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.
Asked if he thought the New York showdown was the greatest high jump competition, Barshim said: “I don’t think, I know so.”
In contrast, Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake, on the comeback trail after not being able to try and defend his world championship 100 meters title last year because of a hamstring injury, was disappointed by his showing.
Blake blamed a poor start for his second-place finish behind his countryman Nesta Carter in the men’s 100m sprint. Carter clocked 10.09 against a strong headwind with Blake timing 10.21.
“I just need to work on my start,” said Blake, running his third 100m of the season. “I can not make mistakes like that at these big meets.”
In other results, reigning world, world indoor and Olympic champion David Rudisha of Kenya won the men’s 800 meters in 1:44.63 as he rounds into form after missing most of last season with a knee injury.
Warren Weir of Jamaica, the Olympic bronze medallist and world silver medallist, ran a season’s best 19.82 seconds to win the 200 meters over compatriot Nickel Ashmeade.
In women’s events in the sixth stop of the Diamond League series, 2011 world champion pole vaulter Fabiana Murer of Brazil cleared a year’s best 4.80 meters to top Olympic champion Jenn Suhr of the United States.
Suhr, who is continuing to adjust to a new pole, and Cuba’s Yarisley Silva, the Olympic silver medallist, both cleared 4.70.
“I’m very happy. I’m fit and healthy. Not since 2011 have I cleared 4.80,” said Murer, who jumped 4.85 in Daegu. “I always had some problems, some small injuries.”
The most dominant athlete at the meet extended a remarkable streak as New Zealand’s world and Olympic champion Valerie Adams registered her 50th consecutive victory in the women’s shot put.
Adams won with a throw of 19.68 meters, 17 centimetres better American Michelle Carter.
Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Julian Linden