Gala 2008 (© Getty Images)

Russian pole vaulter Aleksandr Gripich and high jumper Marina Aitova of Kazakhstan took the honours at the 8th VR Banken Meeting in Cottbus on Wednesday (27) evening.

While Gripich was the only one to clear 5.70m for a personal best, 1.94m were enough for Aitova to win a close contest.

It was at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin last summer where Gripich achieved his biggest success so far. He placed fifth in the pole vault final, establishing a personal best of 5.75m during the competition. Now he returned to Germany and was successful once more. Taking the Cottbus Pole Vault he improved his indoor personal best by five centimetres to 5.70m.

It was not a good night for Germany’s pole vaulters. Danny Ecker and Fabian Schulze both had to withdraw at 5.50m because of injuries after initially clearing 5.30m. World junior record holder Raphael Holzdeppe had to be content with 5.40m while Tim Lobinger was out at 5.60m after clearing 5.50m on his final attempt. Four vaulters were still in contention at 5.70m, raising hopes of some higher jumps. But only Gripich managed to clear this height at his second attempt.

Italy’s Giuseppe Gibilisco, who had been in the lead after clearing 5.60m on his first try, eventually finished second. Germans Björn Otto and Alexander Straub were third and fourth. They both cleared 5.60m on their second attempts.

After his three rivals had all failed three times at 5.70m Gripich did not go for the next height of 5.75m but instead had the bar raised to 5.83m. The 23 year-old tried to set a
World-leading indoor mark but missed it three times.

A duel developed in the women’s High Jump between Marina Aitova and Russian Irina Gordeyeva. Both had cleared 1.94m with their first jumps. But neither of the two was to fly over 1.96m. So it was decisive in the end that Gordeyeva had one fault at 1.92m while Aitova had made no mistake until 1.96m. Both had started the competition at 1.80m.

Germany’s Meike Kröger took third place with 1.92m. Clearing this height at her first attempt she achieved the qualification standard for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha for the first time this season. But 1.94m was too high for the jumper from Berlin.

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF