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    Karalis clears world indoor U20 record of 5.78m at Greek Indoor Championships

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    • Karalis clears world indoor U20 record of 5.78m at Greek Indoor Championships

    Reigning European U18 champion Emmanouil Karalis from Greece started his celebration as he was about to hit the mat and with every good reason – he had just broken the world indoor U20 pole vault record.

    His performance came on a memorable weekend for the event when France’s Renaud Lavillenie moved to the top of the world lists at the Perche Elite Tour in Rouen on Saturday (10) as Karalis’ teammate Ekaterini Stefanidi also triumphed again.

    It was in Pireas on Sunday on the second day of the Greek Indoor Championships that Karalis produced his standout performance and he lapped up every second of it as he cleared 5.78m, a lifetime best by eight centimetres.

    Shining bright in his orange top, Karalis stretched both arms out and ran to his entourage in the crowd, his mouth stretched wide open with delight at his superb achievement before attempting a Greek senior record of 5.86m.

    Karalis surpassed the official mark of 5.75m set by Sweden’s Armand Duplantis last year. Duplantis also cleared 5.82m last March but that mark was not ratified as a world indoor U20 record and his 5.83m clearance last month was also disallowed for record purposes.

    Eleventh at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade last March, Karalis has now achieved a real landmark in his young career as he also broke the outright national U20 record of 5.75m held by former world indoor champion Konstadínos Filippidis.

    Karalis also secured the qualifying mark for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham from 1-4 March.

    Maria Belibasaki achieved an excellent double at the Greek Indoor Championships with three notable performances across the programme. After clocking an outright lifetime best of 52.28 on her indoor debut in the 400m heats, Belibasaki won the final on the same day in 52.62 before winning the 200m the following day in 23.02.

    Olympic finalist Milan Trajkovic won the 60m hurdles in a Cypriot record of 7.55.

    Lavillenie clears 5.90m in Rouen

    In front of 5000 fans in Rouen on Saturday, Lavillenie warmed up for the defence of his world indoor title in Birmingham by sharing the world lead - and victory - with Brazil’s Olympic champion Thiago Braz as they both reached 5.90m.

    Having missed out on the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade last March with injury, Lavillenie will be seeking a third world indoor title in Birmingham. After clearing 5.90m, Lavillenie had two attempts at 5.95m - and one at 6.00m - while Braz also had three unsuccessful attempts at 6.00m.

    After injury plagued 2017 season, both Lavillenie and Braz are returning to top form with the next major global championships just around the corner in Birmingham.

    Two days after clearing 5.85m in Madrid, Konstadinos Filippidis was third with 5.70m while world decathlon champion Kevin Mayer delivered another superlative performance, adding 20 centimetres to his personal best with a 5.60m clearance on the day of his 26th birthday.

    Mayer, who is targeting heptathlon glory in Birmingham next month, was ecstatic with his evening’s work and Lavillenie was the first to go over to his teammate to congratulate him.

    In the women’s competition, Ekaterini Stefanidi completed an unbeaten twelve months by clearing a meeting record of 4.72m followed by a season's best of 4.82m before attempting a would-be world-leading mark and Greek record of 4.92m.

    Former European indoor champion Holly Bradshaw was second on her season’s opener with 4.60m.

    Former world champion Pawel Wojciechowski defeated a fine field including reigning world champion Sam Kendricks on home soil in Szczecin on Sunday (11). Wojciechowski cleared 5.78m on his first attempt to defeat another former world champion Shawn Barber on countback with reigning European indoor champion Piotr Lisek third with 5.71m.

    Kendricks had to settle for fourth on countback at 5.71m, the first time he's finished lower than third in a competition since 2015.

    O’Hare claims another big win on the boards

    After his fine win at the Wanamaker Mile in New York, Great Britain’s Chris O’Hare was this time in record-breaking form at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston, an IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting, on Saturday (10)

    With Birmingham on the horizon and the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow just a little over twelve months away, O’Hare defeated British teammate and fellow Scot Jake Wightman over 1500m by four-tenths to win in 3:37.03, breaking his previous best time of 3:37.25.

    It was also a European-leading mark for O’Hare, who is heading towards Birmingham as a real medal contender. They are due to clash again next weekend at the British Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

    Laura Muir is due to contest the 3000m next weekend and as she heads into the business end of her winter season, the double European indoor champion won the 1500m at the Scottish University Championships in Glasgow on Saturday in a solo 4:05.37.

    Klucinova scares Czech pentathlon record

    Eliska Klucinova missed out by just 24 points on breaking her Czech pentathlon record as she won at the national championships with 4663 points in Prague, beating Katerina Cachova (4464 points) and Slovakia’s Lucia Vadlejch with (4320 points).

    Klucinova’s day started with a 8.51 personal best in the 60m hurdles followed by 1.84m in the high jump, 14.52m in the shot put, 6.26m in the long jump and 2.17.34 for the 800m.

    In the heptathlon, former European U20 decathlon champion Jan Dolezal defeated Adam Sebastian Helcelet, 6021 to 5951 points.

    Hungary's Xenia Kriszan also impressed at her domestic championships with a score of 4583 points (8.39 60m hurdles, 1.79m high jump, 14.21m shot put, 6.14m long jump, 2:16.28 800m) to claim the pentathlon title.