Teenage prodigy Alina Shukh was just eight points shy of her recent world indoor U20 pentathlon record, set just eight days ago, when she scored 4542 points to win the International Combined Events Meeting in Tallinn on Saturday.
At the European Athletics Indoor Permit Meeting competition in the Estonian capital, the Ukrainian – who only turns 18 on 12 February – put together marks of: 60m hurdles - 8.98, high jump - 1.89m, shot put - 13.81m, long jump - 6.12m and 800m - 2:16.84.
Going into the final event of a compact schedule lasting just three hours and 40 minutes, the 2016 European youth heptathlon champion needed to run an indoor personal best of 2:16.35 or faster to break her mark set on home soil in Zaporozhyia on 27 January but she came up just short.
Shukh was actually the individual winner of all three field events in Tallinn, with her high jump being the second best indoor mark in the world this year by a junior, and she ran out a comfortable overall winner by 208 points.
Her next target is a medal at the European Athletics Indoor Championships, where she is likely to be the youngest ever competitor in the five-event discipline.
Another impressive teenager on display in Tallinn was Sweden’s Bianca Salming, who was second with 4338 points and improved her personal best by almost 200 points.
The 18-year-old, who was fourth in the IAAF World U20 Championships heptathlon last summer, added three centimetres to her lifetime best when finishing second in the high jump with 1.86m, equalled her lifetime best in the long jump with 5.81m and then won the 800m in 2:16.20, almost two seconds faster than she’s ever run before indoors or out. Finland’s Miia Kurppa was third with 4032 points.
Estonia’s Kristjan Rosenberg is the latest product off the host nation’s production line of formidably talented multi-event exponents and won a thrilling heptathlon duel with a personal best 5986 points.
He had first day marks on Friday of: 60m - 7.01, long jump - 7.25m, shot put - 13.62, high jump - 2.13m.
After adding two centimetres to his lifetime best in the high jump, he held the overnight lead with 3383, 121 ahead of Austria’s Dominik Distelberger.
Distelberger, second in this meeting in 2014, closed the gap after the 60m hurdles to 48 points as the pair clocked 8.07 and 8.37 respectively and the deficit remained exactly the same after the pole vault with both men clearing 4.87m.
The Austrian then dug deep in the 1000m and ran 2:42.82, his fastest time for six years, but it was not quite enough to overtake the Estonian in the overall standings as Rosenberg followed him home in a personal best of 2:42.96 and took the victory on home soil by 47 point with Distelberger finishing second with 5939, the second best score of his career and his best tally since 2011.