DES MOINES, Iowa: Spain’s European champion Ruth Beitia won the women’s high jump at the Drake Relays on Saturday, establishing a season’s best by a centimetre, clearing 1.95m to beat Saint Lucia’s Levern Spencer (1.92m) into second place.
Third place went to Bulgaria’s Veneva Mateeva, a further three centimetres back of the Commonwealth bronze medallist.
The 34-year-old Spaniard took over the world lead from Brigetta Barrett of the USA, who had cleared 1.94 a month ago. She also pushed Spencer into third place, with her season-opening clearance of 1.93m from six weeks ago. Since then, Spencer has had several tries in the region of 1.95, but she has come up empty so far.
It’s an important mark, as it would all but guarantee her qualification to the World Championships in Moscow later this year. So far, she has met or exceeded the B standard for that meet three times, and her consistency at that level is good, but she may need to get the A standard.
She should have one more shot before embarking on the European circuit in a few weeks.