How could we ever doubt him? World Junior record-holder Raphael Holzdeppe made us wait, and wait, and wait a little longer to enter the competition but ultimately the German was head and shoulders above the rest, sealing the gold medal with a first time clearance at 5.50m.
Holzdeppe, who equalled the World junior record with 5.80m in Biberach in June and has qualified in the powerful German team for the Olympic Games, toyed with the opposition and opened up at 5.40m.
It was a risky strategy and one that could have blown up in his face. At last year’s European Junior Championships he entered at 5.10m but no-marked and left the event with nothing.
We need not have worried. Just a little over 1 hour and 50 minutes after the competition started Holzdeppe finally took to the runway and sailed effortlessly clear at 5.40m.
It was not quite game over. Poland’s Bydgoszcz-based Pawel Wojciechowski sent the home crowd into frenzied excitement by equalling his PB of 5.40m at his second attempt.
But Holzdeppe extinguished any hopes of a home gold medal by comfortably clearing 5.50m at the first time of asking. Wojciechowski could not go any higher and that was that.
The German had a pop at the championship record of 5.72m but failed in his three attempts. No matter. Holzdeppe had proved his championship mettle and banished the demons of the European Juniors.
“I feel very glad after this victory,” said Holzdeppe. “I had to wait well over an hour for my first attempt and that was hard. Once I got over 5.40m things got easier.”
Holzdeppe’s team-mate Karsten Dilla won the battle for bronze with a first time clearance at 5.30m. Hungary’s Dezso Szabo required two attempts to achieve this mark and had to settle for fourth.
Steve Landells for the IAAF