Levchenko opens season with a 2.00m clearance in Kyiv

Yuliya Levchenko
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Yuliya Levchenko cleared a lifetime best of 2.00m at the Christmas Cup in Kyiv

Yuliya Levchenko demonstrated on Saturday (11) she is building towards another championship medal-winning campaign by becoming the first athlete to clear 2.00m for the high jump this year.

At the Christmas Cup in Kyiv, the Ukrainian reached this barrier or beyond for the sixth time in her career as she equalled her indoor personal best. The European indoor silver medallist was in supreme early season form at the weekend, clearing nine heights from 1.80m to 2.00m on her first attempts before missing trying an outright lifetime best of 2.03m. 

“We weren’t sure whether to compete or not because it was a very busy last season but when the competition approached, I felt up for it so with the coach I decided to compete,” Levchenko told X Sport after the competition. 

Levchenko’s training partner Iryna Herashchenko was second with 1.86m with heptathlete Alina Shukh clearing 1.83m to finish third.

Saturday was a good day for pole vault personal bests as well. At the Perche Elite Tour in Orleans, France’s Alioune Sene won with a first-attempt clearance of 5.72m, an indoor lifetime best best and equal outright personal best.

In Merzig, Germany’s Torben Blech won the New Year’s Jumping in the Circus Tent with 5.61m; in San Sebastian, Spain’s Malen Ruiz de Azua improved took her lifetime best to 4.40m; while in Lodz, there was PB for Mateusz Jerzy who cleared 5.61m. 

Bekmez and Korkmaz break Turkish indoor records in Istanbul

There was a rewriting of national records after fine performance at the Turkish Indoor Walking Championships in Istanbul on Saturday. 

Meryem Bekmez, the European U20 champion 10,000m walk champion, broke the senior national mark over 3000m with 12:31.08 to add to her growing list of success, In the men’s 5000m, European U23 silver medallist Salih Korkmaz also revised the Turkish record with 19:13.59.

In Dublin, Irish sprinter Joan Healy equalled her 60m lifetime best with 7.31 and in Gyor, Hungary’s world indoor champion Anita Marton won the shot put at the New Year’s GyAC Cup with 18.03m. 

European U23 decathlon bronze medallist Manuel Eitel provided the first half of a German one-two in the heptathlon at the early season combined events meeting in Aubiere, France. 

Eitel scored a lifetime best total of 5963 points - concluding with an individual 1000m PB of 2:50.27 - ahead of Tim Nowak (5883 points) and France’s Jeremy Lelievre (5707 points) while Annaelle Nyabeu Djapa won the pentathlon with 4309 points.

Sotero improves Spanish U20 record again

Reigning European U18 and U20 champion Yasiel Brayan Sotero improved his Spanish U20 discus record for the second weekend in succession. The 18-year-old opened his campaign by tossing the 1.75kg implement out to 64.68m last weekend and he improved that mark to 65.12m in Gran Canaria on Saturday.

Having won European U18 and U20 titles in back-to-back seasons, Sotero is aiming to conquer at the World U20 Championships in Nairobi this July and he is also looking to make the senior team for the Paris 2020 European Athletics Championships at the end of August. He also holds the Spanish U20 record with the senior implement at 59.23m.

Jones and Avery beat the mud in Stirling

In wet and muddy conditions, Kris Jones and Kate Avery coped with the conditions best to celebrate victories at the British Athletics Cross Challenge in Stirling on Saturday. 

Over 8km, Jones won by 10 seconds in 25:33 from Jamie Crowe as Olympic 5000m champion finalist Andy Butchart recovered to finish fourth after falling mid-race while multiple SPAR European Cross Country Championships medallist Avery triumphed in the 8km in 29:20, 11 seconds ahead of Abbie Donnelly. 

Weather played a part in the Netherlands where Belgium's Bashir Abdi won the Egmond Half Marathon in 68:23 from Kenya's Allan Biwott (68:49) with Mohammed Ali (68:59) the first Dutchman home. 

At the Portuguese 10km Championships in Oeiras, Carla Salome Rocha won the women’s race with Samuel Barata winning the men’s title. 

Rocha was first in 32:48 from Catarina Ribeiro (33:26) and Ana Ferreira (34:13) with Barata victorious in 29:31 from Luis Saraiva (28:39) and Rui Pinto (29:43).