Events & Meetings

Blech marks his birthday with 5.82m clearance for victory in Dortmund

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  • Blech marks his birthday with 5.82m clearance for victory in Dortmund

Germany’s Torben Blech celebrated his 28th birthday in style at the Indoor Meeting in Dortmund on Sunday (12) evening, a World Athletics Indoor Tour Bronze meeting.

Blech kept a strong field at bay with first-time clearances at 5.50m, 5.62m and 5.74m before putting the competition beyond the reach of his rivals with an excellent and significant third-time clearance at 5.82m.

That clearance equalled the automatic qualifying standard for the Istanbul 2023 European Athletics Indoor Championships from 2-5 March and corresponds to the second biggest vault of his career so far behind his lifetime best of 5.86m set during the 2021 indoor season.

Not that this came as a surprise to Blech. "I really gifted myself today. But the 5.82m was due a few weeks ago; physically it was easy. In the meantime, I've got all the pieces of the puzzle together that belong to pole vaulting," said Blech as quoted by

Blech defeated European silver medallist and teammate Bo Kanda Lita Baehre who finished second on countback ahead of Matt Ludwig from the United States with 5.72m.

In the long jump, 20-year-old Mikaelle Assani achieved a breakthrough victory. The European U20 bronze medallist sailed out to an outright lifetime best of 6.70m in the fourth round to win by a clear margin from the German-based Romanian Alina Rotaru-Kottman (6.46m).

Swiety-Ersetic opens her 2023 campaign with victory

While the Germans won the two field event competitions on the programme, the Poles dominated on the track. 

Former European 400m champion and relay stalwart Justyna Swiety-Ersetic opened her indoor campaign with victory in the 400m in 52.29 ahead of Great Britain’s Ama Pipi in 52.57. 

Teammate Katejan Duszynski, who ran the anchor leg of Poland’s gold medal-winning team in the mixed relay at the 2020 Olympic Games, followed suit by winning his race of the 400m in an indoor lifetime best of 46.59 although the overall victory narrowly went to Brit Ben Higgins who set the standard in the first 400m race with 46.55.

Dominik Kopec continued his excellent indoor form with victory in the 60m in 6.57 - 0.01 shy of his recently set lifetime best - and Martyna Galant continued the theme of Polish success with victory in the 1500m in 4:09.73. European 3000m steeplechase silver medallist Lea Mayer was fourth in 4:11.32.

Other highlights from Dortmund included Dutch teenager N’Ketia Seedo winning the 60m in 7.23 ahead of Imani Lansiquot in 7.25 - the Brit did produce the fastest time of the afternoon with 7.21 in the heats - and two-time world outdoor medallist Amel Tuka from Bosnia & Herzegovina winning the 800m in 1:47.02 from Tunisia’s Abdessalem Ayouni in 1:47.07.

The next event to be streamed live through the European Athletics YouTube channel is the prestigious Banskobystricka latka meeting in Banska Bystrica on Tuesday (14) which features Ukraine's Yaroslava Mahuchikh who cleared an outright national record of 2.06m at this meeting in 2021.

The stream for Banska Bystrica begins at 5.00pm CET. 

Steven Mills for European Athletics

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