07 MAR 2004 General News

Men Pole Vault Final

Prior accolades meant nothing when it came to assigning medals in the pole vault, as relatively unheralded jumpers took the top honours.

Russia's Igor Pavlov, the list leader at 5.80 for several weeks earlier in the year, saw that same height prevail as the gold-medal performance, as the rest of the field found this height just as impossible today as they have for most of the season.

The 24-year-old Muscovite, whose highest previous honour had been the silver medal at last year's Universiade, started the day with a failure at his opening height of 5.50, but after that he was perfect through 5.80.  The Russian then ended the day with three misses at 5.85, while watching his would-be challengers attempt to attack his position with isolated remaining attempts at that height.

Adam Ptacek of the Czech Republic, whose previous top achievement was the bronze at the 1998 World Junior Championships, also used a perfect record from his starting 5.40 up through his ending 5.70 to claim the silver medal.

The bronze medal went to Denys Yurchenko, who finished sixth in Paris last summer, by virtue of his first-attempt success at 5.70.  The compactly-built (1.73m) Ukrainian went down fighting, passing his third attempt at a would-be PB 5.80 to take a shot at a win at 5.85. 

Paris bronze medallist Patrik Kristiansson of Sweden finished in fourth at 5.70, losing out on the countback after a first-attempt miss at that height.  It certainly didn't help his concentration in the final stages of the competition to see his fiancee, long jumper Carolina Kluft, taken from the arena on a stretcher after a jumping injury. 

Defending champion Tim Lobinger of Germany placed fifth, also at 5.70, while Paris champion Giuseppe Giblisco of Italy was sixth at 5.60.  Gibilisco tried some of the passing strategy which had worked so marvelously last summer, but his single attempt at 5.85, which could have pulled off another win, was not successful. 

The 2003 outdoor season leader, Romain Mesnil of France, had an inconsistent day which peaked at 5.60 for seventh place.  The eighth finalist was Holland's Rens Blom, the Birmingham bronze medallist, who had a rare no-height at 5.60.