Russians Ukhov and Chicherova win in Banska Bystrica
|Russian high jumper Ivan Ukhov cleared 2.33m to win at the 19th
edition of the Europa SC High Jump meeting in Banska Bystrica on
Wednesday. (Photo by meeting organisers)
There were still five men in contention when the bar went up to 2.33m at the European Athletics Indoor Permit Meeting but Ukhov, the 2011 European Athletics Indoor Championships gold medallist, was the only one to go clear.
Ukhov, who also holds the meeting record with the 2.38m he cleared in 2010 and 2011 which were also the best performances in the world, went over his season's best on his third attempt.
He then had the bar raised to what would have been a world-leading height of 2.37m but was unsuccessful.
Second was the United States' 2011 world champion Jesse Williams with 2.31m while equal third, at the same height but with more failures throughout the night, was Slovakia's Michal Kabelka and Greece's Konstadinos Baniotis.
It was a thrilling night in front of a home audience for 27-year-old Kabelka who improved his on previous personal best of 2.24m, which had stood since 2009, three times during the course of the competition to finish just one centimetre short of Slovakian national indoor record which has been held by Robert Ruffini since 1988.
Chicherova remains unbeaten in 2012 – indeed, the last time she was defeated was in July last year and she extended her unbeaten streak to nine competitions in Banska Bystrica – after clearing 2.00m, a height only she has achieved this year.
Wednesday's competition came just four days after she jumped a world-leading and Russian indoor record height of 2.06 in the German town of Arnstadt on Saturday.
She was flawless up to and including 1.98m and was only accompanied by Belgium's 2008 Olympic champion Tia Hellebaut, who bowed out at this height after clearing 1.96m.
With the pressure off, Chicherova had a momentary lapse of concentration at 2.00m and just edged the bar off with her first attempt before sailing clear. The bar then moved up to 2.04m and Chicherova had three respectable but unsuccessful attempts at the height.
Hellebaut again, coming back after the birth of her second child last year, proved that she will again be a force to be reckoned with by going over 1.96m with her first jump but Chicherova showed that she is the undisputed world number one in her event at the moment.
Third was the American jumper Chaunté Lowe and in fourth place was Italy's 2011 World Championships bronze medallist Antonietta Di Martino, both women clearing 1.93m but separated by the number of failures they had during the competition.
Fifth was the Italy's 2009 World Youth Championships gold medallist Alessia Trost, who celebrated her 19tth birthday on Wednesday by clearing 1.90m, just one centimetre short of her recent Italian junior indoor record, before having three failures at 1.93m.
Results and further details of the Europa SC High Jump meeting in Banska Bystrica can be found in both Slovak and English at the event website here.
Further details of all the 2012 European Athletics Indoor Permit Meetings can be found here.