Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia gets ready to compete in Daegu (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Isinbayeva clears 4.70m in Volgograd

Volgograd, RussiaThe Governor’s Cup in Volgograd is one of the most popular annual track and field tournaments of the Russian indoor season.

At today’s edition the focus of public’s attention was the Pole Vault runway and landing area. A lot of fans of Yelena Isinbayeva, including her parents and close friends came to the indoor hall of the Institute of Physical Culture and Sport in Volgograd to support the latest competition of the World record holder and reigning Olympic champion, her first of 2012.

It’s rather rare for the inhabitants of this large city on the banks of Volga where Isinbayeva these days has her permanent residence to see her competing in Volgograd. The hall was overcrowded with the spectators in high expectation amid rumours that in one of her practice jumps their heroine had cleared 5m.

In the competition itself Isinbayeva’s first effort at 4.70 was impeccable, and turned out to be enough for her to win the 2012 Governor’s Cup. Her following three attempts at 4.80 were rather good but not successful, with Isinbayeva changing the poles twice. May be it was uneasy for her technically but at least physically she looked quite well prepared. The run-off wasn’t that good but Isinbayeva and her coach Yevgeniy Trofimov are well concentrated on the new Olympic season, and confirmed she needed more competition experience.

Krivoshapka wins well at 400

Antonina Krivoshapka clocked 52.20 in the women’s 400m which is currently the best result of this young World Indoor Championship season. It looked like that she might have been capable of running her favourite distance even faster but her opponents didn’t provide the usual resistance. Patricia Hall from Jamaica was the runner-up in 52.73 and Kseniya Vdovina (RUS) remained third in 53.53.

Kenyan Collins Chemboi clocked 3:40.55 to take the 1500m ahead of Russian Yegor Nikolayev (3:41.46) with another Kenyan, Ismail Kombich, third in 3:42.78.

In the women's Long Jump, World silver medallist Olga Kucherenko showed fine form in what was apparently her season opener. The 26-year-old sailed to a world-leading 6.87m to equal her own indoor career best she first set in 2008.

Alexandr Shustov, the European champion, cleared 2.31m in the men's High Jump to improve his season's best by one centimetre. Sergei Milkumov was second at 2.25m and Sergei Mudrov third topping out at 2.20m.

The women’s Shot Put was absolutely dominated by the steadily progressing Yevgeniya Kolodko who passed the 19m-mark with a 19.47m effort, another early-season world lead. Irina Tarasova (18.76m) and Anna Omarova (18.48m) were well back in second and third.

Patricia Hall bounced back from her 400m defeat to win the 200m in 23.60.

The men’s and women’s 60m sprints were dominated by foreign guests. Two women sprinters from Ukraine took the glories. European 60m champion Olesya Povh clocked currently the best time of the European season in 7.15 sec. Her compatriot Mariya Remen was second on the podium in 7.22. Yuliya Katzura (RUS) was third, 7.37. Rytis Sakalauskas of Lithuania was the fastest among the men, finishing in 6.64.

In the men’s Shot Put, Soslan Tsirikhov was leading with quite a promising result for the beginning of the season, 20.41m, but in his last effort Maksim Sidorov, the European bronze medallist, went better - 20.65.

Irina Gordeyeva dominated the Women’s High Jump clearing the bar at 1.94m. She left behind the young prodigy of Russian athletics Mariya Kuchina, the Youth Olympic champion who cleared 1.90m.

[Note: Updated at 10:00 CET, 22-Jan.]

Nickolai Dolgopolov and Rostislav Orlov for the IAAF