Will the world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie win the elusive World Championships gold? We will know the answer to this question on Sunday night, but he will definitely have a shot at it after successfully qualifying for the final.
Even though the automatic qualifying standard was fairly high, 5.70m, both Lavillenie and the defending champion from Germany. Raphael Holzdeppe. decided to open up at this height.
For the Olympic champion, this kind of a self-confidence proved to be far from unfounded, having opened at this height or higher at most of the competitions this season.
The Frenchman was flawless over the bar, with lots of room to spare. Holzdeppe, however, had to use all three attempts to ensure his participation in the final.
Poland’s 2011 world champion Pawel Wojcechowski is having his best season so far since his victory in Daegu which was followed by several years of injury problems.
He was flawless tonight, as well, clearing all his heights at the first try.
His compatriot Robert Sobera will join Wojcechowski in the final after an equally impressive performance in qualification.
The third Pole, Piotr Lisek, experienced one hiccup at 5.65m, but had no issues at 5.70m. With three athletes in action, Poland will be the most extensively represented nation in the final.
Number three in the world this season with 5.93m, Canada’s Shawn Barber, knocked the bar down in his first attempt at 5.65m, but then corrected his technical mistakes to secure a spot in the final with his first try at 5.70m.
A total of 16 athletes managed to clear 5.70m in the qualifying round, but it was far from a breeze for some of them.
Russia’s Ivan Gertlein had to set a personal best to get a chance to continue his competition in Bejing.
For Croatia’s Ivan Horvat and Slovenia’s European Under-23 champion Robert Renner, 5.70m was not only a personal best, but a national record as well.
Among notable casualties of the qualification were the South American record-holder Thiago Braz and the reigning world indoor champion Konstantinos Filippidis.
Filippidis bowed out early, after three failures at 5.65m. The Brazilian had a rough competition right from the start. Braz was opening at 5.55m and in took him three attempts to clear the bar. He then had a confident clearance at 5.65m, but at the qualifying height it was not to be.
Elena Dyachkova for the IAAF