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IAAF World Indoor Championships: Danil Lysenko, Mariya Latiskene bag gold on Day 1

Russian high jumpers Danil Lysenko and Mariya Latiskene, both competing under “Authorised Neutral Athletes” category, won gold in the men’s and women’s high jump disciplines in the IAAF World Indoor Championships on Thursday.

other sports Updated: Mar 02, 2018 22:14 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Birmingham
IAAF World Indoor Championships,Danil Lysenko,Mariya Latiskene
(L-R) Silver medallist Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim, gold medallist Danil Lysenko and bronze medallist Germany's Mateusz Przybylko pose on the podium during the medal ceremony for the men's high jump at the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships at the Arena in Birmingham on March 1, 2018. (AFP)

Hours after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) restored Russia’s membership on Wednesday, it was double delight for the nation at the World Indoor Championships, with Danil Lysenko and Mariya Latiskene both bagging gold in the men’s and women’s high jump disciplines.

However, since they, along with six other Russians are registered under the “Authorised Neutral Athletes” category, the Russian anthem couldn’t be heard playing inside the Birmingham Arena as they walked up to take gold.

In the only other final of the day, Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba clinched gold in the 3000m women’s final while the hosts got on to the medal tally with double European champion Laura Muir finishing third.

Lysenko soars high

Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim was expected to set the stage on fire as the 11 men went out in the middle during the men’s high jump final, and he lived up to his reputation by pulling off his first four attempts with utmost grace.

While there were six athletes to go past the inaugural hurdle of 2.20m, only four went past the 2.25m-mark in their first attempts.

The interesting part, however, was that of the remaining seven contenders, six of them failed to go past the bar in all their three attempts while German Mateusz Przybylko managed to stay in the hunt only with a third successful attempt.

Home favourite Robbie Grabarz, however, had a disappointing evening — taking three attempts to go through to the second round only to crash out.

Hot on Barshim’s heels, however, was Danil Lysenko — with him matching up to Barshim’s trail and clearing on his first four attempts to push the competition to the 2.33m-mark. USA’s Erik Kynard and Przybylko both crashed out at the 2.33m-mark, although the German bagged the bronze owing to a cleaner clearance at the 2.29m-mark.

Both Barshim and Lysenko failed their first two attempts of the 2.36m, although the former did leap 2.38m at the Asian Indoor Championships last month.

However, just when a jump-off seemed evident, Lysenko, who had enjoyed an unbeaten winter campaign so far, eased himself over the bar while Barshim toppled it, thus becoming the first world champion at the 2018 event.

Mesmerising Mariya

Unlike their counterparts, it was one-way traffic for Mariya Latiskene in the women’s high-jump discipline with the 25-year-old just failing once while clinching gold at 2.01m. The second place went to USA’s Vashti Cunningham while Italy’s Alessia Trost took bronze.

While Lastitskene, who clinched the World Indoor Tour title in Glasgow last month, swept through from the inaugural 1.84m to 1.96m, Cunningham and Trost were tied with Great Britain’s Morgan Lake for the second and minor medals with the trio posting identical scores in the 1.89m, 1.93m and 1.96m.

They all cleared 1.89m on their first go, 1.93m in their second but failed to go past 1.96m.

That gave Lasitskene a chance to go for glory as she cleared her season’s best of 2.04m but missed out on the 2.07m mark, which would have placed her along with Heike Henkel of Germany for a second-highest indoor record.

Dibaba dominates

Defending champion Genzebe Dibaba kept up her winning momentum in the indoor season as she clocked 8:45.05m to bag gold as Holland’s Sifan Hassan finished a close second, trailing the Ethiopian by just 00:00.23s.

Home favourite and double European champion Laura Muir finished third, although she led the pack at the end of the first two laps.

Dibaba took the lead at the end of the 2000m and went on to increase the gap as the laps went by before a later surge from Muir and Hassan pushed her to stamp her authority.

She completed the last 1500m at just four minutes and three seconds. The win now completes a hat-trick for Dibaba, who had won the competition even at the 2014 and 2016 Indoor Games, in Sopot and Portland, respectively.

(The reporter is in Birmingham as part of the Young Reporter’s programme organised by AIPS in collaboration with the IAAF.)

First Published: Mar 02, 2018 16:33 IST