13 JUL 2003 General News

Women Pole Vault Final

Inclement weatherand that is putting it mildly - forced the cancellation of the qualifying rounds which had been scheduled two days earlier and, as a consequence,  all 20 athletes were advanced to the final. It made for a long afternoon but an exciting competition nonetheless. 

The field included the world leader Elizaveta Ryshich,  German of Russian descent, at 4.10m. Notably absent was the Chinese athlete Yingying Zhao (4.10m) who tops the world with Ryshich. According to Chinese team officials she is actually too old to compete here.
   
With twelve athletes electing to jump at the opening height of 3.35m Ryshich had trouble staying warm and loose. It took well over an hour to get to 3.70m the height at which she decided to enter the competition. She cleared it on her first attempt, missed once at 3.80 and then joined four other athletes at 3.90m.

Meanwhile Sviatlana Makarevich of Belarus came in at 3.50m and didn’t miss until 3.90m which was her personal best. Nervous perhaps, she took two attempts to make it and went into the gold medal position with a successful jump at 4.00m. Both Charmaine Lucock of Australia and Ryshich’s German teammate Kim Kuhnert  also made  4.00m but had earlier misses.

When Ryshich missed her first two jumps at 4.00m she  gambled.Passing on her third attempt she waited for the bar to be raised to 4.05m knowing if she missed she would be out of the medals. If she cleared it she was virtually guaranteed a medal. The gamble paid off.  With remarkable composure she sailed over the bar to snatch the gold from Makarevich.

The Belarussian missed all three tries at 4.05m but retained the silver while the bronze went to Lucock. Although Kuhnert also cleared a personal best of 4.00m she goes home without a medal. And Ryshich, who doesn’t turn 15 until September 27th  celebrated becoming the youngest ever World Youth Champion.