Yelena Isinbayeva (RUS) celebrates winning the women's Pole Vault (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Budapest, Hungary

Russian medal feast sees three World records set and another equalled – Day TWO – Evening session

Russia’s Tatyana Lededeva and Yelena Isinbayeva took the World record book apart tonight at the 10th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics.

Throughout the three days of the 10th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics (5 – 7 March) “LIVE” event by event reports are as usual available - click here - as the action happens in the Hungarian capital but here we also give a snap-shot of what’s been happening ‘Around the Arena’ this evening –

Only on the basis of the number of World records set this evening, do we even try to rank the performances of Tatyana Lebedeva and Yelena Isinbayeva, and so we begin with perhaps the ultimate World record championship competition of all-time.

Lebedeva’s triple, Triple Jump record night

In the women’s Triple Jump Final, Russia’s Tatyana Lebedeva the double World outdoor champion, opened her gold medal campaign with a 15.16m jump which equalled the current World record of Britain’s Ashia Hansen that was set in 1998.

Yamila Aldama, last summer's furthest performer outdoors, who was jumping last tonight, tried to respond immediately and produced a narrow but exceptionally long foul which looked well in excess of 15 metres. The next round confirmed the Sudanese’s fine form, as this time her 14.90m performance was cleanly taken. The result was an African Area Record.

However, in gold medal terms the competition was effectively over because in round two Lebedeva outstripped the old mark completely with a 15.25 performance.

Aldama had shot her bolt, and despite putting up two other good performances, 14.79 in the fifth, and a 14.50 on her last attempt, she ended clutching her left Hamstring. Anyway silver was hers, and the third medal was also secure with Greece’s Hrysopiyí Devetzí holding the bottom rung of the podium with her third round 14.73.

The medal positions were solved but the final still had a surprise in store, as once more Lebedeva graced the Sportarena’s runway and 15.36 was the outstanding result. The World Indoor record had been bettered once more and the full-house of spectators rose to applaud the champion as she paraded the Russian flag in celebration.

“A dream has come true. The crowd gave me the extra power to get this result,” said the delighted winner.

Isinbayeva responds to the demands of Russia’s record night

Tonight we witnessed the beginning of new era in women’s Pole Vaulting, as for the first time in history the 5.00 metres barrier was attempted by a woman, and though unsuccessful, the women’s discipline automatically came of age. No longer can we talk of the women’s vault as a ‘new’ event, as Budapest marked its transition into adulthood.

Yelena Isinbayeva had set World records - 4.81 and 4.83 - in Donetsk last month. However, she was upstaged in Athens a week later when World indoor and outdoor champion Svetlana Feofanova leapt to 4.85, recapturing the mantle of the highest female vaulter of all-time with an exceptionally clean first time clearance over 4.86.

With a clean jumping card through five heights until 4.81m, which she took on her second attempt, Isinbayeva vaulted her next bar, 4.86, on her first attempt to establish the new record.

There had been surprises throughout the competition with defending champion Feofanova having first time trouble at 4.76, before passing, and then finally failing twice at 4.81. Her best for the evening was 4.70 which was ultimately only good enough for bronze.

Yet beyond doubt, after Isinbayeva herself, it was the performance of USA’s Olympic champion Stacy Dragila which was the other pleasant surprise of the competition. With a close but successful third time assault at 4.81, she sealed the silver medal in a North American record. Better still that meant the 32 year-old was still in the competition, and that must have been an added spur to Isinbayeva.

“I think that 5 metres can be reached shortly and I hope I will set that record,” confirmed Isinbayeva. “I will be dancing and celebrating tonight.”

Nazarova’s gold but just short of mark

Defending champion Natalya Nazarova hit the start of the bell lap leading the women’s 400m, with the clock displaying 23.70. Closely stalked by her Russian compatriot Olesya Krasnomovets around the final lap, she was never in any noticeable danger of losing the gold in what was a brilliant piece of sustained two lap running. Yet the magic of a sub-50 second clocking ultimately eluded Nazarova, as she crossed the finish in a championships record of 50.19.

The quality of the race was reinforced as the silver was won by Krasnomovets in a personal best (50.65), and the bronze went to Tonique Williams of the Bahamas in a national record (50.87).

