Mutaz Essa Barshim, winner of the high jump (© SITA/Ján Viazanička)
The vertical jumps provided the highlights of the Russian Winter meeting, an IAAF Indoor Permit Meeting, with high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim clearing 2.37m and pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale going over 4.75m in Moscow on Sunday (3).
Only local jumper Ivan Ilyichev was left in the competition when the bar went up to 2.30m but while the Russian found the personal best height too much for him, Qatar’s London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist cleared comfortably with his first attempt, as he had done at his three previous heights.
Barshim then had the bar put up to a 2013 world-leading height of 2.37m, which equalled his Asian indoor record from last year, and also went over with his first effort. Only at a meeting record 2.40m did he bring the bar down, on three occasions although his first attempt was very close.
He had arrived in Moscow aware that Russia’s Aleksiy Dmitrik had jumped 2.36m in the German city oif Arnstadt on Saturday. “I I told my coach that I’d certainly make it better,” joked the Qatari after he had succeeded in fulfilling his prophesy.
IIyichev was second with 2.27m, just one centimetre short of his best.
Great Britain's Bleasdale, the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships bronze medallist who also finished sixth at Olympic Games, needed three attempts to clear 4.65m and lay third in the competition at that point, but then cleared 4.70m with her second attempt before going over 4.75m at the first time of asking in the Russian capital. Three failures followed at 4.80m, but the 21-year-old had already done enough to win the competition ahead of Brazil’s 2011 World champion Fabiana Murer and Cuba’s 2012 Olympic Games silver medallist Yarisley Silva, who both cleared 4.65m with their first attempts but could then go no higher and were second and third respectively on countback.
Birgin wins 1500m battle
In an entertaining battle over the final lap of the men's 1500m in an indoor arena that bears the name of Russian distance running legend Vladimir Kuts, Kenya's Bethwell Birgen won a dramatic sprint for the line in 3:35.25, the second best time of the winter, while Ethiopia’s Aman Wote was second in an indoor personal best of 3:35.31.
Kenya’s Colllins Cheboi was third in 3:36.69 while Russia’s emerging talent Valentin Smirnov took just over a second off his indoor best in fourth place with 3:37.55.
Another good mark was posted by Russia’s Yuliya Kondakova in the women’s 60m Hurdles when she sped to a time of 7.93, the second fastest time of the year. Belarus’s Alina Talay was just outside her best when finishing second in 7.99.
The men’s 600m had been billed as an assault on the world best of 1:15.12 which had been set by Germany’s Nico Motchebon in 1999 aqnd while Ethiopia’s 2012 World Indoor Championships 800m gold medallist Mohammed Aman came up just short in the rarely-run event, he still clocked 1:15.60 to equal the third fastest time seen over three laps of an indoor track and set a continental best.
Having just turned 19 last month, Aman also set a World junior best, improving on the former mark of 1:16.92 by American runner Casimir Loxsom in 2010.
In the first of two races, with Aman running in the second which ostensibly contained the best runners, France’s 2011 European 800m junior champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse impressed immensely when he clocked 1:15.63 to provide Aman with a target time.
Much had been expected of local Long Jump star Olga Kucherenko, the 2013 world-leader with a recent effort of 7.00m, and she didn’t disappoint, flying out to 6.83m.
Kucherenko opened with her best jump and, after a foul, she finished off with jumps of 6.79m and 6.81m but was always under pressure from local rival Darya Klishina, who reached 6.77m with her first jump and then improved to 6.80m with her fourth and final effort.
Greece’s Yeóryios Tsákonas took the men’s Long Jump with 7.94m in the third round.
There was another Russian win in the men’s 400m with Pavel Trenikhin winning the fastest of the two heats in a personal best of 46.09. He left 2012 European champion Pavel Maslak trailing in his wake and the Czech runner had to settle for second in 46.32.
Hall floors local favourite
The women’s 400m saw Jamaica's Patricia Hall triumph in a fast 52.18. Czech Republic's 2011 European Athletics Indoor Championships 400m gold medallist Denisa Rosolova was second in 52.55 with Russia’s 2011 IAAF World Championships bronze medallist Antonina Krivishapka off the pace and only third with 52.75.
It took a photo-finish to split Ukraine’s Mariya Ryemyen and Gabon’s Ruddy Zang Milama in the women’s 60m. The pair were each timed at 7.12, a personal best for both women, but the verdict eventually went to the European sprinter.
St Kitts’s 2003 World Championships 100m gold medallist Kim Collins, now 37, took the men’s event in 6.57.
In addition to Barshim, there was also a world-leading mark in the women’s 1000m from Ukraine’s Anzela Shevchenko.
Russia’s Ayvika Malanova made the pace, taking the runners through 400m in 1:03.12 and 800m in 2:07.12 but on the final lap, Shevchenko hit the front and came home in in 2:36.84.
Yekaterina Poistogova and Yelena Katulskaya (nee Kofanova) were second and third in 2:36.97 and 2:37.01 respectively.
In the men’s 60m Hurdles, there was an upset as Konstantin Shabanov was the fastest over the barriers with 7.59 and just edged out 2012 European 100m Hurdles champion Sergei Shubenkov, who clocked 7.60.
Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF