Isinbayeva leaps in top form
By Yi Whan-woo
Pole vault great Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia will return to action in Daegu, Tuesday, seeking to redeem herself for the failure at the 2009 Berlin World Championships.
The world record holder will attempt for a victory—something that had once been routine for her before sustaining an injury two years ago.
The two-time Olympic and world champion had bounced back since coming up empty- handed in the Berlin meet; she cleared 5.06 meters to set current world record on Aug. 28, 2009 in Zurich, Switzerland.
Isinbayeva, however, had to suffer another setback until early this year. The Russian failed to secure her fourth consecutive title at the World Indoor Championships in 2010.
The world record holder clearing the record 27 times, however, had sent a clear message to her rivals that she will be the vaulter to beat in Daegu, according to the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), the world’s governing body of track and field.
After this year’s injury, the athlete leapt over 4.85-meter mark at the Pole Vault Stars meet in Donetsk, Ukraine in February. Her performance was good to be ranked in the season’s joint-second place with European indoor champion Anna Rogowska of Poland, behind Jennifer Suhr of the United States who soared 4.91 meters.
Isinbayeva, three-time International Athletics Foundation's Women’s Athlete of the Year, also started the outdoor season vigorously, clearing 4.60 meters July 16 in Heusden, the Netherlands.
The Russian will face tough competition against Rogowska, who seized the victory the European Team Championships in June and also the Diamond League meet in Stockholm on July 29.
Rogowska won her national title by clearing the height of 4.60 meters in Bydgodzcz, Aug. 12, and will spearhead the Polish challenge.
Another threat comes from Suhr, who finished runner-up in the 2008 Bejing Olympics behind Isinbayeva.
The U.S. pole vaulter withdrew from the Berlin meet because of an Achilles injury, but is ready to show her prowess in Daegu with season’s leading 4.91 meters in the Diamond League meet in on July 26 in London.
Other contenders include Silke Spiegelburg of Germany who is expected to clear her personal best of 4.75 meters which she set in the Stockholm meet in June 18.
Together with her compatriot Martina Strutz who raised the bar to set German record of 4.78 meters in July, the German pair will form a formidable team.
Fabina Murer from Brazil with season’s best of 4.71 meters has the potential to break into the competition.
Isinbayeva is also likely to face challenge from her teammate, Svetlana Feofanova. The multi-medalist including bronze in the 2008 Olympics set a 4.70-meter mark in Bydgoszcz meet in February.