One of two field events finals on the sixth and last competition day at the IAAF World Junior Championships, the men’s High Jump proved a superb competition with a World Junior leading performance of 2.26 for gold medal winner Bohdan Bondarenko of the Ukraine and the third medal of the week for Poland courtesy of Sylwester Bednarek.
With 14 athletes having advanced past Friday’s qualification round, today’s final started quietly as only nine were still in contention at 2.17, the first major casualty being Egypt’s Karim Samir Lofty, Co- World junior leader, and disappointing last with 2.08, 17 centimetres off his personal best.
With three more athletes eliminated at that height and then another three at 2.21, only three jumpers remained in contention. We had the medallists we only needed the order.
As the bar moved up to 2.24, Bondarenko, Bednarek and Spain’s Miguel Angel Sancho were tied in first all three athletes having a clear sheet up until 2.17 and a failure at 2.21.
Bondarenko and Bednarek both sailed over the bar with their first try, the Polish 19-year-old who was fourth in Marrakech 2005 and Beijing 2006 obviously receiving the loudest cheer from the crowd.
However, Sancho had three failures and had to be content with bronze one year after finishing just outside the medals in Ostrava's World Youth Championships.
Leading the World junior lists at 2.25, Bondarenko went one centimetre higher with a clean first time clearance at 2.26. The pressure was now on Bednarek but the Polish champion did not clear. He decided to save his last two attempts for a would-be personal best 2.28 but although very close, he failed both.
Bondarenko also failed three times at 2.28 but it didn’t matter anymore, the gold medal was his.
“I am very satisfied,” said Bondarenko who was third two years ago in Beijing. “The competition was very tough, especially Sylwester. I like the atmosphere here and would love to come back and compete here again.”
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF