Sunday, September 23, 2007

Brad Walker's decision to pass pays off at WAF...


STUTTGART, Germany--In a scenario similar to what he faced three weeks ago in Osaka, reigning world pole vault champion Brad Walker from Mountlake Terrace's gamble to pass a lower height paid off, as he cleared 19-4 3/4 (5.91m) and departed Gottlieb Daimler Stadion with the victory in the IAAF World Athletics Final, along with the $30,000 first prize money.

Walker was mired in fourth place after early misses at 18-4 1/2 (5.60), and 18-10 3/4 (5.76). After Germany's Bjorn Otto cleared 19-2 3/4 to take the lead (5.86), and Walker followed with a miss at that height, the former Washington Husky elected to pass and move on to 19-4-3/4, as a make at 19-2 3/4 would do no good in the standings.

Australia's Steven Hooker and Germany's Danny Ecker were in the same predicament, and followed Walker in passing their two attempts remaining at 19-2 3/4.

Walker was the only man to clear 19-4 3/4 on his second attempt, forcing Otto to pass to 19-6 1/2 (5.96) in order to retake the lead.

Otto failed in his one attempt at 19-6 1/2, giving Walker the win. Walker took a shot at 20-2 1/2 (6.16), the first such attempt at Sergey Bubka of Ukraine's 1994 outdoor world record mark of 20-1 3/4 (6.14) in competition since Tim Mack attempted the same height at the 2004 WAF in Monaco.

Otto took second at 19-2 3/4 (5.86), with Hooker third, and Ecker fourth, with both clearing 19-0 3/4 (5.81).

Walker made two good attempts but couldn't get his grip right on the third, jogging through the pit and then thanking the crowd for their support.

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