Levchenko clears world-lead 2.00m in Bydgoszcz

Yuliya Levchenko
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Ukraine's Yuliya Levchenko cleared 2.00m at the Irena Szewinska Memorial in Bydgoszcz on Wednesday (19) evening

Ukraine high jumper Yuliya Levchenko cleared a world leading 2.00m outdoors this summer at the Irena Szewinska Memorial in Bydgoszcz, a World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze meeting, on Wednesday evening (19).

Levchenko might have been somewhat overshadowed by the accomplishments of her precocious 18-year-old compatrio Yaroslava Mahuchikh over the last twelve months but Levchenko reminded us of her excellent credentials by going over 2.00m to hand the teenager her first defeat since the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha.

Mahuchikh defeated Levchenko in Monaco on Friday night and another victory seemed to be heading in her direction as she led on countback with first-time clearances at 1.94m and 1.97m but Levchenko sealed victory courtesy of a clutch third-time clearance at 2.00m before three attempts at a prospective lifetime best of 2.04m.

Levchenko said last season that Bydgoszcz is one of her favourite places to compete and the Zawisza Stadium will have only gone up in her estimations after last night. The 22-year-old won her first major medal in this arena at the World U20 Championships in 2016, one year before winning the European U23 title in the same stadium. Levchenko was also a winner at the European Athletics Team Championships in Bydgoszcz last August.

The two Ukrainians will go head-to-head again in the Stockholm Diamond League on Sunday (23) afternoon with the head-to-head tantalisingly poised at 1-1 based on outdoor competitions in 2020.

The first clash of the season between Poland’s Piotr Lisek and world champion Sam Kendricks from the United States also looked to be reaching an exciting climax. The two main protagonists were left in the competition with the bar at 5.90m but the head-to-head came to an abrupt and worrying halt after Lisek bailed out of his first attempt, crumbling onto the mat holding the back of his leg.

Lisek retired from the competition and Kendricks, who was leading on countback with a first-time clearance at 5.80m, chose not to vault on. Thankfully the early signs are that Lisek's injury is not too serious.

“So far, it seems that everything is fine with Piotr. It looked scary, we will probably check this leg carefully, but let's hope that there will be no serious consequences,” said Lisek’s coach Marcin Szczepański as quoted by Przeglad Sportowy.

There were victories for Polish athletes in the other two field events on the programme. European champion Michal Haratyk improved his season’s best to 21.61m in the fifth round of the shot put to defeat European leader Filip Mihaljevic from Croatia with 21.35m and Marcin Krukowski won the javelin with 83.37m.

On the track reigning European 400m champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic ran out a comfortable winner in a season’s best of 51.69 but she shared the headlines with her compatriot Kornelia Lesiewicz who produced a remarkable run in the B race. Just five days after celebrating her 17th birthday Lesiewicz won the B race in a lifetime best and Polish U18 record of 52.86. 

In the last event of the programme three-time European indoor champion Marcin Lewandowski raced to a national 2000m record on his home track. 

Racing outdoors at a distance beyond the mile for the first time, Lewandowski couldn’t quite match the finishing kick of Australia’s Matthew Ramsden who raced to victory in 4:55.44 but Lewandowski’s time of 4:57.09 in second-place shaved more than four seconds off the previous long-standing national record. His teammate Michal Rozmys also eclipsed the previous record in sixth in 4:57.98. 

In the 800m, Great Britain’s Elliot Giles defeated a strong field in a season’s best of 1:45.18 and Switzerland’s Ajla Del Ponte notched up yet another high quality victory in the 100m in 11.18 ahead of reigning European indoor champion Ewa Swoboda in 11.24.

Visser matches world 100m hurdles lead in Szekesfehervar

European indoor champion Nadine Visser from the Netherlands extended her win streak to nine races in the 100m hurdles at the Istvan Gyulai Memorial in Szekesfehervar, a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting, on Wednesday (19).

Visser matched her world lead of 12.68 from the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku although she was stalked all the way by Luca Kozak in the adjacent lane. Kozak was rewarded with a substantial lifetime best and a national record of 12.71 which broke the previous record of 12.76 which had stood since 1984.

World leader and European U20 champion Femke Bol eased to another high profile victory in the 400m hurdles in 54.67, defeating European silver medallist Hanna Ryzhykova from Ukraine by more than one second in 55.86.

Olympic silver medallist Orlando Ortega followed up his victory in Monaco with another victory over world champion Grant Holloway from the United States, coming from behind to win by 0.01 in 13.21.

World champion Daniel Stahl from Sweden notched up another win in the discus with 67.31m and there was a European double in the hammer. European champion Wojciech Nowicki won the men’s hammer with 78.07m from home favourite and European lead Bence Halasz with 78.00m with the Ukrainian teenager Myhaylo Kokhan from Ukraine third in a lifetime best of 77.78m.

In the women’s hammer France’s Alexandra Tavernier won with 73.09m from Poland’s Malwina Kopron with 72.68m.