Two clearances and four failures was the extent of the effort which allowed World and Olympic champion and World record holder Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia to take the win and the 30,000USD prize for first place today.
At the third height of the afternoon (4.20, and 4.35 were the opening bars) the field of eight competitors was already down to seven, and now the rest started to struggle as the competition reached 4.50. The only athlete retaining a clean score card - through each of the heights - was Russia’s Tatyana Polnova who had won this competition in 2003.
At this point, Isinbayeva, the defending WAF winner, had as usual not even considered entering the event, preferring to reserve her energy for an expected World record bid later in the afternoon.
4.62, the next height, was the moment for the 23-year-old to enter the fray and she passed it with ease. That height saw the end of Polnova’s challenge (enough for third place) and that of two others.
Continuing to the next height (4.74) with the World record holder, was Pole Monika Pyrek by virtue of a third time clearance at 4.62 but the extra 12 centimetres was two much for the World silver medallist who exited at this point. Still she had secured second position in the event and 20,000USD.
Not that Isinbayeva looked too confident at 4.74, coming down heavily on the bar on her first approach. But it was back to business as usual on her second attempt which was taken high and clear over the bar.
With her second height cleared and the competition won, the bar was duly raised to what would have been a new World record of 5.02. Isinbayeva’s first attempt was close, the bar brought down by a slight touch from her ribcage. The final two efforts were not close at all.