Ukhov clears 2.33m, tries 2.37m, Majewski, Isinbayeva have wins, by Alfons Juck, note by Larry Eder

Ivan Ukhov, 2009 NIke Pre Classic, photo by

Majewski_Tomasz-Brussels10.JPGTomaz Majewski, 2010 Brussels, photo by

The high jump wars have begun, both men and women's sides in 2012. Ivan Ukhov is dueling with Jesse Williams, and there will be more chances to see them clash. Some good shot battles, this time 2008 Olympic champ Tomaz Majewski of Poland won yesterday. Yelena Isinbayeva had a win over Holly Bleasdale, new GBR vault phenom. More to come...


BANSKA BYSTRICA (SVK, Feb 8): Ivan Ukhov waited until all other competitors had been eliminated and then used his final jump at 2.33 to steal the win.  The Russian had been forced to go to a third attempt at 2.31 as well and was clearly not his dominant self tonight.  He ended the evening with three undistinguished attempts at a would-be world-leading 2.37. Until that moment, Jesse Williams was leading the competition with a clean chart through 2.28 and a second-jump clearance at 2.31. A new name in elite high-jumping circles emerged tonight as 27-year-old Slovak Michal Kabelka improved on his three-year-old 2.24 PB at three consecutive heights, ending the evening with an amazing 2.31, only one centimeter off the Slovak national record.  His outdoor PB stands at a meager 2.21 but will surely improve as soon as the snows melt. Kabelka tied for third with Greek jumper Kostadinos Baniotis, who had two excellent tries at a would-be PB 2.33.  Jaroslav Baba ended in fifth at 2.28, having passed 2.31.



BYDGOSZCZ (POL, Feb 8): Poland's top indoor meeting, the field events-only Pedro's Cup in Bydgoszcz (EA Indoor Permit), saw victories for the Polish pair of pole vaulter Lukasz Michalski, shot putter Tomasz Majewski and Russia's pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva on Wednesday. Michalski, fourth at last summer's World Championships, came out on top of the men's pole vault at the European Athletics Indoor Permit Meeting when he equalled his indoor personal best of 5.72m in Bydgoszcz's Lucznicka Hall. There were still four men in the competition at that height but Michalski was the only one to go clear, getting over on his third attempt, before having three failures at 5.80m. Czech Republic's Jan Kudlička and Great Britain's Steve Lewis shared second place with both men having no failures up to and including 5.60m, which equalled Kudlička's personal best. Germany's Karsten Dilla was also over 5.60m but made that height with his second attempt and had to settle for fourth place. It was not a good night for men who have stood on top of the podium at World Championships. Italy's 2003 pole vault world champion Guiseppe Gibilisco could do no better than 5.40m and was fifth while Poland's 2011 Athlete of the Year and current world champion Paweł Wojciechowski, who also won at the 2011 European Athletics U23 Championships, only got over 5.20m. Wojciechowski is still struggling to regain his fitness after suffering a broken cheekbone in a freak training accident on 7 December, when a pole slipped in his hands and struck him in the face, leading to him missing training for three weeks at the end of last year. Another home victory came when 2008 Olympic Games champion Tomasz Majewski won the shot put with a heave of 21.05m in the third round, moving up to second place in the 2012 European rankings. Majewski had a good competition and the worst of his six attempts was 20.54m but he could never relax as the United States' 2009 world champion Christian Cantwell was always pressing and reached 20.96m with his second attempt. Portugal's Marco Fortes finished third with a national indoor record of 20.77m, his second of the winter having reached 20.57m in the German city of Chemnitz last month. He was just 12 centimetres short of his Portuguese outdoor record. The women's pole vault clash between world record holder Isinbayeva and Great Britain's 20-year-old Holly Bleasdale, who is third on the indoor all-time list after she cleared 4.87m in the French town of Villeurbane, didn't quite live up to expectations. However, Isinbayeva will still be glad she got a win over the woman who has been touted as her successor as the queen of her event. She opened at 4.68m, getting over the height at the second time of asking and it proved to be enough for victory. Bleasdale had come in at 4.60m and cleared that comfortably before needing three attempts to get over 4.68m. Both women then failed at 4.80m and so the honours were taken by the 2004 and 2008 Olympic champion. Poland's 2009 World Championships gold medallist Anna Rogowska had her first competition of the year and finished third after clearing 4.60m on her third attempt. She passed 4.68m in a bid to reclaim supremacy but then failed three times at 4.74m. Russia's 2010 European Athletics Championships gold medallist Svetlana Feofanova finished fifth with 4.52m.

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