22yearold Rashid Ahmed AlMannai improved his personal best to 2.28m to become the surprise winner in the men’s High Jump in today’s IAAF / VTB Bank Continental Cup here in Split.
After first time failures at both 2.21 and 2.25, the Qatari, competing for Team Asia/Pacific, went clear the first time of asking at 2.28 taking the win and the 30,000$ cheque on count-back from former World champion Donald Thomas of the Bahamas whose clearance at 2.28 only came on his third attempt.
“I’m very glad that I won,” Al-Mannai said. “My coach told me that I have to believe I can jump so high. He convinced me and that’s why I did so well. I’m looking forward to my next goal, the Asian Games.”
Never before had an Asian athlete won the High Jump in this competition, their best previous showing being a fourth place back in Havana 1992.
European bronze medallist Martyn Bernard of Great Britain who was in the lead up until the winning height by virtue of a first time clearance at 2.25 would end up in third position his three attempts at 2.28 all being unsuccessful.
Kabelo Kgosiemang, the African champion, topped 2.25 with his second attempt scoring 5 points for Africa with Asia/Pacific adding another 4 with Hup Wei Lee in fifth also at 2.25.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF