In the Saturday evening session of the IAAF World Indoor Championships, at the Oregon Convention Centre in Portland the men’s high jump final was the highlight of the schedule for both the Portland spectators and the GB contingent, as Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Caan) took the silver medal in an exciting competition won by Italian Gianmarco Tamberi.
Grabarz who spoke earlier in the week of the low points during his career of returning to form after surgery, looked every bit his former self as he progressed through 2.20, 2.25m, 2.29m then an exquisite first time clearance of 2.33m which left him in pole position for the majority of the latter stages, before Tamberi cleared 2.36m.
He said: “I’m ecstatic; I just can’t believe it to be honest. If someone would have said that would be the result two years ago I wouldn’t have believed it and I would have bit your hand off.
“They (Barshim and Kynard) looked very, very far away, but it just made me train harder and harder – just on the days I didn’t really want to get out of bed. I’ve been able to compete with these guys and get a medal and that’s great.”
Whilst Chris Baker (Sharon Heveran) was disappointed with his best clearance of 2.29m for eighth, it was clear he felt he had learned from the experience in the World final:
“It’s my first world champs so I’m fairly happy to be in the mix really. I’m delighted for Robbie, it’s great to see him back on the top and I’m so happy for him.
“It’s frustrating because I was jumping the height to make the 33, but just not clearing the bar and that’s what makes it feel a bit harder. It’s frustrating, but that’s high jump. Me and Robbie were having a great time out there, it was a lot of fun and I’m delighted for him.”
British team captain Asha Philip (Steve Fudge) and Dina Asher Smith (John Blackie) were back in action with the women’s 60m semi-finals and final part of the evening’s schedule.
Philip – running from lane one did well in the final to take fifth with 7.14 seconds whilst Asher-Smith was unfortunate not to be able to line up when a hamstring reaction to her semi-final performance meant she was withdrawn as a precautionary measure.
Philip said: “I came here for a medal, I wanted a medal! I came fifth and I didn’t run a PB or a season’s best, I’m gutted. I got out quick, but it’s so hard when you’re on the side. I just kept on pushing and pushing and pushing but right at the end that’s where I need to keep on working.
“Unfortunately I didn’t come away with a medal, but I came away with pride and I’m team captain so I’ll keep a smile on my face.”
Earlier in the session, Lawrence Clarke (Samba Koundy-Giscard) went in the second heat of the men’s 60m hurdles qualifying and had to endure a wait until all heats had finished to see if his fourth placed 7.74secs would make progress to Sunday’s semi-final.
Fortunately it was enough and the Paris based hurdler looked forward to Sunday:
“It was a smooth performance, but it wasn’t very fast.
“When I’ve run 7.74 before, which is what I ran, I’ve run PB’s in the second round. The guy who beat me did a warm up like it was the final, so come tomorrow these guys will be a bit more fatigued.”
Full results are available on https://www.iaaf.org/competitions/iaaf-world-indoor-championships/iaaf-world-indoor-championships-5681/timetable/byday