Isinbayeva claims third world title
By Luke Phillips ,AFPMOSCOW -- Russian Yelena Isinbayeva cemented her place in the pantheon of track and field greats by winning a third world pole vault title on home soil at the World Athletics Championships on Tuesday.
August 15, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
It was a first global title for the 31-year-old two-time Olympic champion since she won at the Beijing Games in 2008, and made a mockery of suggestions that her powers are waning and retirement beckons.
Isinbayeva completely dominated the event in the run up to those Olympics in the Chinese capital, breaking the world record an incredible 28 times (13 indoor and 15 outdoor), before and just after, as she revolutionized the event.
But she finished sixth on her last outing at the worlds, in Daegu two years ago. On home soil in front of an expectant crowd at the Luzhniki Stadium, there could be only one Isinbayeva who turned up — one to win.
“It was the best ever support,” said Isinbayeva, who confirmed she would be taking 18 months out to have a baby with the goal of making a comeback at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I felt like I was at home, that everyone was behind me. I absorbed that and it resulted in a gold. The support was just colossal.”
The world record holder with a massive 5.06m set in 2009, but bronze medalist at the London Olympics, came into the competition at 4.65m.
Amid roars from the best crowd yet at the stadium, Isinbayeva needed two attempts to clear that height, but a cool vault over 4.75m and suddenly all the pressure was on American Olympic champion Jennifer Suhr, who had entered at 4.55m.
Vaulting after Isinbayeva, the tension was palpable in the stadium and despite seeming to slip across the face of the bar, she muscled her way over to land 4.75m.
Germany's Silke Spiegelburg, fourth in the London Games, then joined the party with an equally comfortable vault over the same height, a season's best, Cuban Yarisley Silva sailing over shortly after.
Brazil's defending world champion Fabiana Murer, however, flunked three efforts at 4.75m to bow out of the competition, along with Russian Anastasia Savchenko.
Isinbayeva was next up and botched her first effort at 4.82m. But she clinched her second, promptly matched by Suhr. Spiegelburg then crashed out as Silva went clear.
The bar was raised to 4.89m and Isinbayeva did not disappoint, the crowd reacting in a way not even afforded to normal star attraction, Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt, when he won the 100m on Sunday.
Rushing after her, Suhr, her black hair held back by a sparkly red aliceband, looked labored and this time the cries from the crowd were in reaction to the American's failure.
Her second and third attempts were also botched, television cameras panning in on a grinning Isinbayeva cheekily giving the thumbs-up as the field cut to two.
“It was a great night for the spectators and one of the best competitions I've ever been involved in,” said Suhr.
“I'm very happy for Yelena because she managed to please the home crowd. She really raised the standard of this event.”