Home hurdler Pia Skrzyszowska produced the stand-out performance at the Orlen Cup in Lodz as she won the 60m hurdles in 7.78, comfortably the fastest time of the season so far, on a day when Italy’s Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs opened his season with a 60m victory in 6.57.
For a few moments Skrzyszowska thought she had broken the 1980 Polish women’s 60m hurdles record of 7.77 set by Zofia Bielczyk as the clock registered 7.76 after her runaway win in this World Athletics Indoor Tour Bronze event - only to adjust itself to 7.78.
But that was enough to see her take over the lead in this year’s world from Alaysha Johnson of the United States, who ran 7.84 in Iowa on January 21.
Afterwards the 21-year-old European 100m hurdles champion, who has the exciting prospect of a first European Athletics Indoor Championship appearance next month, made clear the extent of her ambitions as she referenced the 2008 world record of 7.68 set by Sweden’s Susanna Kallur.
"I got out of the blocks slowly,” she said. “One more hundredth and it will be. The world record is 10 hundredths away - I'm not saying anything here."
Michelle Jenneke of Australia was two tenths of a second behind her in second place.
Jacobs, who made his international sprinting breakthrough by winning the European Athletics indoor 60m title two years ago in Torun and who added the world indoor title last year, had won his heat easily in 6.61.
He was followed home by Poland’s Dominik Kopec in 6.60 and Jerod Elcock of Trinidad and Tobago in 6.63.
In the women’s 60m home sprinter Ewa Swoboda, who will seek a second European indoor title in Istanbul next month following her triumph in 2019, produced another encouraging victory, although it required a photo-finish to give her the verdict after she and Italy’s Zaynab Dosso had clocked 7.14sec.
Swoboda, who is currently joint-fourth in this season’s world rankings with 7.09, had shown she meant business with a heat victory in 7.15.
World bronze medallist Ernest Obiena of the Philippines won the men’s pole vault with 5.77m ahead of double world champion Sam Kendricks of the United States and Poland’s Piotr Lisek, respectively second and third on 5.70m.
Home shot putter Tomas Stanek, whose effort of 21.69m in Kladno on January 28 heads this year’s world list, required less to win on the day, throwing a best of 20.85m to beat Mesud Pezer of Bosnia and Hercegovina by 10 centimetres.
Cuba’s Roger Iribarne, winner over 60m hurdles in 7.54sec in Thursday’s Czech Indoor Gala, earned another victory, this time in 7.55, from home hurdler Jacob Szymanski, who clocked 7.59, one place and one hundredth of a second ahead of Milan Trajkovic of Cyprus.
Poland’s Norbert Kobielski earned a notable men’s high jump victory as his best of 2.23m was too much for Italy’s Marco Fassinotti – a 2.34m indoor jumper – who was second with 2.20m, and Ukraine’s world bronze medallist Andriy Protsenko, who could only clear 2.15m.
Full results here.