The organizers confirmed that the hall is technically ready.
The organizers of the jubilee 30th year of the Banskobystrická latka (BBL) high jump event experience hectic moments the day before the start of the event.
Because of an injured back, the Qatari jumper and Tokyo Olympic champion Mutaz Esa Baršim refused to participate at the last minute. He is also the record holder of the meeting with a power of 240 cm and currently has no competition in the world.
“I regret to announce that I will not be able to jump at the Banskobystrica bar this year. The reason is my back injury. I’ve been trying to get better, but I’m currently undergoing treatment in Munich. The doctors told me I couldn’t compete. Even the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow are far away at the moment. I regret it all the more because the Banskobystrica latka should have been my only start and I have only the best memories of this event,” explained Barším.
BBL manager Alfons Juck commented on the non-participation of the best high-flyer in the world at Monday’s (February 12) press briefing.
“Until the last moment, we discussed the possibility of whether the doctors would allow Barshim to arrive. He considered various options, including a private jet to a closer airport, but unfortunately that turned out to be unrealistic. He was treated at a clinic where top athletes go. It is impossible for him to jump now, he must be recovering from his injury. He shouldn’t even start at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow.”
High lifter Sanghyeok Woo wants to break his personal record
However, the Banskobystrica latka will not lose Baršim’s main competitor. He is the Korean high jumper Sanghyeok Woo, who already started the indoor season in the Czech Hustopečy with a performance of 233 cm.
In Banská Bystrica, this Asian high-flyer revealed that he has higher ambitions: “After the first start, I feel great. I would like to break 237 cm, which would be my personal record. If it were possible, I would try the 240 cm bar. Of course I want to win, I’m well prepared and I can’t wait to jump here in this hall. It would be more interesting with Barshim because I get more out of myself when I compete with him. I believe that I will meet him at the Olympics in Paris, and he won gold there,” the Korean added.
Among the women, Patterson will be the favorite
In the women’s competition, the biggest favorite to win, Australian Eleanor Patterson will appear. She has not jumped yet this year, it will be her first start in the indoor season.
“I feel good, I can’t wait for the first start. I’m a little more nervous, but where better to start the indoor season than in Banská Bystrica? I’m really looking forward. I believe that I will get in competitive shape before the Olympics and achieve performances that will be a promise for the summer season, said Patterson.
“I’m glad that I’m not injured, I’ve had quality preparation and training, I’m mainly focusing on myself. I believe that I will be able to perform well on the Banskobystrica bar. I would like to jump at least 197 cm, but it can also be two meters. I believe that close contact with the audience will help me. It’s like one big party here, I want to enjoy it,” said Patterson.
The organizers want as many performances as possible over 230 cm in the men’s category and over 195 cm in the women’s category. “We know that Korean Woo has much higher ambitions, so let’s be surprised. For women, we know that they would like to get closer to two meters. However, this year will also be special with the participation of several legends. Javier Sotomayor from Cuba will come as the guest of honor,” added Juck for TASR.
Athletes will be cheered on by a sold-out hall
The Banskobystrica hall in Štiavničky is already sold out. According to BBL director Ľubomír Rošek, the event is also prepared from a technical point of view.
“The Vyskar sector is 100% ready, complying with the rules of World Athletics. There is no lack of certification, so even a world record can be jumped in the Banská Bystrica hall. The surface is classic, but there are parquet floors underneath, so it can easily be more flexible than an ordinary solid floor. It suits some athletes, and the atmosphere here is also fascinating. I believe that these factors will push the high performers to perform well.”