|110 Metres Hurdles||16.19 *||+2.4||Grudziadz (POL)||13 SEP 2008|
|Pole Vault||5.93||Lausanne (SUI)||06 JUL 2017|
|Pole Vault||5.88||Clermont-Ferrand (FRA)||25 FEB 2018|
|Pole Vault||5.80||Łódź (POL)||04 FEB 2019|
|2018||5.84||Lausanne (SUI)||04 JUL 2018|
|2017||5.93||Lausanne (SUI)||06 JUL 2017|
|2016||5.71||Eugene, OR (USA)||28 MAY 2016|
|2015||5.84||Lausanne (SUI)||09 JUL 2015|
|2014||5.80||Berlin (GER)||31 AUG 2014|
|2012||5.62||Bydgoszcz (POL)||03 JUN 2012|
|2011||5.91||Szczecin (POL)||15 AUG 2011|
|2010||5.60||Miedzyzdroje (POL)||17 AUG 2010|
|2009||5.22||Zary (POL)||31 MAY 2009|
|2008||5.51||Zary (POL)||01 JUN 2008|
|2007||5.00||Toruń (POL)||09 SEP 2007|
|2006||4.70||Łódź (POL)||27 JUL 2006|
|2018/19||5.80||Łódź (POL)||04 FEB 2019|
|2017/18||5.88||Clermont-Ferrand (FRA)||25 FEB 2018|
|2016/17||5.85||Beograd (SRB)||03 MAR 2017|
|2015/16||5.84||Clermont-Ferrand (FRA)||21 FEB 2016|
|2014/15||5.57||Zürich (SUI)||02 SEP 2015|
|2013/14||5.76||Orléans (FRA)||18 JAN 2014|
|2011/12||5.52||Donetsk (UKR)||11 FEB 2012|
|2010/11||5.86||Gent (BEL)||13 FEB 2011|
|2009/10||5.20||Potsdam (GER)||13 FEB 2010|
|2008/09||5.40||Athina (GRE)||14 MAR 2009|
|2007/08||5.00||Spala (POL)||25 JAN 2008|
|2006/07||4.70||Spala (POL)||26 JAN 2007|
|1.||Pole Vault||5.90||Daegu (KOR)||29 AUG 2011|
|3.||Pole Vault||5.80||Beijing (CHN)||24 AUG 2015|
|5.||Pole Vault||5.75||London (GBR)||08 AUG 2017|
|5.||Pole Vault||5.40||Marrakesh (MAR)||14 SEP 2014|
|2.||Pole Vault||5.40||Bydgoszcz (POL)||12 JUL 2008|
|2.||Pole Vault||5.70||Zürich (SUI)||16 AUG 2014|
|5.||Pole Vault||5.80||Berlin (GER)||12 AUG 2018|
|7.||Pole Vault||5.30||Amsterdam (NED)||08 JUL 2016|
|1.||Pole Vault||5.85||Rabat (MAR)||16 JUL 2017|
|1.||Pole Vault||5.84||Lausanne (SUI)||09 JUL 2015|
|1.||Pole Vault||5.67||Glasgow (GBR)||11 JUL 2014|
|3.||Pole Vault||5.85||Beograd (SRB)||03 MAR 2017|
|4.||Pole Vault||5.71||Paris (FRA)||05 MAR 2011|
|1.||Pole Vault||5.81||Rio de Janeiro (BRA)||23 JUL 2011|
|1.||Pole Vault||5.70||Ostrava (CZE)||16 JUL 2011|
|1.||Pole Vault||5.70||Lublin (POL)||22 JUL 2018|
|1.||Pole Vault||5.40||Bydgoszcz (POL)||26 JUN 2016|
|1.||Pole Vault||5.70||Kraków (POL)||20 JUL 2015|
|1.||Pole Vault||5.72||Toruń (POL)||05 MAR 2016|
|01 FEB 2019||ISTAF Indoor||GER||F||F||3.||5.76|
|04 FEB 2019||Orlen Cup||POL||D||F||1.||5.80|
|06 FEB 2019||ORLEN Copernicus Cup||POL||A||F||NH|
|17 FEB 2019||Polish Ind. Ch.||POL||D||F||2.||5.60|
Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.
