BEIJING — Canada's Derek Drouin took his first step towards claiming another world championship medal on Friday.
The 25-year-old from Corunna, Ont., easily qualified for Sunday's high jump final, clearing the qualifying mark of 2.31 metres on his first attempt.
"I'm feeling confident," Drouin said. "I'm definitely happy with how today went, it gives me more confidence going into Sunday."
Drouin and Zhang Guowei of China were the only jumpers on the day to go clean, clearing the bar on the first attempt at all five heights.
Canada has four medals at the world championships, and Drouin — bronze medallist at both the 2012 London Olympics, and 2013 world championships — is one of the country's best hopes to add to the pot.
Drouin believes it could take a jump of 2.40 — his Canadian record — to win gold.
"I wouldn't put anything past any of the guys in that field. You never know when 2.40 isn't going to be enough to get onto the podium hopefully that isn't the case," he said.
Drouin set his Canadian record in April of last year, and the plan going into this season was to be at his best later in the season.
"That was definitely the focus after last year. It wasn't necessarily a problem last year because there wasn't a huge championship," said Drouin, who won last summer's Commonwealth Games with a jump of 2.31. "This year I definitely wanted to change that because I did struggle to maintain a little bit last year.
"It was pretty frustrating for me early on (this season), I was jumping heights much lower than I'm used to jumping. But things have really turned around during the big competition season and obviously I'm satisfied with it now, as tough as it was a few months ago."
Mike Mason of Nanoose Bay, B.C., missed on all three of his attempts at 2.29 and was eliminated.
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press