Team GB's Robbie Grabarz shares high jump bronze medal

 

Robbie Grabarz completed a remarkable rise by taking a share of the Olympic bronze medal in the high jump tonight.

The 24-year-old had first-time clearances up to 2.29 metres before three failures at 2.33m sent him out of the competition.

Canadian Derek Drouin and Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim had exactly the same record to share third place with the Briton.

Grabarz is one of the British team's most colourful characters, leaving a university course he cannot remember the full name of, posing naked for a gay magazine and admitting to looking vacant all the time because he deliberately empties his head at night.

Even more remarkable is the fact that he finished 2011 ranked 28th in the world and saw his Lottery funding removed for failing to meet performance targets.

He even considered quitting athletics last year to restore classic cars for a living before a few harsh words from coach Fuzz Ahmed turned his career around.

Ivan Yukhov took the gold medal as the only man to clear 2.36m and 2.38m.

It was the Russian's first major outdoor title.

American Erik Kynard took the silver with a 2.33 clearance, with compatriot Jesse Williams, the world champion, finishing back in joint ninth.

Grabarz was greeted by a huge roar from the crowd on a cool night whenever he was about to start his run-up and appeared to thrive in the atmosphere, clearing his first two heights comfortably.

He was unable to match his season's and personal best of 2.36m, but third place still represents a huge achievement.

Germany's Robert Harting took gold in the discus with a throw of 68.27m.

He celebrated in style by whipping his top off and embarking on a lap of honour draped in the German flag before leaping over the barriers set out for the 100m hurdles final to cheers from the stands.

Iran's Ehsan Hadadi took silver with 68.18m and Estonia's Gerd Kanter bronze with 68.03.

Lawrence Okoye's hopes of an discus medal disappeared with a disappointing performance.

The 20-year-old, who produced a throw of 65.28 metres in qualifying, could only manage a best of 61.03m to end the competition in 12th place.

The former rugby player, who has deferred a place at Oxford to study law to concentrate on athletics, was appearing in his first major championship in his home town.

And despite huge support from the crowd, he could not not build on his opening effort, following with a foul and then 60.11m to miss the top-eight cut.

He said: "I think I was trying a bit too hard today but it's come and gone now and I have to move on.

"I didn't anticipate coming last in the final.

"It's been a good couple of years. Obviously it's ended in failure, but I gave it my all, maybe a bit too much.

"I felt more relaxed than yesterday and ready to throw far. I was trying too hard, it's something I've got to learn."

Asked about his future, he said: "I don't know, I'm going to have to wait and see. I've got some decisions to make. Obviously this is very disappointing, now I've got to think about my future."

PA

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