Thiago Braz Da Silva of Brazil jumping for winning the gold medal on the Men's Pole Vault Final on the day three of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona on 12 July 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Brazil’s Thiago Da Silva proved to be a genuine competitor. Coming into the championships with a best clearance of 5.35, Da Silva improved no less than four times! that performance to claim gold with a 5.55 first-time success, a feat matched by the pre-event favourite (SB of 5.60) Croatia’s Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Ivan Horvat but Da Silva prevailed by virtue of a cleaner contest.
The bronze medal went was also a surprise since Canada’s Shawnacy Barber made a major 17cm! improvement on his previous best to also clear 5.55 at his third time of asking. Local hero Didac Salas had to settle for the bitter fourth place despite going over 5.50m
Looking back to the contest, when the bar went up to 5.40 it seemed that Salas gave a giant step to make the podium as he was the only vaulter clearing the bar at the first time of asking while Renner, Barber, Da Silva needed a second attempt. Croatia’s Ivan Horvat had a near escape at that height as he only was successful at the very last try. 5.40 also witnessed the first major casualty in the guise of America’s Nikita Kirillov who had three failures at that height.
The leader at 5.45 was Brazil’s Thiago Da Silva as he was successful on his first attempt while Canada’s Shawnacy Barber also cleared first try but ranked second due to a previous failure at 5.20. It was Barber’s second PB of the evening after his previous success at 5.40.
Meanwhile Renner and Salas – still in bronze medal position - fouled their respective opening tries and decided to save their two remaining efforts for a higher height in a strategic pass. Horvat didn’t attempt 5.45 looking for a first-time success at a higher height after his near escape at 5.40.
When the bar was raised to 5.50 all the five men still in contention: Renner, Barber, Horvat, Da Silva and Salas fouled at the first time of asking. Barber kept on his magical contest to take an unexpected lead when he cleared on his second try but then Horvat, Da Silva and Salas also managed that feat while Renner escaped from the event after two failures.
The decisive height was going to be 5.55 where first Horvat and then Da Silva managed first-time clearances. Barber was also successful but at his third attempt and Salas fouled twice before saving his only remaining try for 5.60, a height no-one could surpass.
Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF