The 2013-2016 IAAF Strategic Plan has six Core Values: universality, leadership, unity, excellence, integrity and solidarity, and a Vision Statement: “To lead, govern and develop the sport of athletics in all its forms worldwide, uniting the Athletics Family in a spirit of excellence, integrity and solidarity.”
"A dandy dozen", the description the stadium announcer used to refer to the women who successfully jumped 4.55m today, proceeded to Monday night’s 12 athlete final from a qualification round of 39 starters (spread across two groups). The automatic height had been 4.60 but with only 12 athletes able to clear the bar 5 centimetres lower the finalists were already decided without the need to proceed any higher.
There were several shocks, headed by the non-qualification of Brazil’s reigning World champion Fabiana Murer who couldn’t rise any higher than 4.50. Earlier on we had also seen the demise of the former World champion and record holder Svetlana Feofanova of Russia who didn’t register a mark at her opening height (4.40 xx-; 4.50 x), and Monika Pyrek of Poland who is a three-time World championships medallist (best of 4.40; failed at 4.50). A total of five athletes did not register a mark and all these came in Group B.
Leading the qualifiers by virtue of a clean score card throughout the morning were three women: Russia’s double Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva, who topped Group B, with the other pool headed by Cuba’s Yarisley Silva, the 2011 Pan-Am Games gold medallist, and American Jenn Suhr, who is the second highest vaulter of all-time behind Isinbayeva. If anyone of these three had a slight edge it was the American as unlike her opponents who came in at 4.50, she did not even attempt a height until the qualifying 4.55 bar.
6th best overall Silke Spiegelburg who set a German record of 4.82m at the recent Monaco Samsung Diamond League meeting had only one blemish and that was a first time failure at 4.55, but it was enough to split her from her compatriot Lisa Ryzih (4th) and 2009 World champion Anna Rogowska of Poland (5th), who both took that height on their first attempts.
Seventh equal overall were Briton Holly Bleasdale, who with a 4.87m PB this winter is a realistic medal challenger, French record holder Vanessa Boslak and Germany’s World silver medallist Martina Strutz, who each had a first time failure at 4.55 and couldn’t be separated on count-back.
Taking up the last three places in the final are USA’s Becky Holliday, Australia’s Commonwealth champion Alana Boyd and Czech European champion Jirina Ptacnikova, who was the last athlete to successfully make 4.55.
"I jumped well but the weather was difficult for vaulting. There was a strong wind in our faces. After today I am really confident for the final. I feel in top form," confirmed the Russian World record holder.