Ivan Ukhov clears a world-leading 2.38m in Novocheboksarsk (© Organisers)
Olympic high jump champion Ivan Ukhov was frsutrated to finish outside the medals at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, but on Saturday (11) in Novocheboksarsk he brushed aside the disappointment of last year with a world-leading leap of 2.38m.
Competing at the Chuvashya Governor Cup, he cleared his first four heights – 2.15m, 2.24m, 2.30m and 2.35m – on his first attempt, equalling his best mark from the entire 2013 season.
He then upped the bar to 2.38m and cleared it on his third attempt. Ukhov ended his series with three failed attempts at 2.41m, the last one being particularly close with just his heel clipping the bar.
It is his highest jump since his Olympic victory in August 2012, having cleared the same height in the British capital to take gold. It also equals his best ever seasonal debut as Ukhov jumped the same height in his opening competition of 2011 before going on to win the European indoor title.
It improved by six centimetres the world-leading mark set by his predecessor as Olympic champion, Andrey Silnov, who cleared 2.32m in December.
Ukhov’s 2.38m was one of several world-leading marks set in Novocheboksarsk. World 1500m finalist Elena Korobkina clocked 8:55.90 in the 3000m, while Anna Shchagina won the 1500m in 4:14.38 and European bronze medallist Maryna Arzamasava took the 800m in 2:04.76.
Aside from the world-leading marks in the middle distances, European under-23 champion Angelina Krasnova won the pole vault with a 4.40m clearance.
Cain opens season in New York, 200m and 400m world leads in Arkansas
IAAF young athlete of 2013 Mary Cain kick-started her 2014 season with two races at The Amory in New York.
Making her first competitive appearance since turning professional, first up for Cain was the 500m in which she finished second behind Jamaica’s Sophia Smellie, 1:11.63 to 1:12.43.
About half an hour later, Cain was back on track for the 800m. She overcame a minor stumble at the start of the race to win comfortably in 2:08.51.
At the same meeting, world 800m finalist Ajee Wilson won the 1000m in 2:50.44.
As is often the case in Fayetteville, the sprinting events produced the highlights at the Arkansas Invitational.
Three-time world medallist Wallace Spearmon clocked his fastest indoor 200m time for six years, winning comfortably in a world-leading 20.68.
But the best mark of the meeting came in the 600m. Nigeria’s Regina George won by almost four seconds, clocking an African indoor record of 1:25.76 to go to ninth on the world indoor all-time list.
World-leading marks were also set by junior Regine Williams in the women’s 200m with an outright PB of 23.37, Clayton Parros in the men’s 400m with 46.46 and Joanna Atkins in the women’s 400m with 52.92.
At the Houston Indoor Opener in Texas, Trinidad & Tobago's Michelle Lee-Ahye smashed her PB with a world-leading 7.22 in the 60m.
Elsewhere in the USA, Zimbabwe's Ngonidzashe Makusha leapt 8.10m in the long jump in Alabama, his farthest jump since his bronze medal-winning performance at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu. At the same competition, 2011 world youth 400m champion Arman Hall, 19, smashed his indoor 200m best with a winning time of 20.80.
In Colorado, Olympic pole vault champion Jenn Suhr opened her season with a winning 4.55m clearance.
Lavillenie continues good form in Aubiere
Three weeks after setting a world-leading mark of 5.93m, Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie attempted to go one centimetre higher than that in Aubiere on Saturday (11). Ultimately though, the French record-holder had to make do with a winning mark of 5.84m.
For the second competition in a row, his closest challenger was compatriot Kevin Menaldo, a rising talent who added another 10 centimetres to his PB with 5.75m.
Marion Fiack was the winner of a close women's competition. The 21-year-old added nine centimetres to her PB to equal the French under-23 best, winning on count-back with 4.51m.
Sweden's Angelica Bengtsson and French record-holder Vanessa Boslak cleared the same height to finish second and third respectively.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF