Sweden's Emma Green won her first national high jump title on Saturday in Malmö, jumping 1,98m for the sixth-best mark in the world this season.
Green improved her personal best indoors by two centimetres, and jumped one centimetre higher than her lifetime best of 1,97m set at the 2005 IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, where she took home the bronze medal.
Green spoke with Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet following her victory, stating that she had been stable at just about the 1,90m - and a bit higher, so her winning mark on Saturday was finally worth the wait.
"I've now taken a step toward higher heights," she said.
Green had a great third-attempt at 2,00m, and, with a few minor adjustments and another day such as this where she was beaming with confidence, Green may break through that dream barrier.
Green's competition had bowed out by the time Green entered the competition at 1,83m - a height Green cleared on her first attempt. She continued first-attempt clearances through to her season's best height of 1,95m.
Green's first attempt at her new personal best was marginally good, but she found the bar on her second and cleared her lifetime best. She then had the bar raised to 2,00m, where she missed on her three attempts - including running under the bar on the first.
"This is the second time I've jumped at this height. It definitely felt that it is there and possible that I can clear it. Two metres is a dream barrier that one wants to clear - a big goal. It is perhaps a mental block, but also an inspirational goal."
Croat Blanka Vlasic, who has 20-meet win-streak and has cleared 2,00m 27 times in her career, has the highest mark in the world this season at 2,04m.
Vlasic has jumped injured the past two meets, however, and her participation in next month's IAAF World Indoor Championships in Valencia, Spain, is not a clear certainty.
Green's exposure to the magical barrier puts behind her a tumultuous past two seasons in which the 23-year-old, who is trained by her live-in boyfriend Yannick Tregaro, went from an immediate star to an athlete who appeared to have lost her confidence against the best in the world.
Green placed a surprising third in the world outdoor championships three years ago, knocking Russia's Anna Chicherova, who'd won the European Indoor title earlier that spring, into fourth.
Green was spared the limelight when Kajsa Bergqvist, returning from a nasty achilles injury, not only won the competition at 2,02m, but made three attempts at bettering Bulgarian Stefka Kostadinova's world outdoor record of 2,09m in the process.
Green was thrust partly into the spotlight, but needed time to mature both on and off the field - something she readily admits has been able to accomplish over the past two seasons.
"I feel as though I have matured as a high jumper and as a person. I have been more secure with everything around me which has nothing to do with the athletics field. I can now handle situations much better without them taking energy."
Green hopes to save her energy as she heads to Valencia in two weeks' time.
"My goal is to jump as high as possible," she said.
"Then we'll need to see how far it goes. It will take heights in excess of two metres to take a medal - absolutely. But everyone who is there has a chance, and I feel as though I haven't gotten out what I have inside of myself."
"She has the physical capability to go higher than this," Tregaro stated to Göteborgs-Posten.
JOHAN WISSMAN SET BACK BY FEVER
Johan Wissman, who on Thursday ran to a superb 400m victory at the GE Galan in Globen here in Stockholm, was grounded at his home base on Saturday and forced to withdraw from the national championships final due to a high pulse and feverish conditions according to national athletics doctor Sverker Nilsson.
Wissman, who is a strong medal favourite in Valencia, was attempting to use this weekend's meet as a strong workout and make an appearance before his fans in Malmö - only an arm's length (65km/6,5 Swedish miles) of driving from his base in Helsingborg.
He ran the fastest time (48,10) of the three 400m semi-final winners, but began to feel symptoms of sickness when he finished the race and took a rest in an office away from the field.
Wissman was entered in both the 200m and 400m - two races which would have pressed his energy reserves without sickness this weekend, as he would have only had 40 minutes of rest between events.
No athlete has ever won the 200m/400m double at the Swedish Indoor Championships.
Wissman will instead rest and attempt to recover from a series of travel and competition meetings which have taxed his sleeping patterns among other things.
"We had thought that the Swedish Indoors would be a good training weekend," said Wissman's trainer, Kenth Olsson.
