Evgeniy Lukyanenko of Russia improved his own personal best and World leading performance of the year to 5.90m to take the Pole Vault World Indoor title on the third and final day of competition here in Valencia.
The 23-year-old Osaka finalist edged defending World Indoor champion Brad Walker whose best of the day was a lucky first time clearance at 5.85.
Australia’s Steven Hooker, who had been in the lead up until 5.80m had to settle for bronze, the 25-year-old Commonwealth champion failing once at 5.85 and twice at 5.90.
While Hooker and Lukyanenko had a clean sheet up to 5.80, Walker missed his opening attempt at 5.70, cleared and then passed the next two heights.
With all other athletes in the field including 2003 World Indoor champion Tim Lobinger of Germany and defending World silver medallist Alhaji Jeng of Sweden exiting at 5.80, the contenders were soon down to three.
Osaka gold medallist, Walker watched Hooker first and Lukyanenko second fail their first attempt at 5.85. It was then that the 26-year-old American had luck on his side as despite touching the bar and it wobbling for long minutes, it didn’t fall.
At this point, it was Walker in gold medal position with Hooker and Lukyanenko in joint second. Hooker decided to pass his second attempt; Lukyanenko decided to take it. He sailed over the bar equalling his own World leading mark.
Lukyanenko was now alone in silver medal position with Hooker down to bronze.
Walker, whose indoor PB 6.00m was set in the summer of 2006 made a move that probably cost him the gold as he decided to pass yet again. Walking up and down the infield he watched Lukyanenko clear 5.90 with his very first try.
If he wanted to recover first position he had no choice but to sail over a would be indoor PB 5.95. Unfortunately for the American champion his momentum had passed and he had to settle for the second silver of his collection to go with his medal from the Helsinki Outdoor Championships.
For Lukyanenko it is his first international medal and suitable, it's gold.
“I’m very happy, it’s been a good competition. I won it and I’m very satisfied about my jump,” said Lukyanenko.
Walker too was pleased with his result. “I had to do an indoor PB to win this medal and I am pretty satisfied. I have gambled a little bit by starting at 5.70 but I was a little bit fatigued after yesterday’s qualifying and I wanted to make as few jumpers as possible today.”
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF