Russia's Dmitriy Starodubtsev won an enthralling pole vault contest, improving his personal best by 20 centimetres for 5.50, and holding off the World Youth champion German Chiaraviglio, the young Argentinian, who cleared 5.45 to win silver. Bronze went to the Chinese vaulter Feiliang Liu, who also cleared 5.45 but lost out on countback, having needed two efforts to clear 5.35, a height Chiaraviglio went over first time.
The competition started with the bar raised to 4.90 and Chiaravigglio soared over first time, as did Bjorn Venghaus (GER) with Naoya Kawaguchi (JPN) needing a second time clearance. All the other finalists passed.
There were no surprises at 5.00, but at 5.10 Kawaguchi, Fedas and Venghaus left the competition. The bar was now raised to 5.20, with Liu going clear, as did Chip Heuser (USA), Benjamin Renaudeau (FRA) and Charles Andureu (FRA) all with personal bests. Starodubtsev entered the competition at this time, going over cleanly with his opening vault.
With the bar now at 5.25, the Greek Kostandinos Filippidis made a successful first attempt, while Chiaraviglio struggled, going over only with his last attempt. Sweden’s Jesper Fritz also made it through with a second attempt clearance, while the five other remaining athletes opted to pass.
With the bar now at 5.30, three immediate casualties were Andureu, Renaudeau and Heuser. Liu cleared first time (as he had at every previous height) to remain in first place, Starodubtsev moved into second with a clearance on his second attempt, while Filippidis, Fritz and Chiaraviglio passed.
At 5.35, Filippidis and Starodubtsev cleared first time, but Liu and Chiaraviglio needed 2 attempts, and Fritz had one failure before passing. At 5.40, Liu was back in contention for gold by clearing first time, but so did Chiaraviglio and Starodubtsev. Fritz went out of the contest and Filippidis passed.
At 5.45, Starodubtsev moved into the lead with an emphatic first time clearance, with Chiaraviglio failing once, but then clearing as Liu and Filippidis both failed three times to go out of the competition.
The decisive round saw the Argentinian and the Russian both fail at 5.45, but Starodubtsev got over second time for a superb new pb. After a second failure at this height, Chiaraviglio decided to pass, but he could only knock the bar off with his first, and last, attempt at 5.55.