Bondarenko, Barshim wage epic NY high jump duel

Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:05pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World champion Bodan Bondarenko of Ukraine beat world indoor champion Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar in an epic high jump duel at New York's Diamond League meet on Saturday.

Bondarenko and Barshim both cleared 2.42 meters - the first time two athletes jumped that high in the same competition - and both took shots at 2.46.

Both were unable to surpass the 21-year-old world record of 2.45 set by Cuba's Javier Sotomayor in 1993 but their leaps still marked the best height cleared since Sotomayor jumped 2.42 in 1994.

"This is good competition, fantastic...this is my best competition, I think," said Bondarenko, whose previous best jump was 2.41. "Amazing day."

Only Sotomayor has ever jumped higher and their thrilling duel captivated a crowd of 4,000 at Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island across the East River from Manhattan.

Bondarenko, who won on fewer misses, took three tries at the record height and Barshim tried twice, and predicted the record would soon fall as the jumpers stole the limelight from the sprinters.

"The high jump is in it's golden days now," said Barshim. "We are Super Men.

"I'm more convinced it will happen this season.   Continued...

Gold medallist Bohdan Bondarenko of Ukraine celebrates during the award ceremony for the men's high jump final at the IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow August 16, 2013.  REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov