Moving up two big steps from her finish two years ago, Fabiana Murer took an unexpected but certainly deserved victory in the women’s Pole Vault.
For the second straight global championship, the event’s Queen, Yelena Isinbayeva, failed to impress. After a no-height in Berlin last summer, the Russian was a dismal fourth here and out of the medals.
“I really don’t know what happened,” was in a nutshell, the best Isinbayeva could muster to explain her outing here. “Maybe I was too tired emotionally. It looks like 2009 and 2010 are bad for me.” Entering the competition at 4.60m, she cleared on her first go, but followed up with three misses at 4.75m, none very close for a woman who has soared 25 centimetres higher.
While the spotlight in the event over the past half decade has shined almost exclusively on the Russian, that should not take away from Murer’s performance in the Qatari capital. Gradually improving over the past several seasons in Isinbayeva’s shadow, Murer brought strong momentum to Doha with her and was the class of the field.
Opening at 4.50m, she cleared that on her first try; first attempt clearances at 4.60m and 4.70m followed. When the bar was raised to 4.75m, she was tied with former World champion Svetlana Feofanova, who produced a clear slate as well. This was where the Brazilian missed for the first time, needing all three attemptes before moving on and staying alive.
Feofanova meanwhile passed that height, leaving Murer the first to try at 4.80m, a height just two centimetres shy of the Brazilian record she raised this year. Striding confidently, the 28-year-old cleared with several centimetres to spare to retake control and heap the pressure on Feofanova. The Russian missed her first but sailed clear on her second. 4.85m proved too much for the pair, giving the gold to Murer, the first for a Brazilian woman at the World Indoor Championships.
“This is just a dream come true,” said Murer. “I knew it would be difficult with all the world’s top women here. I was just the best today.”
Murer trains on occasion with Isinbayeva and credited the Russian, at least in part, for her continued rise. “I learn a lot from her, her strength, and how she trains. This medal just gives me the energy to keep training hard and improving.” Next up, she said is 4.85, then 4.90. “And then five metres.”
“I’m back,” said Feofanova, who also finished second in 2001, and third in 2004 and 2006. “There were many people who didn’t believe in me after my injuries but I hope this medal persuaded them to change their mind.”
Anna Rogowska of Poland, who took best advantage of Isinbayeva’s blow out in Berlin last year to claim that World title, finished third after topping out at 4.70m. The 28-year-old, who was second at the 2006 World indoors, improved her national record to 4.81m this winter.
Like Isinbayeva, Czech Jirina Ptacnikova topped out at 4.60m, equalling her PB, to finish fifth. Canada’s Kelsie Hendry (4.50m) was sixth and the lone German finalist, Kristina Gadschiew (4.40m) was seventh.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF