SPORTS

Cyprus gets its first ever medal winner at worlds

Cypriot athlete Kyriakos Ioannou became his country’s first ever medal winner at World Championship level by capturing third place in the men’s high jump yesterday at the worlds in Osaka. Ioannou broke two national records on his way to the bronze medal with a 2.35-meter performance, which equals this year’s best leap in the world. It was a three-way tie for the event’s top trio, whose final placings were determined by their number of attempts. Bahamian Donald Thomas, a breakthrough athlete who is only in his second season of serious competition, was the surprise winner, clearing 2.35 meters on his first attempt. Russia’s 2005 silver medalist Yaroslav Rybakov ended second. Six men were left standing at 2.33 and it was Olympic champion Stefan Holm who set the standard, clearing easily at his first attempt, followed by Rybakov who scraped over. Ioannou improved Cyprus’s national record on his second try before Thomas, the only non-European athlete left, cleared on his third and final jump. But Holm couldn’t make it over 2.35 and Thomas shook up the final when he bounded over in one go to set up a three-way shoot-out with Rybakov and Ioannou. None of the trio could manage 2.37. Yuriy Krymarenko of Ukraine, the surprise winner in 2005, failed to make the final. None of the jumpers threatened Cuban Javier Sotomayor’s world record of 2.45 set in Salamanca in 1998. In the women’s triple jump, Greece’s Pygi Devetzi, a silver medalist at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and the Europeans a year later, breezed into the event’s final with a 15.09-meter jump, this year’s second best in the world. Another Greek athlete, Tassos Gousis, qualified for the men’s 200-meter final by ending in fourth place in his semifinal heat with a time of 20.33 seconds. (Kathimerini/AFP)