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Thomas finally qualifies for World Championships

Former world champion cleared qualifying height in Tallahassee; will be in Moscow
  • Donald Thomas cleared 2.31m (7’ 6-3/4”) in Tallahassee, Florida, to qualify for the Moscow World Championships. He has been added to the Bahamian team that will travel to the championships. FILE

Guardian Sports Editor

Published: Jul 23, 2013

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It’s been a long and trying season for former World Champion Donald Thomas, but it appears to be coming together at exactly the right time.

Thomas finally cleared the automatic qualifying height for the Moscow World Championships, maneuvering over the bar at a height of 2.31 meters (m) - 7’ 6-3/4”, at the Ernie Sims Track Invitational in Tallahassee, Florida. The IAAF sanctioned meet was held on the campus of Florida State University (FSU) in the Floridian capital.

Thomas’ jump, a season’s best, matches the ‘A’ qualifying standard for the world championships, and is just four centimeters below his personal best clearance of 2.35m (7’ 8-1/2”) which got him the gold medal in Osaka, Japan, in 2007. Thomas was unavailable for comment yesterday, but Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ (BAAA) President Mike Sands said that he is not surprised given the talent and potential of the former world champion.

“What you would notice is that a lot of our athletes are performing at their best late in the season, and that is simply because they are experienced enough to know when they need to do peak performances, and also they are getting healthier as the season progresses,” said Sands. “After we named the team for the world championships, we had agreed that if any athlete reaches the qualifying standards before the deadline, they would automatically be added to the team. The same is the case for the men’s 4x100m team. They met the standard and ran a national record in the process, so of course they will be added to the world championships team as well.”

The 14th International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships is set for August 10-18, in Moscow, Russia.

Thomas, 29, has been slowed ever since rolling his ankle at the Daegu World Championships two years ago. He cleared just 2.20m (7’ 2-1/2”) at those championships, failing on all three attempts at 2.25m (7’ 4-1/2”). At last year’s London Olympics, both Thomas and Daegu bronze medalist Trevor Barry, of The Bahamas, bowed out of the competition at 2.26m (7’ 5”). They both failed to make the final. Barry, who is out of these world championships with an injury, had his personal best clearance of 2.32m (7’ 7-1/4”) in Daegu.

As for Thomas, it appears to be coming together at exactly the right time. His clearance in Tallahassee was his best height in almost two years – since he did 2.32m for the gold medal at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

He still has a lot of work to do, if he is to grace the podium in Moscow though. A total of 15 other jumpers have either matched or surpassed the 2.31m height this year. The world lead is 2.41m (7’ 10-3/4”) by Bohdan Bondarenko, of the Ukraine - a height that has him tied as the third best jumper of all-time.

Two other Bahamian high jumpers have cleared the ‘B’ qualifying height for the world championships this year, but according to IAAF rules, only one could join Thomas in competition in Moscow. That one is Ryan Ingraham, who has already been named to the team. Ingraham, 19, has a personal best clearance of 2.30m (7’ 6-1/2”) this year. The other Bahamian high jumper, Jamal Wilson, matched the ‘B’ standard for the world championships, 2.28m (7’ 5-3/4”), at the Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational in April.


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