Fábio da Silva

Athlete Profile

    Brazil Brazil
    04 AUG 1983
Fabio Gomes da Silva in Osaka (AFP)

Personal Best - Outdoor

Performance Wind Place Date
Pole Vault 5.80 São Caetano do Sul 26 FEB 2011

Personal Best - Indoor

Performance Wind Place Date
Pole Vault 5.70 São Caetano do Sul 23 FEB 2013

Progression - Outdoor

Pole Vault

Performance Place Date
2017 5.50 São Bernardo do Campo (Arena Caixa) 15 JUL
2015 5.40 São Bernardo do Campo (Arena Caixa) 18 APR
2014 5.71 São Paulo (IDCM) 10 OCT
2013 5.60 Belém (Mangueirão) 12 MAY
2013 5.60 São Paulo 05 MAY
2012 5.70 Fortaleza 09 MAY
2011 5.80 São Caetano do Sul 26 FEB
2010 5.65 Fortaleza 16 MAY
2009 5.55 Rio de Janeiro 05 JUN
2008 5.45 Beijing (National Stadium) 20 AUG
2007 5.77 São Paulo 07 JUN
2006 5.65 Ponce 28 MAY
2005 5.50 Porto Alegre 09 JUL
2004 5.55 São Paulo 26 JUN
2003 5.00 São Paulo 12 JUL
2003 5.00 Belém (Mangueirão) 04 MAY
2002 5.15 Kingston (NS), JAM 19 JUL
2001 5.16 São Paulo 23 JUN
2000 4.90 São Paulo 17 JUN

Progression - Indoor

Pole Vault

Performance Place Date
2013 5.70 São Caetano do Sul 23 FEB
2011 5.65 Linz 03 FEB
2009 5.40 Mälmo (Atleticum) 03 FEB
2008 5.61 Stockholm 21 FEB
2008 5.61 Donetsk 16 FEB
2007 5.40 Donetsk 10 FEB

Honours - Pole Vault

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
15th IAAF World Championships 17q1 5.25 Beijing (National Stadium) 22 AUG 2015
The XXX Olympic Games q1 NM London (Olympic Stadium) 08 AUG 2012
13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 8 5.65 Daegu (DS) 29 AUG 2011
12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics q2 NM Berlin (Olympiastadion) 20 AUG 2009
The XXIX Olympic Games 13q2 5.45 Beijing (National Stadium) 20 AUG 2008
12th IAAF World Indoor Championships q1 NM Valencia (Velódromo Luis Puig), ESP 08 MAR 2008
11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 10 5.76 Osaka (Nagai Stadium) 01 SEP 2007
IAAF/Coca Cola World Junior Championships 12 5.00 Kingston (NS), JAM 21 JUL 2002

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Updated 5 March 2008

Fábio GOMES da Silva, Brazil (Pole Vault)

Born 4 August 1983, Campinas, Sao Paulo state, Brazil

1.78m, 74kg

Lives in Sao Paulo.

Coach: Elson Miranda de Souza

Club: Clube de Atletismo BM&F (BM&F Athletics Club)

Brazil is the cradle of many talented men and women in various sports and, in athletics, the BM&F club has had an important role in detecting and developing them. Among women, we can consider Keila Costa, Maurren Higa Maggi and Fabiana Murer as the main Brazilian athletes. Meanwhile, Jadel Gregorio started his career there, and nowadays Fabio Gomes da Silva, the recent South American pole vault record-setter, is its brand new star.

Gomes was born in Campinas, a village 100km from the big metropolis of Sao Paulo. When he was a little boy at school, physical education was his favourite subject and he performed well in every sport. Elson Miranda de Souza, his coach and former Brazilian champion (PB: 5.02), saw him for the first time in 1999 on an athletics camp in Campinas. He took Gomes to the big city and that was the beginning of a new life for him.

During the first 18 months, Gomes practiced all disciplines. In 2000, still under 18, he cleared the five-metre barrier for the first time. Therefore, he decided to focus on pole vault. The same year, he won the silver medal in the South American Junior Championships.

Gomes carried on improving and, in 2002, he managed the Junior Area title and reached the final at World Junior Championships, in Kingston, Jamaica, where he set a personal best 5.17. Moreover, there he was lucky to met Sergey Bubka, his childhood idol, and got a picture with him. “Every athlete who practices pole vault has surely admired him,” Gomes said. “However, South American athletes have no chance of seeing him except from videos.”

After those great achievements as a junior athlete, Gomes found it difficult to improve in the following years. He still remembers those days as the hardest of his career: “I felt I was working a lot, and training so much, but I still could not jump higher,” he said. “It was so frustrating.” On the other hand, he met Luana Aparecida Machado, a triple jumper, and soon married her. “It was love at first sight,” he said. “We are a happy couple, but we aren’t thinking about children yet since we are both too young”, added the fan of Sao Paulo soccer club, although he can only follow it on TV.

