Rogowska and Bleasdale are back at it

The Weekend Watch
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At the Record Bank Flanders Indoor in Gent, Anna Rogowska, of Poland, soared over at 4.76m to take the world lead in the pole vault.

At last year's European Athletics Indoor Championships in Gothenburg, Holly Bleasdale won gold for Great Britain in a jump off in the pole vault when she beat Poland's Anna Rogowska.

This weekend, even though the pair of them were in different countries, once more they found themselves vying for top spot.

First came the news on Saturday that Bleasdale had established the world lead when she cleared 4.73m at the Sainsbury's British Athletics Indoor Championships in Sheffield. But her position at the helm did not last 24 hours.

At the Record Bank Flanders Indoor in Gent, Rogowska, of Poland, had an afternoon of contrasting fortunes before eventually soaring over at 4.76m. With the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot next month, the 2009 outdoor world champion is looking in fine form to bid for gold in her home country.

She is recovering from an accident in December and at first she had two failures at 4.41m but she composed herself and went over at 4.76m and then even attempted 4.81m as she beat Russia's  Anzhelika Sidorova, who was second with 4.61m.

Sheffield and Gent were two hotbeds of outstanding performances on Saturday and Sunday.

At those British trials, James Dasaolu, among the favourites for a medal in Sopot, won the 60m in 6.50 on a weekend where one of his main sprint rivals, France's double European 100m champion Christophe Lemaitre, won the 60m at the regional championships in Aubiere in 6.63.

And in Gent, Pavel Maslak, the European 400m champion from the Czech Republic, showed once again what a superb winter he is having by winning the 300m in 32.15.

It might not be an event run too often but this victory came in a European all-time best and was the fourth quickest in history.

Maslak is finding such amazing speed, as his 400m national record of 45.66 in Stockholm last Thursday proved, and he said after his win in Gent: "I was not expecting such a fast time, but the track here is great and my shape too.”

Belgium's Nafissatou Thiam gave the home crowd much to be delighted about as she reached the Sopot standard with 1.94m in the high jump while back in Sheffield, Britain's Asha Philip won the 60m in 7.09 to move to the top of the European Athletics women’s rankings.

At the final meeting in the Perche Elite Tour in Nice, Jerome Clavier cleared 5.76m to beat China's Xue Changrui on countback while Sweden's Angelica Bengtsson won the women's pole vault event with 4.62m, with Marion Fiack, of France, second with 4.55m.

There were fears that Greece's Louis Tsatoumas could be out for the season after suffering a bicep injury, but at the national indoor championships in Pireas he showed that was far from the case when he broke his own national long jump record with 8.23m in his first event of the year.

Tampere, the city which staged last year's European Athletics Under-23 Championships, was the venue for the Nordic Indoor match on Saturday. Sweden won the men's event with 116 points, beating Finland with 95 and Norway with 65, while there was a tie in the women's competition, as Finland and Sweden both ended with 102 from Norway with 70.

And what a month it is proving for Finland’s Sanna Hamarainen. On February 1, she broke the national indoor discus record with 58.29m at the Botnia Games in Mustasaari and now in Tampere, she extended that mark to 60.67m in one of the best performances of the match.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Today (Monday) - Belarus Indoor Universiade (Gomel).

Tuesday - 2nd Martin Kutman Memorial (Tartu), Czech High Jump Grand Prix (Brno), Meeting Pas de Calais (Lievin).

Wednesday - Akademik International Indoor Meeting (Dobrich).

Thursday - Czech High Jump Grand Prix (Prague), International Meeting Stabhochsprung (Potsdam), Meeting National (Eaubonne), Vasyl and Serhiy Bubka Prixes (Donetsk).

Friday - Samsung Pole Vault Stars (Donetsk).

Saturday - British Athletics Indoor Grand Prix (Birmingham), Caucasian Open Cup (Tbilisi), Crystal Cup (Bucharest), Pole Vault Stars (Donetsk).

Sunday - Birmingham Games (Birmingham), Lotto Crosscup Championships of Flanders (Rotselaar), XXIV Media Marathon (Barcelona).