Defending champion and reigning European Indoor gold medallist, Igor Pavlov of Russia, came into this competition with only a 5.60m best this winter, failed to find the formula to go higher and surrendered his crown at 5.55. He struggled with his opening height of 5.45, needing all three attempts, failed at his first attempt at 5.60 and elected to wait for his remaining two jumps at 5.65 to no avail.
So the field was left open for Americans Jeff Hartwig, 1999 World Indoor silver and world leader this year, and Brad Walker, 2005 outdoor World silver, to fill the two top spots with first-time 5.70 clearances, despite the odd wobble at the lower heights.
Denys Yurchenko of the Ukraine with a season’s best and Israel’s Aleksandr Averbukh, the reigning outdoor European champion, were the only other two to reach the qualifying mark of 5.70, though the Israeli had courted failure at 5.65, scraping over at the third time of asking.
Former World Indoor champion, Germany’s Tim Lobinger, appeared to be heading for an untroubled progression to the final, clearing 5.60 at the first attempt and following that with a first-time clearance at 5.65. But he found 5.70 beyond his scope, going through as equal fifth qualifier together with fellow German Fabian Schultz, the European Under-23 silver medallist.
Mexican Giovanni Lanaro and Gambian-born Swede, Alhaji Jeng, second in Donesk this winter with his second national record of 5.80, occupied the last two spots.