Olympic and world champion Mariya Lasitskene (ANA) and current world leader Emily Borthwick (GBR) will go head-to-head in the women’s high jump at the Müller Indoor Grand Prix Birmingham – a World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting – at the Utilita Arena on 19 February.
Lasitskene, the reigning world indoor champion, has an indoor best of 2.05m. The 29-year-old has dominated the high jump in recent years and was unbeaten indoors in 2021. She is a three-time winner of the World Athletics Championships (2015, 2017 and 2019) and is the 2018 European champion.
“I have two global titles to defend in 2022 and this competition is great preparation for the first of those, the World Indoor Championships,” she said. “I won the 2018 world indoor title at this venue and the noise from the crowd was incredible. We’ve had to compete in silence at many events over the last two years and I’m looking forward to returning to a packed arena in Birmingham.”
Tokyo Olympian Borthwick, who defeated Lasitskene outdoors at the Müller Grand Prix Gateshead in May last year, has launched herself into the 2022 season with style. The Wigan & District athlete, who was eighth in the European Indoor Championships 12 months ago, tied for first at the World Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Karlsruhe with an indoor PB – at the time – of 1.91m.
A rising star of British athletics, she continued her excellent start to the season by improving her then-world lead with a PB height of 1.95m at the prestigious Hustopeče high jump meeting, a World Indoor Tour Bronze event, on 5 February. Her incredible progression has seen her add 11cm to her lifetime best since 2020.
“I’m super-excited to compete against one of the greatest high jumpers of all time at the Müller Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham,” said the 24-year-old. “I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year.
“My performances so far have given me huge confidence as I continue to build towards the UK Athletics Indoor Championships and the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March, and I look forward to seeing how much further I can push myself and how much higher I can jump.”
The Müller Indoor Grand Prix is the fifth meeting of the 2022 World Athletics Indoor Tour (Gold). There are seven Gold level meetings across the series which started with Karlsruhe on 28 January and concludes in Madrid on 2 March.
Throughout the series, each athlete’s best three results will count towards their overall point score. The athlete with the most points in each scoring discipline at the end of the tour will be declared the winner and will be awarded a USD$10,000 bonus along with a wild card entry for the World Athletics Indoor Championships Belgrade (March 2022).