From BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
in Beijing, China
TWO OF the three male high jumpers have bolstered Team Bahamas' chance of climbing up the medals table at the 15th IAAF World Championship here when they compete in the final on Sunday night at the Bird's Nest National Stadium.
Donald Thomas,looking to regain the form that enabled him to win the 2007 world title in Osaka, Japan, and Trevor Barry, coming off his silver medal performance at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, last month, clinched their berths in the final.
They both finished in a five-way tie for 10th place with 2.29 metres (7ft 6in) and will be among a field of 14 of the top jumpers on the planet when the high jump take the spotlight on Sunday, starting at 6.30 am EST.
Team Bahamas was hoping for a triple threat, but national champion Ryan Ingraham had to bow out of the competition during the qualification round on Friday with a best of 2.26m (7fft 5in) that left him tied for 25th place overall.
For both Thomas and Barry, they are right where they want to be - in the final.
"It was good. It was an early morning. Thank God I got through the qualification. That is always the most difficult part," Thomas pointed out. "I'm just looking forward to the final."
En route to qualifying, Thomas made the first attempt on all of the heights he had to jump until he got to 2.31m (7ft 7in). He missed for the first time and passed up the second after he realised that he was safely through on countback.
"First attempts are always crucial," Thomas said. "That takes you into the final." And looking forward to the final, he gave this assurance to the Bahamian people.
"You can expect us to go out there and represent the 242 to the best of our abilities," he said. "This is what we train for. It's going to be nice and fun."
The fun for Barry will be in the fact that he is in the final after competing in the event in 2011, but had to skip 2013 because of an injury.
"I'm glad that I made the final," Barry told The Tribune. "That's one step to trying to get to the podium. It was tough competition. It's always a mental thing, just trying to get through on the first attempt."
As for the final, Barry said if both he and Thomas can find their rhythm early, the Bahamas will be a force to be reckoned with in the final. "It's always good to have two countrymen in the final. Unfortunately, we couldn't bring Ryan along, but we're going to go out there and do our thing."
The duo had some comforting words of encouragement for Ingraham, who was nursing a slight left (jumping) knee injury that he sustained at the Pan Am Games, where he followed Barry for the bronze medal.
"It was hot, but it was good jumping temperature, so hopefully I can get it together next year," he said. "Hopefully I can qualify for the Olympics in Rio and I can do better there."
Ingraham said he was more concerned about the injury but was more surprised that he jumped as high as he did.
"It could have been better, I wanted to jumper higher, but I can't feel sad," said Ingraham, in his second non-appearance in the final at the global meet. "Next year. But it was good to be out there with the other three guys."
Once he can take some time of to heal properly, Ingraham said he's looking forward to getting his career back on track.
"This was the worst season that I've had," he said. "I showed up at nationals and I jumped pretty good there. But I wasn't pleased with the way I jumped in the other meets. I know that I could have done better."
On Friday, starting at 10.15pm EST, the Bahamas will run out of lane eight in the last of the two women's 4 x 400m relay heats. The first three and the next two fastest times will advance to the final on Sunday.
Following at 10.40pm EST, the men's 4 x 400m team will run out of lane six in the first of two qualification heats for the final on Sunday. The same scenario applies as to the women.
And the men's 4 x 100m will run at 12.20am EST on Saturday in the first of two heats in lane six to get their spot in the final that will be contested on Saturday at 9.10 am EST.
The nine-day championship will close on Sunday following the final of the men's 4 x 400 relay at 8.25am EST.