2 September 2011Daegu, Korea - Amid cooler overcast conditions three of the past four World champions made it through to Sunday’s final with the one exception being Walter Davis of the US.
While defending champion Phillips Idowu of Great Britain, Portugal’s 2007 gold medallist Nelson Evora and the global winner from eight years ago in Paris, Christian Olsson, all advanced the task proved beyond Davis, the 2005 winner in Helsinki.
The 32-year-old US athlete has been out of sorts for much of the season and could only achieve a best of 16.12m with his three jumps.
Of the other past gold medallists in this event, it was Evora who logged the longest distance.
The Portuguese had endured a below par start of the season but has seen an upturn in fortunes in recent weeks. Earlier this month he posted 17.31m to land the World University Games – his longest jump since 2009 - to suggest he was returning to best and he will be quietly satisfied with his qualification performance. A first round ‘sighter’ of 17.05m just fell shy of the automatic standard by 0.05 but a cool, calm and collected second jump of 17.20m guaranteed he could pack his bags and return to the athletes’ village.
Idowu will also be pleased with his efforts. A first round leap of 17.17m meant the Briton expended the minimum amount of energy necessary and as he was 0.28 behind the board it suggested there is plenty to come from the Briton.
A second round 17.16m by Christian Olsson helped bag his first World Championships final for eight, long injury riddled years. The Swede may not be quite the same force as in the past but he is a wily championship performer and is capable of featuring in the final.
Leading the qualifiers was the 2009 World bronze medallist Alexis Copello of Cuba, who followed up a first round 17.06m with an impressive second round effort of 17.31m.
Many pundits dark horse for success in Daegu Christian Taylor, the US champion, made it through but he was not 100 per cent convincing. He appeared to have launched out to around the 17.40m range with his first attempt but he was red-flagged. Subsequently, his best effort of 16.99m will not have created much of a stir among the other elite triple jumpers, but, significantly, he does advance to the 12-man final with the ninth longest jump.
His team-mate Will Claye navigated a more routine path to the final booking his spot with a second round 17.19m. The US athlete also qualified for the men’s Long Jump final yesterday and is the first man to achieve the feat at a World Championships since his countryman Mike Conley in 1987.
Leevan Sands of Bahamas (17.13m), the 2003 World bronze medallist, and France’s Benjamin Compaoré (17.11m) were the two other automatic qualifiers.
There was also no joy for the home hopeful, Kim Deokhyeon. The Korean who qualified yesterday for the men’s Long Jump final could not match that effort in the Triple Jump with three fouls. More worryingly, following his last attempt he appeared to injury his left ankle putting his future presence at these championships in some jeopardy.
Steve Landells for the IAAF