Klishina's world lead in Tokyo as Bondarenko responds in style

Klishina's world lead in Tokyo as Bondarenko responds in style
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Ukraine's Bohdan Bondarenko responsded to Ivan Ukhov's performance in Doha with victory in the high jump contest in Tokyo with 2.40m on Sunday.

The medal record of Russian long-jumper Darya Klishina makes impressive reading, with a string of golds from 2007 to 2013.

But outside of age-group events, her major titles have only arrived indoors, with successive victories at the European Athletics Championships in Paris in 2011 and Gotenburg in 2013. Could this year be the time this is all about to change?

As Tokyo bade farewell to its historic Olympic Stadium on Sunday - the venue is being knocked down and rebuilt for the Games in 2020 - Klishina delivered one of the performances of the meeting.

She won with 6.88m, a record for the event and the best in the world this year, as she beat Americans Tianna Bartoletta, who was second with 6.78m, and Funmi Jimoh, who was third with 6.41m.

At only 23, Klishina has a big future ahead of her and she could be among the medal contenders even in six years time when the Olympics return to Tokyo for the first time since 1964.

First priority, of course, will be the European Athletics Championships in Zurich in August and she has the 'outdoors' background to prove she can do it, having won the World Youth title in 2007 in Ostrava, the European juniors in Novi Sad in 2009 and then lifted the European U23 crown in Kazan in 2013.

With this world-leading mark, it is the best start possible on her journey to Switzerland for the event which begins in 92 days time.

In his first appearance of the year, Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko responded in style to the standard set by Ivan Ukhov with a brilliant high-jumping display of his own.

On Friday in Doha, Russian Ukhov recorded a personal best with 2.41m at the IAAF Diamond League before travelling the 5000 miles to Tokyo for this competition less than 48 hours later.

The Olympic champion could not quite reach those heights with a best of 2.34m but World champion Bondarenko showed what a great summer it is going to be for the event as he won with 2.40m on his third attempt.

As in 2013, he also tried to break Javier Sotomayor’s world record of 2.45m, raising the bar to 2.46m but failed.

Bondarenko told AFP: "I have put on my spikes just once since the end of last season and it was a difficult competition. Of course, we (Ukhov and him) are rivals when we compete together. But we are very good friends outside of competition.”