Danil Lysenko showed the poise and steel of an athlete far in excess of his 20 years of age to defeat reigning world outdoor champion Mutaz Essa Barshim in the high jump on the first day of the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.
At worst, Lysenko was guaranteed a jump-off if he failed his third attempt at 2.36m but the silver medallist behind Barshim at the World Championships in London won the first title of the championships with an under pressure third-time clearance.
Lysenko demanded silence from the crowd as he prepared for his do-or-die attempt but the Arena Birmingham erupted into applause when the 20-year-old skimmed over the bar in what turned out to be the last jump of the competition.
"This is the most important result of my career. In London, it was tough. But here, it was really a pleasure to jump with these guys,” said Lysenko.
"My emotions are so strong I cannot even describe it. This is unbelievable, such a good result for me. Honestly, I did not expect to win this event and I did not think of it at all. I just tried to do my best until the end of the competition.”
A short break will follow before Lysenko resumes his preparations for the summer season culminating with the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships. "I have not jumped very often this season but all my performances were good. I am happy for this and looking forward to the summer,” added Lysenko.
Another athlete with good reason to celebrate is bronze medallist Mateusz Przybylko from Germany. After dicing with elimination at 2.25m - a height which he required three attempts at - Przybylko went on to secure the bronze medal on countback with a second-time clearance at 2.29m.
"It is the first time I have won a medal and I am so happy. I didn't think I was a medal contender and my warm-up wasn't that good. There is going to be a big party when I get home," he said.
Mateusz Przybylko won his first major medal with bronze in the high jump at the World Indoor Championships and a big party is on the cards!
Will there be another one this summer after the European Championships in Berlin?#TheMoment is coming! pic.twitter.com/14WucEqB2b
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) March 2, 2018
Lasitskene regains world indoor title
While it would be a bit of an exaggeration to describe the result of the men’s high jump as an upset - Lysenko was second on the world lists behind Barshim’s 2.38m with 2.37m - the women’s high jump went exactly to script.
Mariya Lasitskene leads the world lists by seven centimetres and the reigning two-time world outdoor champion regained her indoor crown by two clear heights, clearing 1.96m on her first attempt before 2.01m on her second attempt. Lasitskene won the competition by eight centimetres but she said the outcome was not a foregone conclusion.
"Maybe it looked easy but it was not an easy victory at all. There were a couple of things which were different comparing to the normal competition I had to deal with. The warm-up, the start of the competition and it was also pretty cold from the beginning. But I stayed focused in every jump and I felt very well prepared.”
Defending champion Vashti Cunningham from the United States won silver on countback with 1.93m ahead of Italy’s Alessia Trost.
Hassan holds off Muir for 3000m silver
A thrilling climax to the 3000m produced two European medals - and nearly a gold medal - as the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan and home favourite Laura Muir closed in on reigning two-time champion Genzebe Dibaba from Ethiopia on the last lap.
With a 30.4 final lap, Dibaba held on to complete the hat-trick of 3000m titles in 8:45.05, just ahead of Hassan (8:45.68) and Muir (8:45.78), the latter claiming her first global medal after a string of near misses in recent major championships 1500m finals.
For Muir, her biggest challenge was to even reach the start-line for the 3000m final. Unseasonal snow and freezing temperatures caused severe transport problems across Great Britain and Muir only arrived in Birmingham at just before midnight on the day before the race by taxi.
"This time yesterday I was in a taxi halfway down the M6,” said Muir. “We couldn't see the bonnet, the windscreen wipers were freezing and it took six hours.”
All three medallists will return to the track for tomorrow night’s 1500 heats.