Donald Thomas competes in the men’s high jump qualification at the World Athletics Championships at the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing. (AP)
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
It wasn’t the type of performance that neither high jumper Donald Thomas nor quarter-miler Steven Gardiner expected in their performances coming off the 15th IAAF World Championships.
Both Thomas and Gardiner were the only two Bahamians invited to participate in the Weltklasse Zurich Diamond League Meet yesterday. The meet was the first to be held since the completion of the nine-day IAAF Championships last week in Beijing, China.
Competing in his specialty in the men’s high jump, Thomas cleared just 2.19 metres or 7-feet, 2 1/4-inches to finish in a two-way tie for seventh place with American JaCorian Duffield. Taking the victory was Mutz Essa Barshim of Qatar with 2.32m (7-7 1/4) as he avenged his missed opportunity to get on the podium in Beijing.
Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko got second with 2.30m (7-6 1/2) and China’s Guowei Zhang took third with the same height. World champion Derek Drouin finished at the bottom of the pile at 2.19m (7-2 1/4).
At the World Championships, Droiun clinched the gold in a three-way jump off with 2.34m (7-8). Zhang and Bondarenko were tied for the silver with 2.33m (7-7 3/4). Thomas, one of two Bahamians in the final (joined by Trevor Barry), was sixth with 2.29m (7-6).
In a field that resembled the final of the men’s 400m as well, Gardiner could run no faster than 45.90 seconds that placed him eighth overall. Winning the race was LaShawn Merritt, the American silver medallist, in 44.18. Kirani James, the silver medallist from Grenada, got second in 44.28.
They both avenged their loss to Wayde van Niekerk from the Republic of South Africa, who was third in 44.35. Luguelin Santos had to settle for fourth in a national record of 44.11 for the Dominican Republic.
If you remember, van Niekerk turned in a world-leading time of 43.48 to pull off the gold at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing and had to be taken to the hospital for treatment after the race. Merritt turned in a personal best of 43.65 for the silver and James held onto the bronze in a seaon’s best of 43.78.
In the same position, Santos got fourth in Zurich in 45.03.
The Zurich meet was one of the 14 meets on the IAAF Diamond League where athletes compete for points to be a part of the final rankings. Winners of each Diamond Race will get a Diamond Trophy, a cash prize, a wild card for the IAAF World Championships (certain conditions apply) but more importantly, will have shown season long consistency to earn the unchallenged honour of being the World No. 1.
While Thomas sits in seventh place in the high jump standings with two points, Gardiner is not listed in the men’s 400m.
The last meet in the Diamond League series is set for Brussels on Friday, September 11.