Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva broke her own World Indoor Pole Vault record* at the annual "Pole Vault Stars" meeting in Donetsk on Saturday (10).
The reigning Olympic and World champion cleared a height of 4.93** metres, an improvement of two centimetres on her performance of 12 months ago in the Ukrainian city.
"I had a difficult season last year so this world record in front of the Donetsk crowd was very important and emotional for me," said the 24-year-old two-time World athlete of the year.
After a pair of misses at a would-be World record of 4.92, she had the bar raised to 4.93 and sailed clear.
“I felt very confident today,” said an extremely emotional Isinbayeva who shed a tear after her winning performance. “Already in New York I felt as though I had the World record in my legs.” At the Millrose Games in New York City last weekend, Isinbayeva jumped 4.82, previously the season's best.
“This is not my last World record this Indoor season,” she added.
"It showed her great strength that after two not unsuccesful jumps she was able go higher and jump more than clearly," said legendary Pole Vault star Sergey Bubka, who organises the annual competition. "It was again a great show before 4000 spectators. I am satisfied with the usual atmosphere and of course the World record is always something special. Yelena was under pressure, because everybody expected it and she was able to handle it."
The annual gathering of international pole vaulting talent is set in a highly-charged, festive atmosphere, with each jumper chosing their own jumping music. Isinbayeva's selection? "Impossible is Possible" by Russian musician Dima Bilam.
"It inspires me to achieve new heights," Isinbayeva said. "I am very happy that I showed that the impossible is possible and hope that this will inspire people to do the same."
Isinbayeva’s representative Daniel Wessfeldt, who like coach Vitaly Petrov attended the Donetsk meeting, described the World record-setting jump as “a really big one!” and confirmed that Isinbayeva will skip the European Indoor Championships in order to concentrate on her outdoor campaign which will be “very long”.
Commonwealth champion Kym Howe was second with a 4.72 clearance, a new Australian and Oceania record. It was a substantial improvement for the 26-year-old, whose previous career best was 4.62 (outdoors) when winning the Commonwealth crown in Melbourne last year. Poland’s Anna Rogowska was third, also at 4.72m.
Next up for Isinbayeva are competitions in Bydgoszcz, Poland next Wednesday (14 February), Birmingham three days later and then Paris on 23 February.
Paul Burgess won the men's competition for the second consecutive time, reaching 5.80 on his first attempt to equal his Area indoor record, also set in Donetsk last year.
"In Donetsk there is a great crowd, great show and great atmosphere so I am very happy to win here," Burgess said.
Victor Chistiakov of Russia was second and Ukraine's Alexandr Korchmyd third, both also topping out at 5.80.
IAAF, Organisers, and Alfons Juck for the IAAF
1. Paul Burgess, AUS 5.80 (560/1, 580/1, 590/xxx)
2. Viktor Chistyakov, RUS 5.80 (550/2, 570/1, 580/2, 590/xxx)
3. Aleksandr Korchmyd, UKR 5.80 (560/1, 570/1, 580/3, 585/xxx)
4. Brad Walker, USA 5.70 (550/1, 570/1, 585/xxx)
5. Przemyslaw Czerwinski, POL 5.60 (550/1, 560/1, 570/xxx)
6. German Chiaraviglio, ARG 5.60 SAmR (520/1, 540/1, 550/2, 560/1, 570/xxx)
7. Denis Yurchenko, UKR 5.60 (560/2, 570/xxx)
8. Ross Buller, USA 5.50
9. Leonid Kivalov, RUS 5.50
=10. Aleksandr Bubka, UKR (son of Vasiliy) 5.40
=10. Fabio Gomes da Silva, BRA 5.40
nh - Toby Stevenson, USA (560/xxx)
nh - Steven Hooker, AUS (570/xxx)
1. Yelena Isinbayeva, RUS 4.93 WR (462/1, 472/1, 482/1, 492/xxp, 493/1)
2. Kym Howe, AUS 4.72 AR (432/1, 452/1, 462/2, 472/1, 482/xxx)
3. Anna Rogowska, POL 4.72 (432/1, 452/1, 462/3, 472/1, 482/xpp)
4. Tatyana Polnova, RUS 4.62 (432/1, 442/1, 452/1, 462/2, 472/xxx)
5. Yuliya Golubchikova, RUS 4.62 (422/1, 442/1, 452/2, 462/2, 472/xxx)
6. Monika Pyrek, POL 4.52 (432/1, 452/1, 462/xxx)
7. Caroline Hingst, GER 4.52 (442/3, 452/1, 462/xxx)
8. Fabiana Murer, BRA 4.52 (432/1, 442/2, 452/2, 462/xxx)
9. Natalya Kushch, UKR 4.22
nh - V. Parnov, AUS (402xxx)
* Pending the usual ratification procedures
** Results updated; initially reported at 4.92