After her wonderful campaign last summer in which she won the Olympic and European pole vault titles, Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi is looking for even greater heights this time in the pole vault – namely the world record.
After achieving victory in the Rome Diamond League with a world-lead of 4.85m ahead of world champion Yarisley Silva from Cuba (4.75m) and New Zealand’s Eliza McCartney (4.75m), Stefanidi then moved the bar to 5.07m - a centimetre more than Yelena Isinbayeva’s world record from 2009.
“I must say that I got a bit scared at 5.07m but my last attempt was the best. In training, it looks I was going to jump 5.07m so it is also about the mental barriers,” commented Stefanidi, who also won the European indoor title in March.
Stefanidi will next compete at her national championships before donning the Greek vest at the European Athletics Team Championships in Lille Metropole where she will be looking to deliver maximum points for newly promoted Greece.
The brilliance of German javelin throwing came to the fore once more with a tremendous battle which was only decided in the final round with a fantastic effort from Olympic champion Thomas Rohler.
He showed his intent at the first Diamond League meeting of the season last month in Doha where he moved to second on the world all-time lists with 93.90m but with one throw left, Rohler was in second with 87.89m as teammate Johannes Vetter led with his fifth round effort of 88.15m.
However, Rohler is in amazing form and he struck with 90.06m with his sixth throw to triumph again.
“Whether I was nervous before my sixth attempt, well you have to deal with this. It is easier when someone pushes you. Before my sixth attempt, I knew that it was possible to beat Johannes,” he said.
Dutch star Dafne Schippers was superb in the 100m as she broke 11 seconds for the 14th time in her career in wind-legal conditions for victory in 10.99 ahead of the Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou (11.03) and Trinidad & Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye (11.07) while Britain’s Chijindu Ujah produced one of the best wins of his career, winning the men’s 100m in 10.02 from France’s Jimmy Vicaut (10.05).
It might not be too long before they meet again as Ujah and Vicaut look set to go head-to-head again at the European Athletics Team Championships in Lille Metropole.
European indoor and outdoor champion Adam Kszczot from Poland was also impressive as he won a tactical 800m in 1:45.96 from world U20 champion Kipygeon Bett (1:46.00) while European 400m hurdles champion Sara Petersen from Denmark finished second to Jamaica’s Janieve Russell, 54.14 to 54.35.
There was another win in the high jump for in-form Maria Lasitskene - competing as an authorised neutral athlete - clearing 2.00m to beat Poland’s Kamila Licwinko (1.96m) and Ukraine’s Yuliia Levchenko (1.94m).