BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Danil Lysenko reversed his world outdoors result with Mutaz Essa Barshim by winning their world indoors high jump duel on his last leap on Thursday.
In contrast, Mariya Lasitskene blew away the field in the women’s event.
Lysenko, an authorized neutral athlete, and Barshim of Qatar cleared three heights on their first attempts and were the only two to attempt 2.36 meters.
Barshim, the IAAF male athlete of 2017, and Lysenko failed at their first two attempts. Barshim let out a roar before his third attempt but again failed. Lysenko asked for quiet from the Arena Birmingham crowd and — after a tense wait — soared over.
“This is the most important result of my career,” the 20-year-old Lysenko said. “In London, it was tough. But here, it was really a pleasure to jump with these guys.
“This is unbelievable. Honestly, I did not expect to win and I did not think of it at all. I just tried to do my best.”
Lysenko lost to Barshima at the world championships in London last year.
“I wasn’t surprised Danil put in that jump,” Barshim said. “I was surprised that it took him until the third but it’s good we can have that kind of competition to push us to jump higher.”
Mateusz Przybylko of Germany was third, after failing to clear 2.33, along with Erik Kynard of the United States. Przybylko promised “a big party” after winning his first ever medal.
Lasitskene, also jumping as an authorized neutral athlete, cleared all the heights on her first attempts up to 2.01, by which time all her competitors had bowed out.
Lasitskene and Lysenko were on the list of Russians cleared by the IAAF to compete as neutrals after Russia was suspended for doping.
Defending champion Vashti Cunningham of the U.S. was second after failing at 1.96, along with Alessia Trost of Italy, who took bronze.
Not content with claiming a 38th successive victory, Lasitskene continued to jump on her own, clearing 2.01 on her second attempt before failing on all three attempts at 2.07, which would have been the second-highest indoor mark.
“Maybe it looked easy but it was not,” Lasitskene said.
“It is very hard for me to jump without any strong opponents. If there was a girl pushing me, I am sure it could have been even higher. Now, I have to wait for the next winter to show some high jumping indoors.”
In the first track event, Genzebe Dibaba claimed her third successive world indoor title in the 3,000 meters.
Dibaba of Ethiopia timed 8 minutes, 45 seconds, 0.05 seconds, to edge out Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands by 0.63.
Cheered on by the home crowd, British athlete Laura Muir produced a home-straight burst but missed out on silver by 0.1. Muir celebrated her first world medal. She’s the European indoors 1,500 and 3,000 champion.
All three medalists will compete in the 1,500.
Among upcoming highlights at the four-day competition is the 60-meter hurdles, where American women are expected to fill the podium on Saturday.
Sharika Nelvis, Kendra Harrison, and Christina Manning push each other to the limit on the track and each of them will be running for gold. Off the track, there’s no animosity.
“Everybody wants us to have some kind of thing going on,” Nelvis says. “I am perfectly fine with everybody that runs hurdles.”
Nelvis and Manning even share a room on the road, and they threaten to break Susanna Kallur’s 7.68 seconds world record set a decade ago.
One American who already has a world record is Christian Coleman. He recently shattered Maurice Greene’s 20-year-old world record of 6.39 in the men’s 60, shaving 0.05 seconds off.
In the same race, former U.S. champion Ronnie Baker finished with a personal best of 6.40. Also, China’s Su Bingtian is unbeaten this year.
Elsewhere, Brittney Reese will be trying to make history by winning her fourth world indoor title in the long jump on Sunday and her eighth world championship overall.
Reese’s rivals will be European indoor champion Ivana Spanovic of Serbia and Khaddi Sagnia of Sweden. Both have jumped further than the American this year.