Compiled 3 March 2014
Paweł WOJCIECHOWSKI, Poland (Pole Vault)
Born: 6 June 1989, Bydgoszcz
Coach: Roman Dakiniewicz
He stayed unbowed – quite an accomplishment with all the injuries he’s been through. He still believes the bar set at 6m height is within his reach. “Sergey Bubka used to do that, now it’s Renaud Lavillenie, I can do it too,” Paweł Wojciechowski bravely states.
And the whole story of the World Champion started with Grandpa Alojzy...
In 2011, the Polish pole vaulter set a national record of 5.91m and won the World title in Daegu. His big international career exploded out of nowhere. Just several months earlier, at the end of 2010, all those successes wouldn’t even go through his head. “Not in a million years. My personal best at the time was 5.60. I thought to improve just 12 cm, to qualify for World Championships. I didn’t plan any further,” he recalls.
But in the winter season during practice he realised something good is going on with him. Advised by his coach, he decided to fight to qualify for the European Indoors in Paris. The qualifying standard was 5.70.” I went to a meet in Belgium and jumped 5.86. A huge improvement and a new indoor national record,” Paweł says. Paris welcomed him, but wasn’t the scene of another breakthrough. He was fourth with the result of 5.71. “I still found it a success. For a boy who finished the 2010 season in the top 50 of international ranking? If I made the top 50 at all… Fourth place in the world event was huge. But maybe I could do better,” he contemplates.
Anyway, the boy was going to Daegu as one of the favourites. Just two weeks before the World Championships he cleared 5.91 in the night meet in Szczecin. As unexperienced as he was on the big events he handled the pressure and won gold. Moving story that turns extraordinary when you know all the circumstances...
In Daegu, Wojciechowski overslept for the qualifying session. How is it even possible, one may ask. ”I wonder myself. I wouldn’t believe something like this can happen to me, but when you feel sleepy, you sleep. When the coach burst into my room and woke me up everybody else was in the bus on their way to the stadium,” recalls Paweł who celebrated his World title by... going to sleep. “I was too tired to face the reality back then. Something like this changes everything in your life. I was able to think it through not earlier than after going back home.”
He started the sports adventure in his hometown of Bydgoszcz at the relatively young age of four, thanks to Grandpa Alojzy. A huge sports lover, he decided he would raise a pole vaulter.
“I don’t remember it very well, but I know I was a wild child, I jumped from the table, I landed on the futon and I broke it, I needed some kind of activity. And Grandpa realised his plan - he would organise a family Olympics. Everybody had to do a long jump to the sandpit, and all the jumps were measured. I must admit I didn’t always win. If my father took off well he could land a bit further. There was also shot put, high jump, running. The pole vault I tried by my own, over the fence,” Paweł recalls.
At age seven, after a couple of years of all-round training, grandpa introduced him to high jump. And when he was nine, grandpa took him to his first professional training in Zawisza, a track and field club in Bydgoszcz.
This is when Grandpa Alojzy started a diary – a big book by now – to write in all the trainings, improvements, successful performances, competitions, results and even minor events connected to Paweł’s jumping. Grandpa was well informed, as he would assist in every training. Or if he thought the practice session wasn’t good enough he would organise one at home or in the backyard.
When Paweł went home form Daegu, Grandpa Alojzy greeted him at the airport. Together with the rest of the family they wore t-shirts with Paweł’s picture saying ‘We welcome the World Champion’. Grandpa was very popular, moving from one interview to another, and really enjoyed it. He was happy, I saw that,” Paweł recalls.
