BEIJING (Reuters) - Canada’s Derek Drouin won the men’s high jump gold medal with a 2.34-metre clearance in a sudden-death finale at the world championships on Sunday.
Drouin went into a jump-off with defending champion Bogdan Bondarenko of Ukraine and China’s Zhang Guowei after all three had identical cards -- no failures up to 2.33 meters but none able to clear 2.36.
After the trio had failed at 2.36 for a fourth time, the bar was lowered to 2.34.
The 25-year-old Drouin, a bronze medalist at the 2013 world championships, went first and cleared it before Bondarenko and Zhang both failed, sharing the silver medal.
The only other man to clear 2.33 meters was Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim, the world leader and pre-championship favorite, but a failure with his first attempt at 2.29m meant that he did not make it into the jump-off and finished fourth.
After becoming Canada’s first ever men’s high jump world champion, Drouin said, ”This is very exciting. It is really beautiful to own this title now.
”After my victory at the PanAm Games I did some good meetings, so I knew I was in good shape and this gave me a lot of confidence. I hoped to make a medal, but hoping for and making it actually happen are two different things.
“I was first on the line-up, that was good to keep the pressure on the field.”
Despite being injured a month ago, Bondarenko was still upset at losing his world title so narrowly. “If somebody told me one month ago that I would get silver at the world championships, I would have been happy,” he said.
“I was not in shape at the time and had to fight some injury but today it does not feel like that; I feel upset.”
On a silver-lined final session for the home fans who had witnessed their 4x100m men’s relay team receive their silver medals earlier and seen Lyu Huihui winning silver in the women’s javelin in the Bird’s Nest, Zhang apologized for not going one place better: “Today I was not able to give my very best performance, but I tried. I came second, which is also a good result,” he said.
“I have worked very hard and put in so much effort and it has paid off.”
Reporting by Steven Downes, editing by Ed Osmond/Mitch Phillips