29 August 2011Daegu, Korea - Poland's Pawel Wojciechowski was crowned World Pole Vault champion in a competition which in the preliminary round and then the final saw Steve Hooker and Romain Mesnil the 2009 gold and silver medallists eliminated.
Without a doubt Wojciechowski will be patting himself on the back after making the tactical decision after a first time failure at 5.85m to save his last two attempts for when it was raised a further five centimetres.
The foresight and outcome won him Poland's first ever men's Championship Pole Vault medal and came as an even bigger surprise than when Anna Rogowska triumphed for the European nation two years ago in Berlin.
Wojciechowski winner of this year's European U23 title beat off the challenges of his slightly older rival Cuba's Lazaro Borges 25, on count back with a shared height of 5.90m - both National records - while France's pre-event favourite Renaud Lavillenie finished third clearing 5.85m.
The 22-year-old champion has actually jumped higher but in a street meeting in Szczecin a fortnight ago where he cleared 5.91m which may have influenced his decision to sit out after his failure at 5.85m.
His surprise victory came after defending champion Hooker of Australia had failed to make a clearance in the previous day's preliminary round and then in the final Mesnil failed to ascend his opening height of 5.65m.
Their absence suggested Lavinellie the bronze medallist in that clash and who has been in great form this season currently leading the Samsung Diamond League overall standings for a second year, would become his country's first ever winner of the event.
After Mesnil's nightmare exit, Borges of Spain, the Polish pair of Lukasz Michalski and Pawel Wojciechowski who had entered at the start height 5.50 plus Lavillenie who came in at 5.65m, were the early leaders. Ten vaulters who had incurred at least one failure also remained in contention.
The bar raised to 5.75m then began to sort the men out from the boys with only three first time jumps achieved. Wojciechowski was first to get over and quickly followed by Malte Mohr currently second in the current SDL overall standings while Lavillenie then sailed over.
The conclusion at that height saw Wojciechowski and Lavinellie joint first with Germany's Mohr who had made one failure at 5.65m third. They were joined by Michalski and Konstadinos Filippidis - who equalled his Greek record - with their second attempts.
Borges with his third vault also matched his National record and escaped last chance saloon along with a third Pole Mateusz Didenko equalling his personal best.
The chase for the podium places now began in real earnest and Lavinellie maintaining his clean sheet went to the top of the leaderboard with his first effort at 5.85m.
He was followed by Michalski the recently crowned World Student Games champion setting a PB while Borges this time definitively raising his Cuban record while Mohr also progressed when looking at an unwanted exit from the medal chase.
Then attention focused again on Wojciechowski who had been a spectator for around 20 minutes. He messed up his first jump at 5.90m as did the other three remaining contenders for the gold medal.
But with his second attempt and remaining effort the fourth finisher in this year's European Indoor Championships was ecstatic after becoming the first to scale 5.90. Lavillenie wasn't up to the task but Borges seized his last chance and also went clear with his final effort.
The bar then went to 5.95m but neither the Polish winner or Cuban runner up could lift themselves to breaking into even more new territory.
David Martin for the IAAF