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Cunningham claims silver to open IAAF World Indoor Championships


BIRMINGHAM, England - At age 20, Vashti Cunningham became a two-time medalist for Team USATF in the women’s high jump on the opening night of 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships competition Thursday at Arena Birmingham.

The 2016 World Indoor champion, Cunningham (Las Vegas, Nevada) came away with silver in Birmingham to win back-to-back medals.

The field was whittled to six jumpers after only two heights, with Cunningham and Maria Lasitkene, an Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) from Russia, the only women to have first-attempt clearances. At 1.93m/6-4, Cunningham was over on her second try while Lasitkene, the 2014 World Indoor and 2015 World Outdoor champion, again had no misses. Cunningham could not find her form at 1.96m/6-5 and bowed out of the competition with the silver medal as Lasitkene went on to win at 2.01m/6-7. Inika McPherson (Port Arthur, Texas) cleared 1.84m/6-0.5 to finish tied for seventh.

In similar fashion, the men’s high jump stood at only five jumpers after two heights. Having cleared 2.20m/7-2.5 and 2.25m/7-4.5 on his first attempts, it took three tries for 2012 Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard (Toledo, Ohio) to get over 2.29m/7-6 as the field was cut to four. The 2016 World Indoor bronze medalist was unable to clear 2.33m/7-7.75 and finished fourth. 2017 World Outdoor silver medalist Danil Lysenko (ANA) from Russia outdueled World Outdoor gold medalist Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar to win the competition at 2.36m/7-8.75.

In the women’s 3,000 meters, 2018 USATF champion Shelby Houlihan (Sioux City, Iowa) ran in the middle of the pack as the race went from slow to tactical to a sprint over the final 1,000 meters. In the end, reigning champion and world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia held off Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands and Laura Muir of Great Britain to defend her title in 8:45.05. Houlihan moved up in the final lap to place fifth in 8:50.38, with Katie Mackey (Fort Collins, Colorado) eighth in 8:56.62.

Competition from Birmingham gets into full swing Friday, with a full day of qualifying rounds and heats as well as finals in the women’s shot put, pentathlon, women’s 60 meters and men’s long jump.

Click here for complete results from the World Indoor Championships.

Fans can watch the IAAF World Indoor Championships on NBCSN, along with live coverage on NBC Sports Gold.


NBCSN TV Schedule (All Times ET)

Friday, March 2: 8:30-10:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 3: 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 4: 4:00-6:00 p.m.


Join the conversation with USATF on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtags #IAAFworlds and #TeamUSATF.

Team USATF Medalist quotes

Vashti Cunningham, silver, women’s high jump: “I didn't really know what was going to happen here because anything can happen at a World Championships. But I was confident in myself. So it felt good coming into this competition with a 1.96m and 1.97m.

For video interviews with Team USATF medalists, follow USATF on Instagram @usatf. Additional video can be found on USATF.TV.

Team USATF Medal Table


Vashti Cunningham, HJ (1.93m/6-4), 3/1

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