Ukrainians Yuliya Levchenko and Yaroslava Mahuchikh have both already surpassed the 2.00m-barrier in the high jump this month and they will face each other for the first time this season in Cottbus on Wednesday (29).
This rivalry will be one of the most intriguing storylines of the indoor season as Levchenko and Mahuchikh are due to go head-to-head three times in the next two weeks. After Cottbus, they will compete in Karlsruhe on 31 January and then again at the Banskobystricka Latka, a European Athletics Special Premium Permit Meeting, on 11 February.
Levchenko, who just missed out on the medals at the World Athletics Championships in Doha last autumn, cleared 2.00m in Kyiv on her season’s opener on 11 January. She cleared eight successive heights on her first attempts but this early season world lead was eclipsed the following weekend by Mahuchikh who secured sole ownership of the world indoor U20 record with 2.01m in Lviv.
Levchenko and Mahuchikh have faced each other 11 times thus far with the former leading the head-to-head series 9-2 although Mahuchikh prevailed in their last encounter in Doha where she famously cleared world U20 records of 2.02m and 2.04m to win silver behind reigning champion Mariya Lasitskene.
The line-up in Cottbus also features 2017 European indoor champion Airine Palsyte from Lithuania - who finished second to Lasitskene last year - and 2014 world indoor champion Kamila Licwinko from Poland.
Best indoor women’s high jump performances in January
2.04m Stefka Kostadinova - Genova (31 January 1985)
2.04m Heike Henkel - Karlsruhe (31 January 1992)
2.04m Anna Chicherova - Ekaterinburg (7 January 2003)
2.04m Mariya Lasitskene - Volgograd (27 January 2018)
2.03m Heike Henkel - Berlin (29 January 1992)
2.03m Monika Iagar - Bucharest (23 January 1999)
2.03m Blanka Vlasic - Rijeka (26 January 2009)
2.03m Mariya Lasitskene - Moscow (20 January 2019)
2.02m Stefka Kostadinova - Lievin (25 January 1992)
2.02m Mariya Lasitskene - Cottbus (30 January 2019)
The men’s pole vault also brings together an excellent line-up featuring three of the last four world outdoor champions: Sam Kendricks from the United States (2017, 2019), Canada’s Shawn Barber (2015) and Poland’s Pawel Wojciechowski (2011) along with 2014 world indoor champion Konstadinos Filippidis from Greece.
The line-up also features another Pole Piotr Lisek, the world bronze medallist last year. He won this meeting last year with an early season world leading clearance of 5.85m ahead of Sweden’s Melker Svard Jacobsson with 5.80m and Kendricks with 5.70m. The calibre of line-up in Cottbus is such the world lead of 5.82m which is held by Kyle Pater should be revised.
The meeting will be streamed live here.