Robbie Grabarz has staged a stunning opener to the his indoor campaign as he rose over a total PB of 2.29m at the first time of asking at the High Jump Gala in Birmingham, gaining the qualifying standard for the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul from the outset.

Grabarz sails over 2.29m at the first attempt

The NEB athlete pulled together a display of no equal in his career before as he maintained a clean sheet through 2.20 and 2.26m leading up to his new landmark and even narrowly failed to land clear of  the Olympic A qualifier of 2.31 at a single stroke. By the look of it, though, it should be only a matter of time before he does!

Last summer, he lost out to Tom Parsons and Martyn Bernard at 2.28m on countback, and on the World Championships in Deagu by extension, at the UK World Trials at the ‘Brum’ but now bounces back to hold an early firm grip on selection for the indoor equivalent in March – how fast things can shift!

Further, his blasting opener offers a vigorous response to the controversial downfall of high jumpers from the UK Athletics funding scheme only a year after Bernard clinched a surprise bronze at the Europeans in Barcelona, with Parsons making the final as well. For good measure, Germaine Mason also won silver in Beijing in 2008 to bolster up a good image of British high jump on the big stage.

Incidentally, Grabarz’s previous best stood at 2.28, attained in both the previous two seasons, while his new mark sees him sitting nicely as number three behind American Erik Kynard (2.31) in the early global rankings, first-but-one across Europe a mere cm down on Russian Aleksandr Shustov (2.30) in the process.

For that matter, he also moves a sole tenth in the total British all-time lists as he edges off John Holman, who set 2.28m indoors back in 1989.

Grabarz narrowly fails at 2.31

U23 Chris Baker came second over a PB of 2.20m, adding a solid 4cm to the good, for a nice start himself and David Smith was third at 2.16m.