Wissman was the third of our major Swedish stars to suffer either injury or cold and be unable to compete this weekend.Sanna Kallur, who set the world indoor-record in the 60m hurdles two weeks ago in Germany, elected to pull out of the championships due to feeling tired and a bit sore in her hamstrings, and Carolina Klüft, who has been battling a disc injury in her back, was knocked out of the rest of her indoor season when she suffered an injur during warm-ups at the GE Galan on Thursday.
ALHAJI JENG IMPRESSES IN VAULT
Pole vaulter Alhaji Jeng won his first competition of the season on Saturday by clearing 5,71m. Jesper Fritz finished second by clearing 5,55m.
Jeng nearly added to his own Swedish national record of 5,80m set two years ago in Donetsk - site of Yelena Isinbayeva's world record of 4,95m last week - by making a very good third attempt at 5,81m.
Though unsuccessful, the 26-year-old showed he has the capacity to clear the 5,80m barrier again, and is showing fine form as he attempts to capture gold in Valencia following the silver medal he won at the 2006 World Indoor Championships in Moscow.
Jeng was hampered by being forced to wait it out when some of his competitors entered the competition more than a metre beneath his opening height.
CHRISTIAN OLSSON RE-INJURED
Reigning Olympic champion Christian Olsson suffered another blow to his attempt at fully recovering from his injuries, discovering on 26-January that he had a hemorrhage in the scare left after an operation he had on his hamstring in October 2007.
"It is a smaller hemorrhage," he's quoted as stating in Aftonbladet.
"With rehabilitation and massage, it shouldn't be any problem. It was a little setback, but since I'm not competing indoors, I hope that the plans still work out. I'm counting on doing my first outdoor competition at the end of May or the beginning of June."
Swedish Indoor Championships
Full Results here
K Höjdhopp Final lördag
|1||Emma Green||84||Örgryte IS||1,98|| |
|2||Frida Brolin||85||Råby-Rekarne FI||1,83|| |
|3||Jenny Isgren||81||Spårvägens FK||1,83|| |
|4||Angelica Johansson||83||Örgryte IS||1,80|| |
|5||Victoria Dronsfield||91||IF Göta||1,77|| |
|5||Anna Alexson||87||Spårvägens FK||1,77|| |
|7||Sofia Kask||89||IFK Lund||1,74|| |
|8||Helena Redborg||83||Turebergs FK||1,74|| |
|9||Sandra Asplund||85||IFK Umeå||1,74|| |
|10||Ellinore Hallin||87||IFK Växjö||1,70|| |
|10||Emma Ekdahl||89||IFK Lund||1,70|| |
|12||Sandra Liljegren||91||Vittsjö GIK||1,65|| |
|13||Karin Rydh||85||Malmö AI||1,65|| |
M Stavhopp Final lördag
|1||Alhaji Jeng||81||Örgryte IS||5,70|| |
|2||Jesper Fritz||85||Malmö AI||5,55|| |
|3||Gustaf Hultgren||83||Örgryte IS||5,23|| |
|4||Fredrik Skoglund||81||Spårvägens FK||5,07|| |
|5||Joakim Norman||84||Mölndals AIK||4,95|| |
|6||Pawel Szczyrba||81||KA 2 IF||4,95|| |
|7||Deniz Mahshid||80||Örgryte IS||4,83|| |
|8||Alexander Eriksson||79||Spårvägens FK||4,65|| |
|8||Rasmus Tjärndal||85||Ullevi FK||4,65|| |
|8||Marcus Lindh||76||KA 2 IF||4,65|| |
|11||Erik Thorstensson||89||Spårvägens FK||4,65|| |
|12||Sebastian Axell||91||IK Lerum FI||4,47|| |
|13||Rasmus Olofsson||84||Hässelby SK||4,47|| |
|14||Jonathan Eklund||88||Hammarby IF||4,47|
Foto credit: Emil Malmborg