Shkolina makes a high-flying return

Shkolina makes a high-flying return
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Russia's Svetlana Shkolina made her return to competition on Friday and we can already say she will be among the favourites for the European indoor title in Prague.

She has been out for a year with injury but high jumper Svetlana Shkolina made no mistake as she stepped back into the competitive arena on Friday.

Russian Shkolina produced a world lead of 1.95m to celebrate a winning return as she triumphed at the Chuvash Republic Meet in Novocheboksarsk.

Equally, it signalled her intentions for the season ahead as this performance is a superb start to build on with the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague less than two months away.

The world champion has never won a medal at the European Athletics Indoor Championships - she was fourth in Paris in 2011 - yet she looks set to change that in Prague’s 02 Arena.

After going over at 1.95m, Shkolina then moved the bar up five centimetres and was close to making it at 2.00m on her third go.

One man who will be relishing his return to the 02 will be Shkolina’s fellow Russian Ivan Ukhov, the Olympic high jump champion, and he also made a good start to his year at this same event as he went over at 2.30m.

He did not attempt to go any higher. All in good time, you suspect, for an athlete who last February equalled the European Athletics indoor record of 2.42m in Prague.

Check out his 2.42m clearance below:

Novocheboksarsk proved a successful meeting for Russia’s top stars with Angelina Zhuk-Krasnova achieving a pole vault personal best of 4.66m and, psychologically, a good victory too.

She won bronze at last year’s European Athletics Championships in Zurich with 4.60m as her teammate Anzhelika Sidorova won with 4.65m.

But this time it was Zhuk-Krasnova celebrating the win as Sidorova had a best of 4.50m.

Zhuk-Krasnova also had two attempts at 4.73m, but the signs are good that the pair will make a bid for the medals in Prague.

Yelena Korobkina, the European Athletics 3000m junior champion in 2009, moved to the top of the European Athletics’ rankings for the distance with victory in 9:02.44.