Gomes finally made a big improvement when Vitaly Petrov arrived in South America to give pole vault seminars. The same happened to Murer, the South American women’s record holder, and to Argentine Germán Chiaraviglio, the gold medallist at the 2003 World Youth Championships, in Sherbrooke, Canada, and at the 2006 World Junior Championships, in Beijing. The man who coached Bubka, and now coaches Yelena Isinbayeva, modified his technique, which allowed him to improve his mark from 5.25 in 2003 to 5.77 in 2007.

During those four seasons, Gomes obtained his first big titles: the Ibero-American Championships in Huelva 2004, a few weeks before the Athens Olympic Games, and the South American Championships in Cali 2005, both with 5.40. In 2006, he could not repeat his Ibero-American title in Ponce, but got the silver medal with 5.65, behind Chiaraviglio. As a result of his achievements, he started travelling and competing a lot out of Brazil. “It’s difficult to be far away from Luana. I miss her a lot but we both agree that I have to take these opportunities”, he said.

The following year, 2007, was the most extraordinary one for him. First, he jumped 5.70 in Brazil, three weeks before the South American Championships. It was during that competition in the Ibirapuera Park, where he trains every day, that he won the gold medal with 5.77, breaking the South American record of 5.76 set by Tomas Hintnaus (Zurich, 1985), who was born in Brazil, but lived and developed his career in the United States. “I’ve never met Hintnaus, but I know his story since my coach competed against him,” Gomes said. “Until Petrov came to South America, Hintnaus’s record seemed impossible to challenge. But technique changes allowed me to dream of breaking it.”

Miranda remains Gomes’s coach but both receive advice from Petrov. When Petrov came to South America, not only was it for important for the athletes, but also for the coaches. So all the athletes continue working with their coaches (Chiaraviglio with his father, Murer and Gomes with Miranda, for example), but they share knowledge with Petrov.

In July 2007, in the middle of a storm that prevented him from jumping higher than 5.40, Gomes won the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, followed by Giovanni Lanaro (Mexico) and Chiaraviglio. “That was the happiest moment of my career,” he said. “My mark wasn’t so good, but I managed my best performance. Moreover, I won the greatest title because that competition was very important to me and my country.” He would reach another goal that season: he was 10th in the World Championships, in Osaka, achieving his second best height (5.76) in the final.

At the beginning of 2008, Gomes was invited to train with Petrov in Donetsk, Bubka’s city, along with Murer, his beloved teammate inside and outside of Brazil. During the meeting, organised by the unforgettable Bubka, he was 7th with 5.61, breaking the South American indoor record that Chiaraviglio set with 5.60 one year before in the same place.

“Visiting Sergey’s city was a wonderful experience,” Gomes said. “And every day with Vitaly is a full-day lesson. At the same time, it was hard to get on the plane in Sao Paulo with 35°C degrees, and get off in Ukraine with -10°C degrees. Brazilians are not used to such temperatures.” A couple of days later, in Stockholm, he repeated the 5.61 mark. That jump let him thinking about a good result in the World Indoor Championships, in Valencia, where he aims to be among the best eight athletes.

Gomes has other goals for the current year. He can certainly reach a place in the Olympics Games final in Beijing. He also wants to keep on improving his personal mark. “If I train hard, I think I’ll be able to jump 5.80, 5.85 or even 5.90 this year”, he said. In that case, the dream he had a long time ago, when he created his e-mail address, will come true. It contains the 5.85 mark. “Maybe I should change it this year for a new challenge”, he smiled.

Personal Bests

5.77, AR (2007); 5.61i, AR (2008)

Yearly Progression

1999: 4.75; 2000: 5.01; 2001: 5.16; 2002: 5.17; 2003: 5.25; 2004: 5.55; 2005: 5.50; 2006: 5.65; 2007: 5.77 (AR); 2008: 5.61i (AR)

Career Highlights

1999 3rd  South American Junior Championships (Concepción)  4.75
2000 2nd  South American Junior Championships (Sao Leopoldo) 5.00
 2nd  South American Youth Championships (Bogotá)  4.95
2001 3rd  South American Junior Championships (Santa Fe)  4.80
 3rd  Pan American Junior Championships (Santa Fe)  5.15
2002 12th  World Junior Championships (Kingston)    5.00 (q5.15)
 1st South American Junior Champs/Odesur Games (Belem) 5.10
2003 5th South American Championships (Barquisimeto)  5.10
2004 1st Ibero American Championships (Huelva)   5.40
2005 1st South American Championships (Cali)    5.40
2006 2nd Ibero American Championships (Ponce)    5.65
 3rd South American Championships (Tunja)    5.20
2007 1st South American Championships (Sao Paulo)   5.77
 1st Pan American Games (Rio de Janeiro)    5.40
 10th World Championships (Osaka)     5.76
2008 7th  Zepter Pole Vault Stars (Donetsk)     5.61i

Prepared by Víctor Pochat for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008.

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