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Men high jump preview


Men’s High Jump


Only once has the World Championships title been won with a leap of less than 2.35m, and that was back in 1983 in Helsinki. In the absence of Charles CLINGER, the only man to reach that height this season, it seems likely that a season’s best performance will be needed to claim the gold in Edmonton.


CLINGER fell foul of the USA’s strict ‘first three only’ selection rule when he finished a lowly equal-ninth at the US championships in June, although there will still be a strong US challenge in the shape of aptly named US champion Nathan LEEPER and 1991 world champion Charles AUSTIN, both of whom have cleared 2.30m this year. However, judging by 2001 performances the strongest medal contenders in a very open event are likely to come from Ukraine, Russia and Sweden.


Ukraine’s Andrey SOKOLOVSKIY will enter the Edmonton contest with the best mark of the field this year, 2.34m, and will hope to add to the World Indoor silver medal he won in Lisbon in March. Also hoping to make the medal podium will be his teammate Sergey DYMCHENKO, who is one of six men who have cleared 2.31m this season.


Their way could be blocked by the Russian challenge led by reigning champion Vyacheslav VORONIN and Olympic champion Sergey KLYUGIN, although Yaroslav RYBAKOV is ahead of both of them this year with his 2.32m. VORONIN had a disappointing Olympic Games and has since failed to reproduce the outstanding form he showed over two seasons before Sydney.


The Swedish pair of Stefan HOLM and Staffan STRAND could also be in contention; with HOLM especially keen to improve on his fourth place at last year’s Olympics. Nor should we write off Cuba’s world record holder and two-time world champion Javier SOTOMAYOR. ‘Soto’, who returned from a drugs suspension to take silver in Sydney, has struggled with an Achilles injury this year and cleared only 2.30m, but still feels he will be in with a chance.


This could also be an event to thrill the home crowd, with Canadian pair Mark BOSWELL, the 1999 silver medallist, and Kwaku BOATENG coming into form at the right time. Both posted 2.31m marks in Ottawa on 21 July.