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Event Report Women High Jump Final
It started quietly but ended with an attempt on the World record by South Africa's Hestrie CLOETE as the women's High Jump lived up to its high expectations.
All jumpers were successful until 1.95m when four were eliminated - Ruth BEITIA (ESP), Viktoriya STYOPINA and Olga KALITURINA both of Russia and most surprisingly American champion Amy ACUFF.
The next height was 1.98m and once again four athletes failed to clear it. The third Russian Anna CHICHEROVA, Juana Rosario ARRENDEL (DOM) and Vita PALAMAR (UKR) all were unsuccessful. Two-time world junior champion Blanka VLASIC (CRO) was well down on her best of 2.01, looking ragged and exiting at this height.
And then there were four. Bulgarian Venelina VENEVA entering the meet with only having cleared 1.95m this season. She faced world champion Cloete, European champion Kajsa BERGQVIST and 2.02m Russian jumper Marina KUPTSOVA for the medals. Accordingly, Veneva was the first to falter and she was relegated to fourth.
Bergqvist after clearing 1.98m in a clutch third attempt took two jumps to clear 2.00m, while Kuptsova sailed over first time, as did Cloete who had yet to miss a height.
At the next height, 2.02m, Bergqvist jumping first, got nowhere near the bar on her first attempt. Kuptsova had a solid try but didn't succeed either. Putting pressure on the other two, Cloete once again sailed over on her first attempt.
In response Bergqvist and Kuptsova passed and had the bar raised to 2.04m. As with the previous height, the first two failed and the South African soared. With their final attempts, first Bergqvist and then Kuptsova, failed handing the gold medal Cloete. Due to earlier misses Bergqvist finished with the bronze, while Kuptsova took silver, as she did behind the Swede at last year's European titles.
Knowing she had already won her second world title, Cloete flew over 2.06m first time. She rolled around on the bags celebrating the clearance. This was the second highest jump at the world championships since Stefka KOSTADINOVA's (BUL) world record 2.09m in Rome in 1987. The jump also moved her to equal third on the all-time list alongside Bergqvist's leap from July.
Cloete then asked the officials to raise the bar to 2.10m in an attempt to break the world record. She knocked the bar off with her hand on the first attempt, to record her first miss of the competition. The second and third efforts were better, but the world record will have to wait for another day.
South Africa now rule the world of high jumping with Jacques FREITAG (RSA) taking out the men's final last Sunday.