The men’s title was taken by Grenada’s Alleyne Francique with a 45.88 second run that ended in a desperate final straight battle with Jamaica’s Davian Clarke. Francique managed to lunge ahead at the line, taking the dip win ahead of Clarke’s 45.92. Bronze went to the Democratic Republic of Congo via the vest of Gary Kikaya (46.30), the first ever global championships medal by the country.

Third consecutive gold for Holm

In a session which was not just Russian dominated but also very much a female night of success, Sweden’s Stefan Holm was the main exception to the rule. He destroyed a class field with a faultless display of jumping passing through 2.20, 2.25, 2.29 and 2.32 on his first attempts, before effortlessly taking the win at 2.35, again on his first try.

Clean clearances were greeted on each occasion by the usual ebullient celebrations from the 27 year-old on the landing mat. Punching the air in delight has now become as common place as Holm’s expected 2.32 plus jumps.

Holm’s championships record now ranks second only to World record holder Javier Sotomayor’s four wins – 1989, 1993, 1995 and 1999 – but even the great Cuban never put together a consecutive string of three wins.

In second place was Russia’s European outdoor gold medallist Yaroslav Rybakov (2.32), while European Junior champion Jaroslav Baba (CZE) shared the bronze at an extremely low 2.25m with Jamaica’s Germaine Mason and Romania’s Stefan Vasilache.

Johnson’s championship record

Defending champion Allen Johnson (USA) survived a semi-final scare to qualify as one of the fastest losers but made up for that in the final despite heavily demolishing three hurdles on the way.

Johnson's finish came in a championship record of 7.36, a personal best (previous was 7.38, 1995), and the equal second quickest time in history.

Second was China’s Xiang Liu who improved his Area Record to 7.43, with Jamaica’s Maurice Wignall setting a 7.48 national record.

NB. Johnson broke Colin Jackson's 1999 championship record of 7.38. Also of interest, is the fact that today is also 10 years exactly since Jackson set the existing World indoor record of 7.30 in Sindelfingen, Germany.

Stringfellow’s gold

The men’s Long Jump gold didn’t come quite as easily to USA’s Savante Stringfellow, as the 2001 World outdoor silver medallist had predicted. His winning third round leap of 8.40 was one centimetre short of his season’s best and enough to dash the hopes of last summer’s World silver medallist James Beckford who had led until that round.

However, the Jamaican’s series was impressively consistent  – 8.12, 8.32, 8.30, 8.20, x, 8.31 – but as much as he tried he could never regain his lead, his one centimetre improvement in the sixth round to 8.31 being good enough for silver.

So the American had won his first World championship title, to go with the World Cup win he took in 2002.

In third was Russia’s Vitaliy Shkurlatov who leapt 8.28 in the second round.

Dulecha powers home

Ethiopia’s Kutre Dulecha confirmed her status as the winter’s best 1500m runner, adding the World title to the world season’s lead (4:01.90) which she brought with her into this championship campaign.

The 2000 World Cross Country short course winner powered away to gold after a lightning change of pace devastated the opposition and brought her home in 4:06.40.

Devastation of a unhappier kind had taken place with about 600 metres still to play, as Briton Kelly Holmes, last year’s silver medallist took a dramatic fall from which she tried but failed to recover.

Canada’s Carmen Douma-Hussar took silver in a national record of 4:08.18, while bronze like most things this evening went to Russia’s Gulnara Samitova (4:08.26).

The men’s 3000m also looked to be heading Ethiopia’s way via Markos Geneti who had won the World Youth 3000m title in Debrecen in 2001 but luck was not with him this time as he returned to Hungarian soil. Kenya’s Bernard Lagat and Rui Silva of Portugal finally broke loose from him with two laps to go.

The last lap fight between Lagat and Silva was special but the Kenyan always kept a metre or two ahead of the 2001 World Indoor 1500m champion, and broke the tape in 7:56.34, with the Portuguese crossing next (7:57.08), and Geneti a little despondently following a few steps further adrift (7:57.87).

For FULL detailed event by event reports from all this evening’s action, click here.