Behind Renaud Lavillenie, who tops the European Athletics pole vault rankings for 2013, Germans Bjorn Otto and Raphael Holzdeppe should be the men challenging him for the gold medal in Göteborg next month.
They were the first three at last year’s Olympics Games and in the days leading towards the European Athletics Indoor Championships, it is all about maintaining fine form.
But from the 9th Pedro’s Cup indoor meeting in Bydgoszcz arrives a story of contrasting fortunes for the pair.
Otto and Holzdeppe won silver and bronze respectively in London and it was expected to be a battle of the two for the top spot in Poland.
With a best this year of 5.82m, Holzdeppe chose a shortened run-up to compete from and could not clear his opening mark of 5.50m.
It was probably just a bad night at the office for Holzdeppe, who was third in London on count back with 5.91m behind Otto with the same height as Lavillenie won gold with the Olympic record of 5.97m.
Here in Poland, as Holzdeppe uncharacteristically failed to progress, the stage then was left to Otto who delivered in style in what was his fifth competition in two weeks.
He triumphed with 5.70m, failed with a meeting record of 5.85m even though he was close on two of his attempts, and showed he remains in good shape for Sweden.
Otto said: “I had hoped to vault higher, but I was using new poles tonight and the experiment was successful. I am happy.”
He had started at the 5.50m which Holzdeppe failed at, he sailed over and then went immediately to 5.70m which no-one else could match.
Fellow German Malte Mohr also missed out after failing at 5.60m, 5.70m and 5.75m in a competition where Sweden’s Alhaji Jeng was second with 5.60m and Steve Lewis, of Britain, was third with 5.50m.
Holly Bleasdale, the Briton who shot to the top of the world rankings with 4.77m in Sheffield on Saturday, was nowhere near that in the women’s pole vault where victory was secured by Yarisley Silva, of Cuba, with a clearance of 4.60m.
Silva landed that mark on the second attempt before missing out at 4.70m while Bleasdale’s best was 4.50m, giving her second place on countback from Mary Saxer, of the USA.
But Bleasdale does not have to wait long to face Silva again as the pair clash in the British Athletics Grand Prix in Birmingham on Saturday.
In the shot put, Germany’s Ralf Bartels, the European champion, produced a best effort of 19.63m which brought him third place as Ryan Whiting, of the USA, showed why is the best in the world this year having won the World indoor title in Istanbul last March.
He delivered a shot put of 21.38m, just 21 centimetres outside his further mark of 2013, to give him victory ahead of fellow American Cory Martin who increased his indoor personal best to 20.98m.