Athletics-Tamberi through to high jump final after mighty scare

By Mitch Phillips

EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) – Italy’s joint Olympic champion Gianmarco Tamberi advanced to the high jump final at the World Athletics Championships on Friday but only after twice flirting with disaster in the qualifying round.

Tamberi, who famously asked an official if he could share gold in Tokyo with Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim, 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, lay 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 Qatari 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 underlined his status as a strong medal hope as he also sailed through without any fails. Thirteen men will compete in the final.

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Christian Radnedge)