Briton gives home crowd reason to be cheerful with 2.31m leap in London
There was a mixed morning for British athletes on day eight of the IAAF World Championships in London.
The two 100m hurdlers – Tiffany Porter and Alicia Barrett – plus discus thrower Jade Lally were well below their best form and did not qualify.
Robbie Grabarz fared better in the high jump, however. He had first-time clearances at 2.22m and also at 2.26m. At this stage, 20 athletes were clear but Grabarz was one of seven with a perfect record.
The Briton failed his first attempt at 2.29m but sailed over second time and 17 were clear at this height, with Grabarz down to equal eighth.
He had a good first and second attempt at the automatic qualifying height of 2.31m but narrowly missed out each time.
At the end of the second round jumps, only five were automatically through and Grabarz was down to 11th overall.
He would have qualified anyway but made sure with his last attempt of 2.31m to make yet another major final.
Those also making the final included double Olympic medallist and world-leader Mutaz Essa Barshim and former champion Bohdan Bondarenko, who both sailed over 2.31m first time.
“It turns out I don’t think I needed it (2.31m), but I didn’t check, I just wanted to get it,” said Grabarz. “It was more of a mind battle – high jump is a mind battle and I made that a battle for myself.
“I’m never going to have this opportunity to jump at a Champs in this stadium again. I’m getting old now, these things aren’t going to keep coming around for ever, so I’ve got to make the most of it now.
“To come out there in front of a crowd just screaming my name is so exciting, and it really doesn’t happen that often. I’ve just got to keep calm and jump higher in the final.”
World record-holder Kendra Harrison topped the 100m hurdles qualifying her time of 12.60. Also impressing with heat victories were defending champion Danielle Williams of Jamaica in 12.66 and 2012 Olympics winner Sally Pearson, who was timed at 12.72.
Other heat winners were Megan Simmonds (12.78) and Christina Manning (12.87).
Other fast non-winning times were set by Pamela Dutkiewicz (12.74), Dawn Harper-Nelson and Alina Talay (both 12.88).
Britain’s 2013 medallist Porter could only finish sixth in her heat in 13.18. Barrett was eighth in her heat in 13.42. A time of 13.14 was required to progress as a fastest loser.
“Obviously that was a very disappointing race but that is what athletics is,” said Porter. “You just have to pick yourself up and keep on pushing forward.
“My preparation up to this point wasn’t ideal but I wanted to come out here and hopefully put on a good show to claw my way back from injury, but unfortunately I may have just run out of time.”
Trinidad’s Deborah John had a very heavy fall and was taken away on a stretcher.
In group A of the women’s discus, double Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic impressed with a big 69.67m throw. The other two automatic qualifiers were Cubans Yaime Perez with 65.58m and defending champion Denia Caballero with 63.79m.
Britain’s Lally, who has had various injury problems which have prevented her hitting her best form this year, was some way short of the necessary 62.50m and after two no throws, she threw 57.71m which placed her eighth in the group but she dropped to 19th after the results of group B.
There, former champion Dani Stevens of Australia qualified easily with a 65.56m while France’s Melina Robert-Michon with 63.97m, Nadine Muller (63.35m) and Xinyue Su (63.00m) and Andressa de Morais (62.80m) also gained automatically qualification.
61.48m made it through as 12th best.
Lally said: “I know I’m not supposed to be satisfied with not qualifying for the final, but I really think it would have been a fairy tale ending had I qualified for that. Given all the injuries that I’ve had from the middle of February that’s okay, it wasn’t a bad performance.”
The decathlon also got under way and Canada’s two-time world medallist Damian Warner led the opening event as he won the 100m in a slightly disappointing 10.50 to score 975 points.
Close behind were Rico Freimuth with 10.53/968, Karl Robert Saluri with 10.55/963 and Olympic silver medallist Kevin Mayer with 10.70PB/929.
Former double world champion Trey Hardee ran 10.95/917 to lie fifth equal.
Britain’s Ashley Bryant started well with a season’s best 11.14/822 which placed him 22nd.
The Briton’s opening long jump looked very long but it was a marginal foul (1.60cm).
He played it safe in round two, taking off 24 centimetres behind the board with a 7.26m jump and improved with a 7.44m jump, a long way outside his best of 7.79m. That moved him up to 16th overall on 1750 points.
A 7.48m long jump was enough to put Freimuth, the 2015 world bronze medallist and current world-leader, ahead on 1898 points.
Warner dropped to second after a 7.44m jump while Saluri jumped 7.49m to share the Canadian’s score of 1895.
Just three points covered the leading trio.
Mayer jumped 7.52m to hold fourth on 1869 with Kai Kazmirek on 1851 with a 7.64m leap.
The best long jump came from Thailand’s Sutthisak Singkhon with 7.65m.
Hardee was sixth on 1847 after a 7.48m jump.
At the end of the third event, Mayer leads with 2703 points after he achieved a throw of 15.72m in the shot. Freimuth is second on 2678 points after a 14.85m throw. Hardee moved up to third on 2647 after throwing 15.16m. Warner dropped to sixth after a 13.45m throw. Britain’s Ashley Bryant dropped to 17th on 2484 points after he threw 14.09m.
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