Wilson, Thomas compete in Doha

A pair of Bahamian high jumpers was able to experience some action in the year’s second Diamond League Meet – the 2021 Wanda Diamond League Doha at the Qatar Sports Club in Doha, Qatar, on Friday.

In the men’s high jump, one of 32 Diamond disciplines in a series of meets this year, Jamal Wilson, finished tied for fifth with former World and Olympic Champion Derek Drouin, of Canada, who has battled injuries over the past four seasons. Both were able to clear 2.24 meters (m) – 7’ 4”, on Friday, and both did so on their second attempts. Both failed on all three of their attempts at 2.27m (7’ 5-1/4”).

The other Bahamian in the competition, former World Champion Donald Thomas, now 14 years removed from that world title in Osaka, Japan, was eighth on Friday with a clearance of 2.20m (7’ 2-1/2”). Thomas is yet to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games, and if he is unsuccessful, it will be the first global meet that he misses in his 15-year athletic career.

Thomas, now 36 years old, struggled in the competition on Friday, knocking the bar down twice at the opening height of 2.15m (7’ 0-1/2”), and once more at 2.20m. He failed on all three of his attempts at 2.24m. The qualifying height for the Olympics is 2.33m (7’ 7-3/4”), and the cutoff date for athletics, with the exception of the marathon and the 50-kilometer race walk, is June 29, 2021.

The rapidly approaching Olympics is set for July 23 to August 8, in Tokyo, Japan.

Ilya Ivanuk, of Russia, but representing the Authorised Neutral Athletes (ANA) due to the global ban for Russia for systemic doping, won the competition on Friday with a clearance of 2.33m. Hometown favorite Mutaz Essa Barshim, the Doha World Champion from two years ago, finished second on Friday, matching a season’s best clearance of 2.30m (7’ 6-1/2”). Andriy 

Protsenko, of the Ukraine, finished third with a season’s best clearance of 2.27m. Australian Brandon Starc also cleared 2.27m, but settled for fourth, losing out in the number of knockdowns to Protsenko.

Wilson and Drouin were tied for fifth, Maksim Nedasekau, of Belarus, also cleared 2.24m but settled for seventh based on number of knockdowns, and Thomas wrapped up the Diamond League with an eighth place finish.

Wilson, 32, has already qualified for the Olympic Games, matching the qualifying height of 2.33m at the Banskobystrická latka Indoor Meet in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia, in February of last year. He is yet to match that height outdoors, but has cleared 2.30m outdoors during the qualifying period.

Wilson has cleared 2.30m or higher four times in his career indoors and three more times outdoors.

Wilson and Thomas were the only two Bahamians in action at the 2021 Wanda Diamond League Doha.

The Diamond League season continues with the Golden Gala Athletics Meet at the Stadio Luigi Ridolfi in Florence, Italy, on Thursday June 10.

The two-day Diamond League Final is set for September 8-9 in Zurich, Switzerland.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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