World champion Yaroslav Rybakov gave us a superb demonstration of jumping with a victory at 2.34m.
Rybakov had a clear jumping card at five heights - 2.18 through to 2.32 - the first failure of the Russian coming at 2.34m when though high enough to clear he was badly positioned in his flight and came down on top of the bar.
To be honest at the moment of his first jump at 2.34 the stadium PA system was so loud with an infield interview being carried out with Meseret Defar - the winner of the women’s 5000m - that it was hard enough for spectators to concentrate on Rybakov’s attempts let alone we presume for the athlete himself to focus on his target.
Failure also came with his next attempt but then by a miracle the stadium fell quiet for his third and final approach to the bar and we watched with delight as the 28-year-old arched his back and successfully cleared 2.34 with plenty to spare. The stadium filled with noise but this time it was the roar of the crowd. Rybakov was later to take three tries, none of them close at 2.36.
All the time that Rybakov was battling with 2.34 there had still been one challenger left in the competition, Czech Jaroslav Baba who after two failures at 2.34 had moved his last attempt up to 2.36, but when he did get to take on that pinnacle he wasn’t close. Still his second time success at 2.32 was enough to secure a good second place for Czech record holder, with USA’s Jesse Williams in third with 2.29 (three failures at 2.32).
Russia’s Ivan Ukhov who had been the man to beat indoors this winter (2.40) and had taken the Russian outdoor title with 2.35m before ending up a lowly tenth in Berlin, was in a little better form but despite clear up to and including 2.26, he was a bit lack lustre not even removing his sweat pants until his last attempt at 2.29, none of his attempts at which height were close. Ukhov is not the same man of earlier this year.
There was never a challenge from Berlin silver medallist Kyriakos Ioannou of Cyprus who went out at 2.22m, though he was unlucky, being a millimetre or two at most away from success on his third attempt at 2.26.
"I was a little bit lucky, although luck isn't the only reason I won today," said Rybakov who takes home $30,000 as his prize. "This was my best season outdoors since 2002. I tried to beat my personal best, I came close, but I didn't make it. I aim to become a member of the 2,40 m. club. I will try to do it indoors. You know I prefer jumping indoors."
Chris Turner for the IAAF