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Men's High Jump Final

China’s Haiqiang Huang fulfilled the expectations of a whole nation when he cleared a superb World Junior leading height of 2.32 metres to clinch the host country’s second gold medal of the championships.

Already a World Youth champion last year in Marrakesh, Huang came into this competition with a personal best of 2.28m and knowing that it would take at least a personal best to reach his declared ambition of being “the best”.

And indeed Huang broke his personal record not just once but twice in the space of twenty minutes and now lies just one centimetre off the Asian Junior record of 2.33m held by former World record holder Jianhua Zhu since 1982!

It was a dramatic competition in which Israel’s Niki Palli, the World Junior leader at 2.30m before the final and sixth last week in the superb High Jump final in Gothenburg’s European Championships, held the lead with a clean sheet bar one miss at 2.23m up until the bar was raised at 2.29 metres.

Both Huang and Palli had superb attempts at 2.29m a height they both cleared at their first attempt. At that point, Huang was lying in second due to a miss at 2.26m and since he was jumping second he was under tremendous pressure.

Palli had three misses at a would be personal best 2.32m and went almost unnoticed by the crowd whereas each of Huang’s attempts was followed by loud cheers from the public.

With the Israeli out, and only one attempt left for Huang, the situation was clear. If he failed he would be second, if he cleared he would be “the best”.

Huang’s determination was such that he seemed never to doubt his ability to become the ninth junior performer of all time. The clearance was perfect, the gold medal was secured.

Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko was third with a PB clearance of 2.26m.