Lasitskene improves world lead to 2.03m in Hengelo

Mariya Lasitskene
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Mariya Lasitskene extended her world leading mark in the high jump to 2.03m at the FBK Games in Hengelo

New summer, same prolific story as Mariya Lasitskene once more demonstrated she will be the high jumper to beat as she took her world lead to 2.03m with another superb performance at the FBK Games in Hengelo on Sunday (3) afternoon.

Entering the competition with a 2018 best of 2.02m, Lasitskene increased that mark to 2.03m and then moved the bar to 2.05m where she missed out on her three attempts. At this rate, that mark cannot be far away.

Incredibly, it was the 41st successive triumph for Lasitskene, who will head to the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships as the clear favourite where she will be looking to add to her title haul which includes two world outdoor titles and two world indoor titles.

The power of her success was shown in how far she was ahead of the field with Bulgaria’s Mirela Demireva, the Olympic and European silver medallist, second on 1.94m.

Fittingly at the meeting in the memory of Fanny Blankers-Koen, the greatest Dutch athlete of all-time, Dafne Schippers, the greatest Dutch athlete of the modern era, won the 200m in 22.44 as she beat Bulgaria’s Ivet Lalova-Collio (22.79).

And the men’s 200m brought another big step for Spain’s 200m European champion Bruno Hortelano. He finished second in his first race at the distance since returning to the sport following his car accident in 2016.

It was actually his first 200m since the Olympics that year and his time of 20.35 - behind South African Luxolo Adams in 20.34 - is the fourth fastest of his career, and his fastest time set outside of a major championships.

Hortelano will take great encouragement by that as he counts down to the defence of his crown in Berlin, as the German city co-hosts the first multi-sports European Championships with Glasgow.

And the Olympic Stadium in Berlin could be treated to some race in the 110m hurdles with Hengelo providing a taste of what might be ahead.

Sergey Shubenkov looked sharp as he won in 13.23 from Spain’s Olympic silver medallist Orlando Ortega (13.38) with France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde third (13.42) ahead of Germany’s Gregor Traber (13.50) and Hungary’s Balazs Baji (13.54), the world bronze medallist.

Great Britain's Andrew Osagie moved to the top of the European 800m lists, finishing fourth in 1:45.09 - his fastest time since the IAAF World Championships in 2013 - as Kenyan Jonathan Kitilit won in 1:43.77.

A trio of Lithuanian records broken

It was a Saturday to remember for Lithuanian athletics with three national records broken.

Competing at the Swiss Club League for LC Zurich in Basel, Agne Serksniene had quite an afternoon on the track. In a time of 23.21, she broke the 200m mark from 2000 by just 0.01 along with producing an equally eye-catching 400m performance in 51.32 (video below).

Not only is it the second fastest time by a European this year behind Poland’s Justyna Swiety-Ersetic with 51.05, it is also the second best of all-time by a Lithuanian behind Dalia Matuseviciene’s long-standing record of 51.12 from 1984.

Simas Bertasius, 24, was not even born when Pavelas Fedorenka ran 3:40.90 on June 7 1987 but at the Lithuanian Athletics Federation Cup in Utena, Bertasius brought the record down to 3:40.41 with a fine run - and a major improvement on his personal best of 3:42.69.

Utena was the setting for the third record – and another from the 1980s – as race walker Brigita Virbalyte-Dimsiene lowered the 3000m mark of 12:09.91, set in 1989, by more than four seconds to 12:05.72.

In the field, Lithuania’s world discus champion Andrius Gudzius also maintained his excellent start to the summer by winning with 68.98m and also throwing 68.07m.

Dobbin and Wilson revise the record books

As the Lithuanian athletes were rewriting history, so too was Beth Dobbin as she smashed a record that had lasted even longer.

In Eton on Saturday, Dobbin - whose lifetime best stood at 23.14 - ran the race of her life, winning the 200m in a Scottish record of 22.84 at the UK Women’s League, breaking the mark of 22.98 which Sandra Whittaker had run at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Long-time Swiss international Alex Wilson already holds the Swiss records over 100m and 200m but the 27-year-old took nearly one-tenth off his record over the longer distance, stopping the clock at 20.29 in Basel on Saturday.