THEY SAY THAT the cream always rises to the top. Co-Olympic and 2-time WC champ Mutaz Barshim kept the bar rising in Eugene, clearing each height with room to spare.
Of 13 in the final, only the 31-year-old Qatari passed the opening height of 7-2¼ (2.19). All cleared that height and the bar was raised to 7-4¼ (2.24), where only 1 was eliminated; 7-5¼ (2.27) was the next stop and 2 more were dropped.
There was now a pack of 6 with a clean slate that included Barshim, Italy’s co-Olympic gold medalist Gianmarco Tamberi, South Korea’s World Indoor champ Sang-hyeok Woo, American champion Shelby McEwen, Canada’s Django Lovett and Cuban Luis Enrique Zayas. America’s JuVaughn Harrison was one of 10 who cleared, but he had missed his first attempt, leaving him in 8th.
Ukrainian Andrii Protsenko, whose 6 previous WC experiences never saw him get by the qualifying round, cleared on his final attempt and was now in 10th.
Formchart favorite Woo, Protsenko, Barshim and McEwen all cleared 7-6½ (2.30) on their first attempt, but it took Tamberi 3 tries, leaving the Italian in 5th.
Lovett, Zayas, Harrison, Japan’s Tomohiro Shinno and Aussie Joel Baden could not negotiate the height, knocking them out of the top 5.
Barshim and Protsenko cleared 7-7¾ (2.33) right away, but it took Tamberi 2 and Woo 3 attempts. After 2 misses, McEwen passed to the next height, to give him a final shot at a medal.
Going into 7-8½ (2.35), the order was Barshim, Protsenko, Tamberi, Woo and McEwen, who only had one jump left to clear the bar.
Barshim maintained his stranglehold on the lead with another first-time clearance, equaling the year’s highest outdoor performance. It took Woo twice, but that would be good enough for an outdoor NR and 2nd place after Tamberi missed his jumps and now-3rd-placer Protsenko passed to the next height for a last chance at glory.
Moving to a year-leading 7-9¼ (2.37), Barshim once again glided over with ease on his first try. Protsenko then missed his final attempt, cementing the bronze. After missing his first attempt, Woo decided to pass and move on to 7-10 (2.39).
Not needing to jump, Barshim passed, leaving it all up to Woo. Woo would not be close on his two tries, leaving the Qatari a 3-time champion.
Barshim raised the bar to 7-11¼ (2.42) for a one-off attempt at the MR. He missed and that was his only blemish on an otherwise perfect day.
He said, “The target for me for today was the gold medal, even if the World Record is the only one thing I still miss. Three Worlds golds in a row is something that had never been done before. I came here to secure that.”
A happy Woo declared, “The competition was great today and I am very excited to come out with a medal. I managed my goal — to jump a national record. That was my main target.”
Protsenko, admitting it had been too long a time to have not medaled at the WC and that he was looking forward to Budapest ‘23, said with a grin, “But I’m like a wine: the older the better.”
The Ukrainian then brought everyone back to the real world when he said, “Seriously, I have no chance to be relaxed. Three months ago, I managed to take my family from Ukraine and occupied territory, but I left everything in my home town of Kherson. I took only one bag. That’s all I have. I don’t even have a base in Europe.”
MEN’S HIGH JUMP RESULTS
FINAL (July 18)
(temperature 79–77F/26–25C; humidity 46–45%)
1. Mutaz Barshim (Qat) 7-9¼ (2.37) (WL) (also 7-8½/2.35 =out WL);
2. Sang-Hyeok Woo (SK) 7-8½ (2.35) =NR (=out WL);
3. Andrii Protsenko (Ukr) 7-7¾ (2.33);
4. Gianmarco Tamberi (Ita) 7-7¾ (2.33);
5. Shelby McEwen (US) 7-6½ (2.30);
=6. Django Lovett (Can) 7-5¼ (2.27);
=6. Luis Zayas (Cub) 7-5¼ (2.27);
8. Tomohiro Shinno (Jpn) 7-5¼ (2.27);
9. JuVaughn Harrison (US) 7-5¼ (2.27);
10. Joel Baden (Aus) 7-5¼ (2.27);
11. Jonathan Kapitolnik (Isr) 7-4¼ (2.24);
12. Mateusz Przybylko (Ger) 7-4¼ (2.24);
13. Edgar Rivera (Mex) 7-2¼ (2.19).
(July 15; auto-qualifier 7-6½/2.30)
Qualifiers: All qualifiers cleared 7-5¾/2.28 except Rivera, who cleared 7-4½/2.25;
Non-Qualifiers: [7-4½/2.25]—Mateusz Przybylko (Ger), Hamish Kerr (NZ), Oleh Doroshchuk (Ukr), Marco Fassinotti (Ita), Thomas Carmoy (Bel), Thiago Julio Moura (Bra);
[7-3/2.21]—Ryoichi Akamatsu (Jpn), Tobias Potye (Ger), Carlos Layoy (Arg), Loïc Gasch (Swi), Joel Clarke-Khan (GB), Donald Thomas (Bah);
[7-1½/2.17]— Darius Carbin (US), Yual Reath (Aus);
[nh]—Norbert Kobielski (Pol), Nauraj Singh Randhawa (Mas).