Ignisious Gaisah, competing at the World Athletics Championship for the first time in the colours of The Netherlands, yesterday secured his place in the final of the men’s long jump event.
Gaisah, with a leap of 7.89m, joined 11 other jumpers for tomorrow’s final.
The 2006 gold medalist at the World Indoor as well as silver medallist in Helsinki world event at the same year for Ghana, succeeded in his national switch, much to the disappointment of Ghanaians, just six weeks before the competition and came under a lot of pressure with the world watching if he would make it.
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Rather than going for a record jump, Gaisah, a dominant champion in Africa, secured his final ticket on his third jump with a save jump of 7.89, nothing near his season’s best of 8.13 or his personal best of 8.43m.
Gaisah, who moments before the competition yesterday tweeted: “ New beginnings. New passport, new life. I welcome every new challenge,” later told IAAF news that he was relieved he was in the final list.
“ There has been much talk about my decision to change nationality from Ghanaian to Dutch so it was important for me to get it right. My interest was not to make the best jump but have one that was good enough for the final. We will see about the final on Friday,” he said, declining to further talk about his nationality switch.
Inevitably with 29 men trying to make the final, there were likely to be some big name casualties in the qualifying rounds and none were bigger than Great Britain’s London 2012 Olympic Games champion Greg Rutherford.
Just a year on from his triumph in front of his home fans, Rutherford had been struggling to bounce back from a hamstring injury sustained at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris last month and managed a best of just 7.87m, well shy of the 8.35m personal best set last year, although he was just two centimetres shy of making the final.
Finalists for men’s long jump:
Group A: Christian Reif (Germany) 8.09, Luis Rivera (Mexico) 8.04, Damar Forbes (Jamaica) 7.96, Li Jinzhe (China) 7.96, Sebestian Bayer (Germany) 7.95, Mauro Vinicius Da Silva Brazil) 7.92
Group B: Caceras Eusebio (Spain), 8.25, Godfrey Khotso Mokoena (South Africa) 8.16, Aleksandr Menkov (Russia), 8.11, Louis Tsatoumas (Greece) 8.00, Dwight Philips (USA) 7.95, Ignisious Gaisah (Netherlands) 7.89.
By Rosalind K. Amoh