New British sensation Holly Bleasdale is engaging a second joust with Yelena Isinbayeva for the right to the women’s pole vault summit in the skies of Stockholm tonight after the Russian ground out a narrow victory on countback in their opening encounter in Bydgoszcz.

The Briton has shown sound consistency to string together two straight wins on home soil over identical heights of 4.70m since while her great rival has risen higher over a winning SB of 4.81m in Lievin, France, and remains unbeaten so far this term.

With the World Indoor Championships just three  weeks away, the tie shapes a weighty dress rehearsal and Bleasdale will be eyeing to restore parity and a substantial mental boost before their crucial indoor showdown. So can she make it tonight or Isinbayeva will extend her lead to two up in their encounters?

Former world champion Anna Rogowska (POL) will be lurking behind poised to pounce on any potential opening that could appear, adding quality to the affair, while Cuban Yarisley Silva and also Pole Monica Pyrek are other names to note among the field.

Apart from the women’s pole vault, the third act of the Liu Xiang vs Dayron Robles saga in the men’s sprint hurdles also takes centre stage in the Swedish arena of the XL Galan although the Chinese former Olympic champion should extend his unbeaten run this season on current form all things equal.

The limelight will be equally on awesome Anna Chicherova (RUS) who is nonchalantly pulling together non-stop clearances over 2m in the high jump on the circuit, with Olympic champion Tia Hellebaut (BE) also falling in.

Joe Thomas is pitted against a top field that involves flying Pole Adam Kszczot, a hot favourite in fearsome form of late, Mohammed Aman (ETH), the youngster who brought David Rudisha‘s unbeaten streak to a halt last summer, European champion Marcin Lewandowski (POL) and Kenyan Boaz Lalang, looking for some good scalps and hopefully get drawn into the 1:45 region fresh from a 1:46.35 PB last weekend.

Andie Osagie goes in the B race where he ought to dominate with aplomb while Helen Clitheroe is out for a quality sharpener against the likes of Morgan Uceny, Anna Pierce (USA) and Btissam Lakhouad (MAR) in the 1500m in view of Istanbul. Hannah England was also due to compete over the distance but has been a late withdrawal.

Shana Cox will be hoping to draw inside 52 secs in a nearly all-British women’s B 400m, with fast-improving Emily Diamond and Shelayna Oskan-Clarke late additions, and Yamile Aldama will be targeting a further SB is in a good quality women’s triple jump.

Last, but not least in any way, JJ Jegede is out in a stand or fall attempt to grab a last ditch qualifier for Istanbul and top out an excellent indoor campaing so far, having landed at a big equal total best of 8.04m to win in Birmingham last Saturday. His mission isn’t easy by any means, though, as he needs at least 8.15m to pull his task off.

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