Isinbayeva wins pole vault

2012-03-11 18:58

Istanbul - Yelena Isinbayeva put a three-year gold medal drought behind her by winning the pole vault Sunday at the world indoor championships with just two jumps.

The Russian set a world record of 5.01 meters last month and failed to improve that to 5.02 after ensuring gold. It was Isinbayeva's fourth indoor world title overall but her first in four years. Over the same period, she also lost her world outdoor title.

She won the title at the Atakoy Arena with a height of 4.80, which she cleared with the consummate ease she has so often showed during her career.

With Isinbayeva is back on track, Meseret Defar felt what it's like to lose.

The Ethiopian failed in her quest to become the first woman to win five straight world indoor titles when Hellen Obiri of Kenya came from behind on the final lap to win the women's 3,000 meters.

Defar took the lead halfway through the race and long looked like winning until her Kenyan rival appeared out of the blue on the outside. The Ethiopian champion still sought a final kick to go with Obiri, but she fell ever further back on the final straight.

"I didn't expect it. I am confused," Defar said.

In the men's race, Bernard Lagat won his third 3 000m world indoor title, pushing free with 100 meters to go to beat Kenyan rivals Augustine Choge and Edwin Soi.

Favourite Mo Farah was supposed to make it a straightforward duel with the American, but he failed to get into the medals and finished fourth. The Briton beat Lagat in a stirring 5 000 finish at the world outdoor championships in August.

And at 37, Lagat still has the finishing kick of runners half his age.

"It is not dying away," he said.

Lagat fully knew the Kenyans were going to make the race and refused to fall back and be surprised by a sudden breakaway. So when the final rush came, he was prepared.

"I am going to stay here because those guys are strong," Lagat said he thought to himself.

In the women's long jump, Brittney Reese jumped a championship record 7.23 meters on her last attempt to push American teammate Janay Deloach into the silver-medal position with 6.98. Shara Proctor took bronze with a British national record of 6.89 meters.

"I decided to get my confidence up and get the crowd involved," Reese said of her final attempt. "My coach told me to go and get it, and I went out and got it. I had to go out and bust the big one."

Lagat and Reese pushed the US gold medal haul to seven overall early in the final day. No other nation has more than one.

In the women's 800, 2008 Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo put years of physical problems behind her to take on the whole field from halfway and again became the front-runner she once was.

The Kenyan finished in a world leading 1 minute, 58.83 seconds to beat Nataliya Lupo of Ukraine and Erica Moore of the United States.