World record for Isinbayeva makes the night in Rome; Down to two for the $1 Million


Rome, Italy - Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia broke her own World record in the womens Pole Vault with a stupendous 5.03m victory** at the 28th Golden Gala Kinder+Sport, the third fixture of the six meet ÅF Golden League 2008, in Romes Olympic stadium tonight (Friday 11 July).
In the season long, six meet campaign for the $1 Million ÅF Golden League Jackpot, three of the five potential claimants faltered at this third hurdle in Rome.

Isinbayeva counter attacks

Such is the athletic brilliance of Russias Yelena Isinbayeva that there is virtually not enough room in any paragraph of reasonable length to list her career achievements which is not a bad achievement in itself for any 26-year-old athlete.

But with 9 August 2005, the date on which she had established her existing World record of 5.01m, edging into the mists of athletics history there have been constant criticisms in the last two seasons, especially after a change of coach in the winter of 2005/ 2006 that her career path had stagnated. The questions had intensified in the build up to Rome which was Isinbayevas season opener because of Jenn Stuczynskis 4.92m Area Record at the US Olympic trials last weekend.

Isinbayeva counter attacked and silenced all critics this evening in the best way possible with a two centimetres improvement in her World record with a margin of clearance over the bar that indicated there is plenty more to come from her this season.

A few days ago I felt my technique was terrible but today it was very good, said tonights World record breaker. I expected it, I expected to break the World record.

The 5.03m was taken on her second approach to that bar, and she had also had to take two attempts at 4.95, having opened very well with successful first time performances at 4.70 and 4.85.

Monika Pyrek of Poland equalled her PB with 4.75m for second place, and Germanys Silke Spiegelburg was third with a PB of her own 4.70.

Vlasic and Jelimo prevail without challenge

Blanka Vlasic was of course supreme in the womens High Jump with a clean score card in a straight run of five heights, starting at 1.85m and ending at 2.00m. But there was to be no Blanka samba in celebration on the landing mat, as while the Croatian World champion was unopposed in the competition, she must have expected to progress over 2.05m. Her second attempt was near but the other two fell way sort of such desires. But Vlasic remained upbeat, Im happy. My main goal was to win, and she remains in the Jackpot hunt.

No one else in the field, which included Olympic titleholder Yelena Slesarenko (second) and European champion Tia Helebaut (third), could go higher than 1.98m.

There were equally no surprises in the womens 800m. Paced by 2001 World 400m champion Amy Mbacke Thiam of Senegal through 400m (58.48) and a little beyond, after that the race was only about one athlete, African champion Pamela Jelimo. The win this time for the 18-year-old Kenyan World Junior record holder was 1:55.69, a meet record.

Sensational is much overused in the context of feats of sport but not in the case of this Kenyan marvel who could claim none of the superlatives mentioned in the previous paragraph before this season started.

All ten finishers went below 2 minutes and within that quality pack Australias World Indoor champion Tamsyn Lewis achieved a seasons best of 1:59.43 (6th).

So two had battled successfully through on the third stage of their quest for the $1 Million ÅF Golden League Jackpot but as we will recount later on by the end of the night the hopes of three others had been blown away in the warm air of the Rome night sky.

Chris Turner for the IAAF

**NOTE. World record subject to usual ratification procedures

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