There were no records set in the high jump on Sunday with the bar not going higher than 2.36m, but the medals were decided in an unprecedented, as far as the World Championships were concerned, three-way jump off won by Canada’s Derek Drouin of St. Clair Township.
Torrential rain came down in the afternoon ahead of the final session of the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 but, at least, the rain stopped just ahead of the start of the competition and the apron dried quickly and didn’t seem to have any lasting effect on the majority of the 14 men in the final.
The competition started in earnest when the bar was raised to 2.33m with seven jumpers still in the hunt.
It proved to be a height too far for Czech Republic’s 2004 Olympic Games bronze medallist Jaroslav Baba and Russia’s 2015 European indoor champion Daniil Tsyplakov, while The Bahamas’ 2007 world champion Donald Thomas decided to gamble and pass after taking two attempts at 2.29m.
However, Canada’s 2012 Olympic and 2013 world championships bronze medallist Derek Drouin, who is from Corunna, the home favourite Zhang Guowei and Ukraine’s defending champion Bogdan Bondarenko continued their flawless competition by going clear at the first time of asking.
Mutaz Essa Barshim also got over this height on his first attempt but, having taken two attempts to clear 2.29m, Qatar’s 2014 world indoor champion was lagging behind the leading trio on countback.
At 2.36m, the tension started to show with everyone.
None of the five managed to clear the bar on any of their three attempts – although all of them apart from Thomas have jumped higher this year – but Bondarenko did come close though on his first and third attempts, just bringing it down with his heels on both occasions.
With Barshim and Thomas having failures earlier in the competition, after 15 successive failed attempts, this pair were eliminated and it was left to Drouin, Zhang and Bondarenko to have a fourth attempt at 2.36m in a sudden death jump-off.
Drouin had a very close jump, just skimming the bar with his backside although it was enough to bring the bar down, but he lived to fight another day when his two rivals also failed, Zhang’s efforts getting successively worse and worse despite the crowd raucously urging him on as the pressure of expectation seemed to start to tell.
The bar then dropped to 2.34m and Drouin, jumping first, flew straight over.
The Canadian had a nail-biting couple of minutes as first Bondarenko and then Zhang brought the bar down. He then visibly sighed with relief and broke into a big smile before draping a flag around his shoulder, the standard victory ritual for gold medallists.
Drouin improved from bronze in 2013 to gold, becoming the Canada’s first IAAF world champion in this event, although Duncan McNaughton famously won the 1932 Olympic title, while Bondarenko and Zhang shared second place.
– Press release from the IAAF
– Photo credit: IAAF