Holzdeppe back to form with a 5.88m world-leading mark in Karlsruhe

Raphael Holzdeppe
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Former world pole vault champion Raphael Holzdeppe cleared 5.88m in Karlsruhe to defeat Renaud Lavillenie

There have been some lean years for Raphael Holzdeppe since winning the 2013 World Championships in Moscow but the 28-year-old looks poised to challenge for major honours again at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships on the basis of his performance at the Indoor Meeting Karlsruhe.

Holzdeppe had the beating of four global senior champions on Saturday (3) including former Olympic champion and multiple European indoor and outdoor champion Renaud Lavillenie from France. Holzdeppe led Lavillenie on countback at 5.83m before the German put the competition beyond his reach with a third time clearance at 5.88m, an indoor lifetime best and two centimetres in excess of Lavillenie’s world-leading mark.

“I would have been satisfied with 5.83m" Holzdeppe told Leichtathletik.de after the competition. "It was a great competition and of course great that I went so high in the end.”

Holzdeppe wasn’t the only German athlete to move to the top of the 2018 world indoor lists in Karlsruhe. In the long jump, Malaika Mihambo went out to a world-leading mark of 6.72m in the sixth round although Sosthene Moguenara came close to surpassing Mihambo with her final jump of the competition which was measured at 6.70m. Two-time European indoor champion Ivana Spanovic from Serbia finished third with 6.61m, the only valid jump of her series.

Pinto maintains 60m win streak; European-leading mark for Roleder

Tatjana Pinto stopped the clock at 7.08 in the 60m heats in Berlin last Friday before winning the final in 7.13 and the German sprinter claimed another notable win at international level in Karlsruhe, this time stopping the clock at 7.10.

Pinto was chased to the line by Lisa Mayer who moves to fourth on the world lists with a lifetime best of 7.12 although such is the excellent domestic standard, she is only the third fastest German on paper in 2018 behind Pinto (7.08) and Gina Luckenkemper (7.11).

European indoor champion Asha Philip was credited with the same time as Mayer in third with Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji also showing good early season form in fourth with 7.13.

Cindy Roleder missed the summer season due to sciatic nerve inflammation but the reigning European indoor and outdoor champion is returning to top form ahead of her title defence in Berlin this summer.

Roleder didn’t get the best of starts in the 60m hurdles final but the 28-year-old finished strongly off the final flight of barriers for third in a European-leading mark and equal lifetime best of 7.84 behind Americans Sharika Nelvis (7.80) and Christina Manning (7.81).  

"It was a hard time for me, I could not do anything for seven months," said an emotional Roleder. "You saw my reaction after the race; a load has fallen away from me. I'm surprised that I'm that fast again."

Klosterhalfen just misses another long-standing domestic record 

There was another European indoor leading mark for Konstanze Klosterhalfen in the 1500m. World record-holder Genzebe Dibaba blasted to a world-leading mark of 3:57.45 despite some inconsistent pacemaking but Klosterhalfen paced her season’s opener excellently, coming through to finish a clear second in 4:04.00, just missing Brigitte Kraus’ 33-year-old national record of 4:03.64.

Switzerland’s Lea Sprunger won the 400m ahead of Ireland’s Phil Healy, taking away her European-leading mark in the process with 52.03. The finish arrived just in time for Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski who staggered over the line for victory in the 800m in 1:46.90 by 0.01 from Erik Sowinski from the United States.

Elsewhere, Olympic and European high jump silver medallist Mirela Demireva from Bulgaria returned to form after an injury ravaged 2017 season with an indoor lifetime best of 1.95m to defeat Ukraine’s Yuliya Levchenko with 1.92m.

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More information on the 2018 European Championships:  

- The Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships will be part of the first multi-sport European Championships along with co-hosts Glasgow.    

- It will be a must-watch, must-attend experience that elevates the status of European Champions, uniting existing European Championships to celebrate the highest honour in European sport and celebrating the defining moments that create Champions.   

- It is the continent’s ultimate multi-sport event, an 11-day celebration of European sport staged every four years.  

- Seven of Europe’s leading sports (athletics, aquatics, rowing, golf, cycling, gymnastics, triathlon) will be brought together for the first edition.  

- The European Athletics Championships in Berlin will be staged 7-12 August. The six other sports will be staged in Glasgow through 2-12 August. 

- 4500 athletes and 52 nations will compete across the seven sports.  

- Potential TV audience of over one billion with millions more across multiple digital platforms.  

- Over half a million spectators expected.