Daegu, Korea – Twelve women cleared the automatic qualifying height of 1.95 metres to make women’s high jump qualifying a routine affair on Thursday morning.
Eighteen got over 1.92, one height below the performance required for automatic advancement to Saturday night’s final, but for once count-backs and other complications did not come into determining the final 12.
Defending champion Blanka Vlasic, who was under an injury cloud coming into Daegu, progressed without incident, clearing 1.85, 1.89, 1.92 and 1.95 without a hiccup. Whether she can improve to the 2.07 which may be needed to match world list leader Anna Chicherova is a question for the final.
Italian veteran Antonietta Di Martino, who along with Chicherova and Vlasic is the only woman to have cleared 2.00 this year, also sailed through the qualifying competition without a blemish.
Chicherova was the only jumper in the first pool to keep a clean score-sheet, clearing the same heights as Vlasic.
Ireland’s Deidre Ryan got 1.92 only on her third attempt, then cleared a national record 1.95 on her second to make the final. She is Ireland’s first-ever finalist.
Notable non-qualifiers in this group were Spain’s Ruth Beitia, Ukraine’s Vita Styopina and Bulgaria’s Venelina Veneva-Mateeva.
Brigetta Barrett, gold medallist at the World University Games in Shenzhen last month, also cleared 1.95 without a miss to make the final. Nigeria’s Doreen Amata got a national record in clearing 1.95 and she is likewise a first-time finalist for her nation.
China’s Zheng Xingjuan got a personal best in clearing 1.95 and Svetlana Radzivil of Uzbekhistan her season’s best.
Zheng is the first Chinese jumper to reach the final through the qualifying rounds. In the first World Championships in Helsinki in 1983, 18 women competed in a straight final, including two Chinese, Yang Wenqin (16th) and Zheng Dazhen (18th).
Elena Slesarenko of Russia needed all three tries at 1.95 to make the final, while notables missing out included Roumania’s Esthera Petre, sixth on this year’s world list with 1.98, but only able to find a 1.92 this hot Thursday morning.
Len Johnson for the IAAF