Defending Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard of the U.S. advanced in the qualifications of the men’s high jump at the World Championships in Beijing Friday. Nine athletes cleared the final height of 2.31 meters, with the final five qualifying at 2.29 to the final Sunday. Kynard was part of the 2.29 group, having executed each attempt until the final three.
“I’m not satisfied,” Kynard said. “I felt I should have hit the automatic qualifier (2.31), I was jumping really well. I’m not making any excuses, but I think I had too much sugar and not enough water. I was getting a little bit of a headache, but I’ll make it through. I’m lucky, but it won’t cut it in the final.”
The only two athletes to be perfect at all five heights were Derek Drouin of Canada and Zhang Guowei of China. Drouin won the bronze medal at the previous Olympics and World Championships before taking the Commonwealth Games and Pan-American Games gold medals in the past year. Defending champion Bohdan Bondarenko of Ukraine passed, and it will be a return to the final for 32-year-old Czech Jaroslav Baba, the bronze medalist from the 2004 Athens Games. Baba made each World high jump final from 2003 through 2011, but failed to qualify in 2013; he has never won a medal at the World Championships.
Also to qualify at 2.31 were: Eike Onnen of Germany, Brandon Starc of Australia, Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar (who was the silver medalist from 2013 and is the two-time defending Asian Games champion), Konstadinos Baniotis of Greece, and Dimitrios Chondrokoukis of Cyprus. Advancing at 2.29 meters were 2011 bronze medalist Trevor Barry of the Bahamas, Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy, Danil Tsyplakov of Russia, and Bahamian Donald Thomas – the champion from the 2007 Osaka competition. Thomas was sixth in Moscow and placed with the bronze in the Pan-American Games last month.
JaCorian Duffield, the reigning NCAA champion at Texas Tech indoors and outdoors, missed his first two attempts at 2.17 meters, then cleared four consecutively, but could not clear the final.
“I started off struggling early, and that cost me at the end,” Duffield said. “I’ll definitely remember this next year for all of training, until January when we start competing. When USAs come, it will be on my mind. I’ll never forget this.”
Jesse Williams of the U.S., the 2011 world champion, also saw his Championships end Friday. The 31-year-old cleared 2.26, but couldn’t get over the fourth height.
“Overall, I know I’m in really good shape, I just technically could not get it together,” Williams said. “It’s been like that all year, but I was expecting to get it together here, but I just wasn’t able to. It’s always frustrating to train so hard, but I’m always happy to compete for the U.S, and I tried my best.”
Brashim holds the highest jump in the world this season at 2.41, while Zhang was right behind him at 2.38 on May 30. Kynard, Bondarenko, Drouin, and Tamberi each cleared 2.37. Brashim’s 2.43 last September is the also second-highest all time.