Iryna Kovalenko cleared a 2004 world junior leading height of 1.93 at her third attempt to clinch the gold medal this afternoon after a cliffhanging couple of final rounds.
Belarus’ Irina Iskryk was the first athlete out of contention as she failed to clear the starting height of 1.75 with her three attempts. In qualifying on Friday Iskryk had gone clear at every height, with just one failure at 1.83.
With the bar raised to 1.80, the attrition started and a further three athletes of the 14 who lined up at the start of the competition were eliminated: Germany’s Aileen Hermann, USA’s Inika McPherson and Uzbekistan’s Svetlana Radzivil.
1.84 and three failures knocked out Irina Gordeeva of Russia and Anika Smit of South Africa. Iryna Kovalenko from Ukraine was just over the bar at her third try.
With the bar at 1.87, two more heads fell: Greece’s Adonia Steryiou, leaving the competition with a new PB of 1.84, and Kazakhstan’s Anna Ustinova.
Czech Republic’s Oldriska Maresova came to Grosseto with a personal best of 1.82 metres, she left today’s competition with a new best of 1.87. She clearly found the bar at 1.89 too daunting, missing her first attempt, running under the bar at her second and never really getting into her stride as she jumped slowly at her third and final try, taking the bar onto the mattress with her.
Also going out with Maresova at 1.87 were Svitlana Akulenko of Ukraine, jumping below her potential and Germany’s Annett Engel, who marginally improved on her previous personal best of 1.86 from the 2003 edition of the World Youth Championships in Sherbrooke.
The medallists were decided with just three athletes remaining in the competition, now came the time to determine their places on the podium.
With the bar raised to 1.91, there were second attempt clearances from Svetlana Shkolina (RUS) and Iryna Kovalenko (UKR), with USA’s Sharon Day clearing the bar at her third attempt.
This was to be the final clearance for Day and Shkolina, as the pair failed at the following height of 1.93, which Kovalenko cleared at her third attempt to clinch the gold medal with this World Junior Leading height for 2004.
Silver went to Shkolina and bronze to Day on countback.
NB> Kovalenko has no formal training facilities for the High Jump available to her back at home in the Ukraine, in fact she uses the mattress from her own bed on which to land as she practises her jumps!