Yelena Isinbayeva sets a World Record of 5.06m in the pole vault in Zurich (Getty Images) © Copyright
"I am very excited to return to competition!” said the two-time Olympic champion and World record holder, who will end a ten-month sabbatical from the sport in the Russian capital on 6 February when she’ll be the marquee attraction at the third IAAF Indoor Permit Meeting of the year.
“I am motivated, healthy and very pleased with my condition at this stage in my training. My coach, Vitaliy Petrov and I have spent a lot of time working on the basics of our training programme to give me a solid base. So I am very happy to get back into competition and do what I enjoy the most."
Isinbayeva, now 28, spent the greater part of the past decade redefining her event. In addition to her back-to-back Olympic triumphs, Isinbayeva won five World Championship golds (3 indoor/ 2 outdoor) and amassed a collection of 27 World records - 15 outdoors; 12 Indoors; 17 overall. Both of her current World records, 5.06m outdoors and 5.00m indoors, were set in 2009.
But after a pair of back-to-back high profile sub-par performances – first at the 2009 World Championships where she no-heighted, and again at last year’s World Indoor Championships in Doha, where she finished fourth – Isinbayeva decided to take a break from the sport to give her body a rest from the rigours of eight straight years of high level training and competition.
While she’s not offering any predictions, Isinbayeva insists that her focus will be returning to her winning ways.
"Of course I want to do my best and I am focused on winning each competition,” Isinbayeva said. “I will start in Moscow, then compete in Donetsk at Sergey Bubka's Pole Vault All-Stars meeting and possibly one or two competitions before the European Indoors Championships.”
“And I am confident that things will go well this season,” she continued. “My indoor season will be relatively short - just a few competitions. But I expect to do my best at each competition."
Isinbayeva opened her 2010 season at the Moscow Winter meeting, clearing 4.85m, her season’s best and the highest indoor leap of the year.
"I love to compete in Russia!” she said. “I love to perform in front of my fans at this meeting. And I really enjoy supporting my federation and encouraging youth to be active in sport."
The meeting's main programme will consist of 13 events. The men's side includes the 60m, 400m, 600m, 60m Hurdles, Long Jump and High Jump; while women will compete in the 60m, 400m, 600m, 1000m, 60m Hurdles, Long Jump, and Pole Vault.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF