Dynamic duo make high jump final
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Aug 14, 2013
MOSCOW, Russia – For the second time in the history of the track and field world championships, two Bahamians are into the final of the men’s high jump.
It happened two years ago in Daegu, South Korea when Trevor Barry was able to break through and win the country’s only medal at those championships, and former world champion Donald Thomas finished 11th. Now, it has happened for the second consecutive world championships as Thomas cleared a height of 2.29 meters (m) – 7’ 6” – to advance early yesterday morning, and youngster Ryan Ingraham followed suit with a clearance of 2.26m (7’ 5”) to get through. The men’s high jump final of these 14th International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships will be held on Thursday at 7 p.m. here in Moscow, Russia, 11 a.m. back in The Bahamas.
Only eight jumpers cleared the 2.29m height yesterday, and Thomas was one of them. He actually struggled at the 2.26m height, going through on his third attempt, but he had little difficulty at the 2.29m height as he went over the bar on his first attempt.
The 2007 Osaka World Champion in the event said that he has a tendency to focus more on the higher attempts. He was clean up until the 2.26 height when he dropped the bar on his first two attempts. The clearance at 2.29 sealed his spot in Thursday’s final.
“Today, I felt good and well prepared,” said Thomas. “I didn’t know that I was going to jump 2.29, but thank God that I did. I just want to go out there and put my best foot forward for the final. I think that once I’m able to do that, everything should be okay.”
Thomas wasn’t the only former world champion struggling at the lower heights yesterday. Defending champion Jesse Williams, of the United States, bowed out of the competition at 2.22m (7’ 3-1/4”). It took three attempts for him to clear that height, and then he failed on all three attempts at 2.26m.
Thomas and Ryan will still have to deal with world leader, Bohdan Bondarenko, of the Ukraine, in the final, as well as a number of other top flight jumpers. At 2.41m (7’ 10-3/4”), Bondarenko is tied as the third best jumper in the history of the event, and attempted to break Cuban Javier Sotomayor’s world record twice this year.
“I don’t ever focus on the other competitors. With the high jump it’s like only you and your coach matters. I don’t even know who is in the final,” said Thomas yesterday. “My job is to go out there and focus on what I have to do.”
As for Ingraham joining him in the final, Thomas said that he is happy for the 19-year-old youngster, and looks forward to a good showing between both of them in the final.
“Ryan is a good dude and he’s a good jumper. He’s young and up-and-coming, so I’m just hoping that he can get some good exposure, and together we can make The Bahamas proud,” said Thomas. “This is the first time that I actually get to spend time with Ryan and train together with him and his coach James (Rolle). It’s good to see both of us into the final. That’s what we were talking about all week. We’re just going to continue to support each other and take it from there.”
The fearless Ingraham said he’s looking to take it a step further, and hopefully get in the top five.
“There are some good jumpers out there, but I feel like I am able to compete with them. For me, it’s fun. I think that I can go at least top five or even top three,” he said. “My back was a lil tight tonight and that might have caused me a bit, so once I get a massage and make a slight adjustment, I should be okay. The high jump is an open event. Anyone can jump bad or good on any given day. You just have to bring your ‘A’ game and be ready to jump.”
Ingraham was clean up until the 2.29 height, allowing him to get into the final as one of the 12 best jumpers in the world, based on number of knockdowns. A total of 10 jumpers cleared the 2.26m height, but only four got into the final to join the eight who cleared 2.29m.
Ingraham appeared to clip the bar with his back leg on two of the three attempts at 2.29. Be that as it may, both he and Thomas are into the final now, and they’re certainly looking forward to making their appearance felt.