The life of an athlete never suited young Paweł. Too much time outside his home. He cried his eyes out when he had to go to his first training camp. “I was 12 or 13. And leaving home for many days was a nightmare, a physical pain. And I still feel that way. When I need to go somewhere far to train, I have a stomach-ache a month in advance,” Paweł admits.
But the training itself he always enjoyed. As a nice year old he would do everything coach Roman Dakiniewicz told him. No second thoughts. “I trusted him. When you’re young you don’t think about risk, you don’t have fears. You just go forward, head first,” he says.
Let’s face it – pole vault is deadly dangerous. You fly six meters above the ground, the pole can hit you or even worse, can break.
“Am I afraid? I’m aware of what can happen to me. This event contains actions that contradict any normal activity. It’s just against natural instincts. And accidents can happen,” Paweł admits.
He experienced many of them, he says he’s used to accidents. “When I was 19 I had problems with my pole, often missing the landing area. I faced huge risk at nearly every jump. Once I was on the training camp in Formia. in Italy. Elena Isinbayeva was there, she watched me with her coach Vitaly Petrov. And of course I missed the spot, landed on the ground. Blood came from my nose but I just wiped it and went to do another jump. Maybe I don’t have in me this gene responsible for fear,” says Paweł, who in December 2011 had his malar bone (cheekbone) broken during practice. The pole bent and snapping with a great force hit Paweł by the face. He underwent surgery the next day and lost a month of training. After season 2011, the best in his career, he had even more serious injuries. Strained biceps muscle of thigh and overloaded knee, among others, are what prevented him from succeeding for the last two years.
“But finally I can say I’m coming back. I believe what’s ahead of me is big jumping, even higher than before. I’m on the right track with my health and with my sport. To be honest, I never really cease to train. Physically I couldn’t do the exercises, but mentally I stayed focused. I watched others jumping, analysed them. My knowledge built up,” Wojciechowski says.
At the end of last season he decided to come back to his first coach, Dakiniewicz. He terminated his cooperation with coach Włodzimierz Michalski that had lasted since 2009. They trained together with the coach’s son, Łukasz Michalski, who was forth in the World Championships in Daegu. Competition of two promising vaulters was good for progress.
“But I think for the last couple of years the workload on my trainings was too big. The injuries don’t come from nowhere,” Paweł admits.
Asked about his role model he doesn’t think twice. “Bubka. He’s a pole vault god, a guru. He was ahead of his time. I would never say I want to be a second Bubka. It’s impossible. But I would like to have his successes,” Paweł says. He strongly believes that the 6 metre mark is within his possibilities. In January 2014, in Bydgoszcz, he competed against Lavillenie, who jumped 6.08 m. And soon after, in Donetsk, the French pole vaulter reached 6.16 and beat Bubka’s record of 21 years. “It’s unfortunate that he brought back from Donetsk not only a World record but also an injury. I wish he gets better soon, as watching his performance is a sheer pleasure for me. He started a new chapter in pole vault, in which I hope to have something to say together with other vaulters,” Wojciechowski says.
He will try that in the World Indoors in Sopot. “As injured Renaud won’t come and the rest of the field represents similar level, I’m going to fight for gold with all my strength,” Paweł assures.
In spite of the fact that Sopot is not that far from Bydgoszcz, Grandpa Alojzy is not one to travel. When his grandson will be trying to become a World champion for the second time, he will stay at home in front of the TV.
Pole Vault: 5.91 (2011)/5.86i (2011)
2006: 4.70; 2007: 5.00; 2008: 5.51 NJR; 2009: 5.22; 2010: 5.60; 2011: 5.91 NR; 2012: 5.62; 2014: 5.76i
European Junior Championships (Hengelo)
World Junior Championships (Bydgoszcz)
World Military Indoor Athletics Cup (Athens)
European Indoor Championships (Paris)
European Under 23 Championships (Ostrava)
Military World Games (Rio de Janeiro)
13th IAAF World Championships (Daegu)
XXX Olympic Games (London)
Prepared by Rafał Kazimierczak and Marta Mikiel for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2014.