Road To The Olympic Games

Isinbayeva breaks world indoor pole vault record

Russian pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva broke her own indoor world record on Thursday, clearing 5.01 metres at the XL Galan meet to beat the old mark by one centimetre.
Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia reacts as she competes to win the women's pole vault on Thursday. (Fredrick Persson/Associated Press)

Russian pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva broke her indoor world record on Thursday, clearing 5.01 metres at the XL Galan meet to beat the old mark by one centimetre.

The two-time Olympic champion cleared the bar on her second attempt at Globe Arena. Her previous record was set in 2009 in Donetsk, Ukraine.

"I am so happy that I came back," an emotional Isinbayeva told the crowd in Stockholm. "I want to say thanks a lot to my coach and to my dear fans and the crowd. Thanks a lot today for your support.

"This was the real comeback. This happened because of my dear coach who made me realize that this is my level."

Holly Bleasdale of Britain was second and Yarisley Silva of Cuba was third, both clearing 4.72.

The record was Isinbayeva's 13th in indoors and 28th in total. But it was her first in two and a half years, since setting the outdoor record of 5.06 in Zurich in August 2009.

Isinbayeva hasn't won at a major championship since defending her Olympic gold in Beijing four years ago. She failed to make the podium at last year's world championships in South Korea, finishing sixth. She had returned to competing earlier in 2011 after a yearlong break.

No 3-peat

At the 2009 worlds in Berlin, the Russian failed to win a third consecutive gold after failing to clear a single height in the final.

Isinbayeva was equivocal when asked if this signalled a permanent return to form.

"I don't know. I just enjoyed myself and the competition and wanted to please my fans," she said. "Of course, I would like set the bar higher and not only one-by-one, but maybe once by three or four centimetres.

"The last time I was this happy was [after winning the gold in] Beijing and when I set the record of 5.06," said the Russian, who is aiming for a third consecutive gold at the London Olympics.

Asked if she thought anyone could beat her at the indoor world championships in Istanbul next month or in London, Isinbayeva responded: "I think you can answer that question."

In the women's high jump, Russian world champion Anna Chicherova won by clearing two metres on her first attempt. Ebba Jungmark of Sweden was second with a jump of 1.94, and Olympic champion Tia Hellebaut of Belgium was third with the same height.

Ukrainian world champion Olha Saladuha won the women's triple jump with a venue-record leap of 14.79 metres. Yargeris Savigne of Cuba was next with 14.47 followed by Britain's Yamile Aldama in 14.44.

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