Chicherova denies Vlasic title
Daegu - Russia's Anna Chicherova won the women's world high jump crown on Saturday, denying two-time defending champion Blanka Vlasic a unique title hattrick.
The competition came down to a battle between the two leading women this season, with the Russian winning on countback after the duo both finished with bests of 2.03m.
Chicherova started the competition in ominous form, clearing five consecutive heights with five jumps, including 2.03m at the first time of asking, before three failures at 2.05.
Vlasic needed two efforts at 2.00m and also at 2.03m to stay in the competition, putting her rival in pole position, before the Croat failed on the final jump of the competition with Chicherova unable to watch.
The two women battled it out alone after Italy's Antonietta Di Martino, who took bronze, failed to clear 2.03m.
"I was a bit nervous because I felt great after the qualification but in the morning I felt a bit sick, coughing," said Chicherova, who added that watching team-mate Maria Abakumova win the women's javelin on Friday had given her motivation.
"My first thought in the morning was: Why is everything OK until the crucial moment comes and then something always happens? I was angry about myself.
"That was the reason I could not make my best in the competition. My target was to improve my result from the Russian championships. I felt like I still have to carry a heavy load behind me while jumping.
"To be honest, I would have been very sad if I had not won the gold medal here."
Chicherova, 29, last month won the Russian national title by clearing a world lead mark of 2.07m, a statement that she was at last ready to emerge from Vlasic's shadow.
That 2.07m mark took her to equal third with Lyudmila Andonova on the all-time list behind Stefka Kostadinova (2.09m) and Vlasic (2.08m).
Vlasic, who had successively taken the Berlin 2009 world, Doha 2010 world indoor and Barcelona 2010 European titles, sustained a leg injury in the build-up to the championships.
And she said she had been hampered during the competition in Daegu.
"I did not make it easy for them today. I managed to improve my season best by 3cm, which is a good result for me.
"I'm satisfied, I'm happy. I was considering the decision whether to come or not before the worlds, I wasn't sure," she added. "But I jumped over 2m.
"The injury is working terribly. I'm feeling that every single muscle is killing me. Hopefully it won't get any worse.
"Today I gave 100 percent. I'm definitely motivated (for the London Olympics) if I can jump this with this injury."