Silver medal performance for Tina Šutej at European Championships
Toruń, Poland – Arkansas alum Tina Šutej earned a silver medal in the pole vault as she represented Slovenia during the European Indoor Championships on Saturday. Šutej equaled her season best height of 15 feet, 5 inches (4.70) to claim her first medal at this level of competition.
“This is my first major championships medal, I’m very satisfied,” noted Šutej, who was competing in her fifth European Indoor Championship and 17th season overall. “Regarding the result I did equal my season best, which is fine, but I believe that I’m ready to set a new national record.”
After clearing 15-5, with only two vaulters remaining in the competition, the next height was 15-7 (4.75), which is a half inch higher than the current Slovenia national indoor record Šutej holds at 15-6 ½ (4.74). She set that mark in February of 2020.
With two misses at 15-7, which equals Šutej’s outdoor national record, she passed to 15-9 (4.80) to move ahead of Angelica Moser of Switzerland, who made the 15-7 height on her second attempt.
“The goal here was to get a medal,” stated Šutej, who won a pair of NCAA Indoor titles as a Razorback and set a pair of collegiate records. “I didn’t expect this order, I thought Bradshaw or Zhuk, the Belarusian, would win not the Swiss vaulter Moser. She surprised everyone.”
Moser needed three attempts at 15-1 (4.60) and 15-3 (4.65), but then made 15-5 (4.70) on her first attempt. She then needed a pair of attempts at the winning height of 15-7 and opted not to make any further attempts after Šutej missed her lone try at 15-9.
Šutej opened with a first-attempt clearance at 14-3 ¼ (4.35), then needed second attempts to get over 14-7 ¼ (4.45) and 14-11 (4.55). She cleared 15-1 on her first try and needed two attempts to get over 15-3.
A clearance on her first try at 15-5 moved Šutej into the lead as that height eliminated four of the six remaining vaulters. Britain’s Holly Bradshaw and Iryna Zhuk of Belarus were both clean with no misses through previous attempts and tied for the bronze medal when both missed 15-5.
“The track is great,” noted Šutej. “I had some struggles at first, but when I warmed-up it was amazing. It was good that we didn’t have a qualification round, because I managed to get more rest for the finals.”
Over the course of 17 seasons of pole vault competitions, 32-year-old Šutej has qualified for two Olympic Games, five World Championships (four outdoor, one indoor), and five European Outdoor Championships. Previous silver medal efforts by Šutej included the 2006 World Junior Championships and 2011 World University Games.