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Monday, August 23, 1999 Published at 21:55 GMT 22:55 UK

Injury wrecks Smith's medal dream

Down and out: Smith is forced to accept the inevitable

Steve Smith's desperate attempt at high jump glory was scuppered by injury in the final in Seville on Monday.

Seville 99
The Liverpudlian had tried to play through the pain barrier after tearing his Achilles tendon in the qualifying competition on Saturday.

BBC Athletics Correspondent John Rawling rounds up a night of controversy and injury
His participation in the final had been in doubt right up until the eleventh hour - but after constant treatment he decided to continue his medal campaign.

But Smith's do-or-die bid ended in failure when he pulled up trying to clear his British record height.

Long wait

[ image: Smith hits the bar in his first attempt to launch a challenge]
Smith hits the bar in his first attempt to launch a challenge
The 26-year-old sat out the early stages of the competition and did not actually jump until one hour and 45 minutes after the final had begun in the Olympic Stadium.

Smith went for bust, not attempting a jump until 2.35 metres.

He failed at that height and again at 2.37m before pulling up in agony when attempting one last leap.

He said: "I just wanted to give it my best shot. It was either that or going home and I wasn't going to do that. I'll be back for the Olympics in Sydney."

[ image: Vyacheslav Voronin 's 2.37m jump gave him the win]
Vyacheslav Voronin 's 2.37m jump gave him the win
The outcome was a major blow for Smith, who had returned from a career-threatening neck injury to set what was a world best this year of 2.36m and was attempting to better the World Championship bronze he picked up in 1993.

Russia's Vyacheslav Voronin won the competition with a jump of 2.37m - one centimetre higher than Smith's 1999 best.

Former Briton Brendan Reilly set an Irish record of 2.29m to finish equal eighth.

Champion misses out

Christopher Koskei upset defending champion and fellow Kenyan Wilson Boit Kipketer to claim gold in the men's 3000m steeplechase.

The duo led for most of the race but Koskei proved stronger over the final 200m to seal the win in eight minutes, 11.76 seconds.

Kipketer was second in 8:12.09 with Ali Ezzine of Morocco taking the bronze medal at 0.64 seconds behind.

Favourite Bernard Barmasai lost his first race of the season when he came fifth in 8:13.51.

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