Qatar’s reigning world champion Mutaz Barshim and his Italian rival Gianmarco Tamberi were among 13 high jumpers who made it to the final round on the opening day of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22, yesterday.
Barshim cleared the bar at 2.28 metres in his first attempt to advance at Hayward Field in Eugene, United States.
Tamberi, who shared the Tokyo 2020 gold medal with the Qatari star, also advanced, but only after twice flirting with disaster in the qualifying round.
Tamberi failed twice at the relatively modest height of 2.25 metres and left the bar wobbling as he scraped over with his third and final attempt.
The Italian, who cleared 2.37 in that Olympic final and has a season’s best of 2.31, laid back on the landing pad with his arms outstretched in relief.
It was short-lived however as he then failed his first two attempts at 2.28 but, with elimination looming, he got over.
There were no such problems for Barshim as the 31-year-old began his bid for a third successive world tile with an untroubled display to sail into Monday’s final.
World indoor champion Woo Sang-hyeok of Korea also underlined his status as a strong medal hope as he also sailed through without any fails.
The final will start at 3.45 am Qatar time on July 19.