Women’s jumps: LASITSKENE rides high for jump success
BERLIN - With just one defeat in 14 months, Russian Mariya LASITSKENE has been virtually unbeatable over the past two seasons. Not surprisingly then, the high jump world champion is one of the hottest tips for gold at the Berlin 2018 European Championships.
The 2014 European champion equalled her 2018 world-lead of 2.04m at the London Diamond League meeting in July, having reclaimed the world indoor title in Birmingham in March.
In Berlin, LASITSKENE will face Mirela DEMIREVA of Bulgaria, the only woman who has beaten her this year, and Elena VALLORTIGARA of Italy, who is second in the European rankings with a season's best of 2.02m.
Other contenders include Ukraine’s 20-year-old world silver medallist Yuliya LEVCHENKO, VALLORTIGARA’s compatriot Alessia TROST, Germany’s Marie-Laurence JUNGFLEISCH and Great Britain’s Morgan LAKE.
Ekaterini STEFANIDI (GRE) has also dominated her event over the past two years, winning Olympic, world and European pole vault titles. In Berlin, she will again be the woman to beat after recovering from an early-season injury to leap 4.82m in Lausanne last month.
Anzhelika SIDOROVA (ANA), the 2014 European champion, announced her own title ambitions when she equalled her personal best to win in Monaco with 4.85m and top the European standings.
Others in the hunt for medals include Britain’s former European indoor champion Holly BRADSHAW, 23-year-old Ninon GUILLON-ROMARIN, who has twice raised the French record this season, and Angelica BENGTSSON, who improved her Swedish record to 4.73m just a week ago.
British trio Lorraine UGEN, Shara PROCTOR and Jazmin SAWYERS are all targeting long jump medals, with UGEN in prime position for gold following her world-leading leap of 7.05m. PROCTOR and SAWYERS are not far behind with 6.91m and 6.86m respectively this year.
Germany's Malaika MIHAMBO and Serbia's defending champion Ivana SPANOVIC will be tough to beat if they can reach their season's best of 6.99m.
Ukraine's three-time European champion Olha SALADUKHA will again contend for triple jump medals at the age of 35 against Greek jumper Paraskevi PAPAHRISTOU, who leads the European list with 14.60m, and Spain's Ana PELETEIRO, whose season’s best is just 5cm shorter.
Portugal's defending champion Patricia MAMONA has a 2018 best of 14.19m, while two teenagers could threaten the more experienced athletes.
Seventeen-year-old Maria VICENTE (ESP) was the outstanding athlete at the European under-18 championships in Gyor, Hungary, last month when she won heptathlon and triple jump titles, while Bulgaria's Aleksandra NACHEVA took gold at the world under-20 championships in Tampere, Finland, with 14.18m. At 16, she is the youngest competitor in any event in Berlin.
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