20 AUG 2008 General News

Men's Pole Vault - Qualification

World champion Brad Walker no-heights in the qualifying of the men's pole vault (Getty Images)World champion Brad Walker no-heights in the qualifying of the men's pole vault (Getty Images) © Copyright

It is rare that any discipline except a Combined Event finds itself being contested across two days. Well that’s what happened with the men’s Pole Vault qualification.

38 vaulters split into two equal qualification groups embarked on their quest for a final place at 8.40pm on Wednesday 20 August and not surprisingly were not finished with their competition until well into the night shift of many of the stadium security guards.

As the stadium announcer said a little wearily as the last man attempting 5.65m failed on his third try – “it’s midnight!”

“As day six comes to a close, day seven has already begun.”

With 13 men succeeding at 5.65m the technical officials wisely decided that it was asking a little too much of the athletes to request them to attempt another height so late, sorry, so earlier in the day.

Thus the automatic qualifying mark for the final on Friday (22) which had been set at 5.75m was officially and pragmatically reduced by 10cm.

In the final of the women’s Pole Vault on Tuesday, Yelena Isinbayeva had concealed herself from the eyes of the 91,000 crowd by hiding under a large white duvet. There will be many of the 13 who qualified tonight who will have wished they had brought their pyjamas!

Let’s simply list some of those major names who did qualify and some who did not qualify:

Qualified:

2008 World Indoor champion Yevgeny Lukyanenko (UKR), 2004 World Indoor champion Igor Pavlov (RUS); World Junior champion and record holder Raphael Holzdeppe (GER); 2007 World championships bronze medallist Danny Ecker (GER); USA champion Derek Miles (USA); 2006 World Cup winner Steve Hooker (AUS); 2003 World champion Giuseppe Gibilisco (ITA)....

NOT Qualified:

2007 World champion Brad Walker (USA); 2007 World silver medallist Romain Mesnil (FRA); 2002 European champion Aleksandr Averbukh (ISR); 2003 World Indoor champion Tim Lobinger (GER); former American Area record holder Jeff Hartwig (USA);  6m man and 2006 World Athletics Final winner, Paul Burgess (AUS)....

Good night or should that be good morning, from the Bird's Nest?

Chris Turner for the IAAF