I was just at the Millrose Games and the nice, healthy crowd of 11, 543 was seen by myself and others as a nice health report on our sport. Well, here is another: 12,000 fans will see Blanka Vlasic, the high jump rock star, and Croatia's biggest sports star, perform!
TRACK PROFILE Report #860
CAPACITY CROWD OF 12,000 EXPECTED AT WOMEN’S HIGH JUMP MEET IN SPLIT TODAY
By Bob Ramsak
(c) 2009 TRACK PROFILE Report, all rights reserved
While organizers of this afternoon’s Slobodna Dalmacija Women’s High Jump competition in the Dalmatian coast city of Split, Croatia, may not witness a world high jump record by local celebrity Blanka Vlasic, they will certainly play host to the largest crowd ever gathered for an indoor single-event competition.
Despite the record cold conditions that have descended upon the Adriatic resort city in recent days, a capacity crowd of 12,000 is expected at the Spaladium Arena, a new venue built this year for the recently held world handball championships. How many tickets were actually purchased and how many were given away hasn’t been revealed, but nonetheless the audience will be by far the largest ever on the increasingly popular single-event circuit. Last year’s crowd of over 6,000 that packed a different venue was quite likely already the largest ever. The venue for Sergey Bubka’s annual Pole Vault Stars competition in Donetsk, Ukraine, is next on the list, with a capacity of just over 5,000.
Given the venues available for the sport in the winter months, the meet may well host the largest crowd of any indoor track meet this season, surpassing the 11,543 announced attendance at last month's Millrose Games in New York City.
The center of attention will of course be Vlasic, a Split native and the reigning world indoor and outdoor champion. Last weekend the 26-year-old upped her season’s best to 2.05 but finished second to German Ariane Friedrich, who beat the Croatian on the countback. With an obligation to compete at the German indoor championships this weekend, Friedrich won’t be in the field, but a solid slate has been gathered nonetheless.
Irina Gordeyeva, who has improved from 1.95m [6-4 ¾ ] outdoors last year to 2.01m [6-7] this winter, has been Russia’s revelation of the season. Another Russian, Viktoriya Klyugina, has improved to 2.00m [6-6 ¾ ] this year, while Svetlana Shkolina, also from Russia, has a career best of 1.98m [6-6], also from this winter.
The competition begins at 4:50 pm CET and will be broadcast live on Croatian National Television’s HTV2 until 5:30, then combined with a live broadcast of a handball match.