Many of Europe’s top pole vaulters were in action on Tuesday night with the Czech Republic’s 2012 European champion Jirina Svobodova clearing a national record of 4.76m on home soil in Plzen.
In a special pole vault competition in the local stadium, and with the record having been in her sights since 2010, Svobodova finally improved the 4.75m mark of Katerina Badurova (now Janku) that had been on the books since 2007.
The record was partial compensation for her missing out on a medal at both of this year’s big championships. She finished fourth at the European Athletics Indoor Championships back in March and eighth at the IAAF World Championships last month.
Svobodova went over 4.35m, 4.55m and then 4.71m first time before clearing 4.76m with her second attempt before unsuccessfully trying 4.81m.
“I had great feelings. Everything came together well. The conditions, jumping area, spectators; I enjoyed the competition and that is mainly the reason why I jumped the record. Actually, two attempts at 4.81 were not bad at all either,” she said afterwards.
The performance moves her up to ninth on the European all-time list.
Germany’s Björn Otto clearly enjoys competing in the German town of Aachen.
The London 2012 Olympic Games and 2012 European Athletics Championships silver medallist cleared a personal best of 6.01m there 12 months ago and although he couldn’t go quite as high this year, he won the ‘Domspringen’ event on Tuesday with 5.80m.before having some good tries at 5.92m in front of an estimated 5000 spectators.
Remarkably, this was Otto’s 19th competition of the summer and he also 12 times indoors during the winter, including finishing second at the European Athletics Indoor Championships.
Germany’s Malte Mohr was second with 5.73m with another German, Karsten Dilla, and Italy’s former world champion Giuseppe Gibilisco equal third with 5.63m.
World champion Raphael Holzdeppe, a nominee for the 2013 European Athlete of the Year, was a special guest honour at the event although he could not compete and has ended his season due to a slight injury sustained at the weekend.