TOKYO — Brazil’s Thiago Braz, 27, gold medalist at the Rio Games, is graded for a pole vault decision in Tokyo, centered on one of the most exciting finals of the last Olympics, Nilton Santos. He, who holds the Olympic record in Brazil in 2016 with 6.03m, qualified for the decision with a mark of 5.75 made in the second attempt (8th place). Three of the 12 finalists scored 5.65 runs. The current indoor and outdoor world record holder, 21-year-old Swede Armand Duplantis, entered the decision with the same brand as Thiago, but with a more substantial jump on the first attempt. Rio-2016’s 6.03m is Brazil’s career-best mark, achieved in the Olympic final and at home:
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That’s the secret of athletes, the brilliance of competition… Anything can inspire us. Family, path, wishes and dreams… and, of course, remember that this is an Olympics. I don’t know what could happen, but I expect to make a big leap. I have to be there, in the atmosphere, see how the race is about to start and adjust to the warm-up. I will try my best not to miss any attempt. Even without the public as it was in Rio, this final is the same,” Braz said.
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He, who had a poor start to the cycle, said he does not yet know at what height the final should start, but believes the podium will come with a mark above 5.90m. Over the past five years, he said he has occasionally jumped above 5.90m in outdoor and indoor competitions.
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In the official outdoor competitions of World Athletics, he managed to surpass the mark only once, when he jumped 5.92m in the 2019 stage in Monaco, the Dimond League. In 2021 and 2020, it made 5.82 in Poland and Berlin respectively.
This period ahead was good for me to focus on and adjust to the technical details. This year in 2021 I got good results, but of course I didn’t do 6.00m or 5.90m which would have put me first in the rankings. But if you look at my trajectory in 2021, it was a stable year. I tried adjusting it to get consistent results. I look forward to maintaining that grip in the finals, having fewer flaws and getting closer to or reaching the medals. – I am fine and with good hopes for the final. I hope I can jump well in the finals. Qualifying is always more nerve-wracking, but it worked.
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Thiago, who trains with Vitaly Petrov in Formia, Italy, went to Brazil in 2018 while cycling, but returned to Europe because of the training structure. The year 2018, in particular, was the most complicated. He had got some scratches. There were three injuries in three months: sprained both calves, back and left leg.
– Family comfort is important to us and I am back. But I went back to Italy to prepare myself for the Olympics. In Brazil, we have some difficulties. There are places where we don’t have the support we need. The Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) supports athletes, but we lack clubs. Few people in the country got the opportunity to prepare well for the Games. And that was my case.
On this subject Brez said that he is sad. He is the only person without a club among 54 athletes in the Brazilian athletics delegation. He was sacked by the club Pinheiros in So Paulo, but did not want to criticize the institution.
– I don’t have a club, they decided that way and I can’t do anything. it’s sad. I don’t know what happened. I was very upset too… I won’t criticize it, but it was sad. And I don’t think it just depends on our marketing, the company (N&N, Neymar’s family). It depends on whether the clubs are interested in helping the sport. not just me. The game is lacking and needs more support. I suffered and many athletes suffered. I want it to be better after the Games.
Brees is not the favorite in the pole vault final decision, on the 3rd, at 7:20 a.m., Brasilia time. The spotlight will be on Swedish Armand Duplantis. He jumped 6.15m (outdoor) and 6.18m (indoor) in 2020 and was recognized as the best athlete in athletics on the planet by the sport’s international federation. One of the strongest contestants in this competition, Sam Kendrick of USA was forced to leave the competition due to positive result of COVID-19.
Duplantis entered the qualifying event early, tried over 5.50m and took the baton with him. It passed on the second attempt at this point. Later, it passed the baton at 5.65m and 5.75m.
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Thiago Brees jumped 5.50m and failed to advance in the first attempt. On the second jump, he crossed the mark well. He went to 5.65m to put himself ahead of the competition, as he would not qualify for a decision with a second attempt at 5.50m. Thiago was the first competitor to try 5.75m and did not pass. But he completed the jump in the second attempt.
Silver at Rio-2016, French Renaud Lavillenie entered the race in her third attempt with just 5.50m. But with a straight jump of 5.75m, he placed himself in the finalist (he missed the first jump by 5.65, but got right the second time).
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Another strong competitor is the Polish Piotr Lisek. He did 5.50 meters easily. It was difficult to pass 5.65m (successful only in third attempt) and qualified for 5.75 in third jump.
Another Brazilian in the race, Augusto Dutra, was unable to make a decision. He entered the race with 5.30m and jumped first. Then he jumped 5.50 meters in the first attempt as well. But, did not complete the flight on the first attempt of 5.65. By this time he passed in the second attempt and then tried 5.75m. He failed to touch this height in three attempts and finished the standings with 5.65.
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– It was great (my participation), better than 2016. It was a tough test. Many details make a difference. On my last attempt, I paused for details of the bar that might lie ahead. It happens anyway. Tough test, but I was happy.