|Yelena Isinbayeva celebrates after winning the
pole vault gold, in Moscow, on Tuesday
Moscow: Yelena Isinbayeva, the greatest woman pole vaulter of all time, thrilled a partisan home crowd that cheered her every jump, when she landed the third and probably last world title of her illustrious career here on Tuesday, at the 14th World Athletics Championships.
The Russian, twice Olympic champion and world outdoor record holder, was the only vaulter to clear 4.89m. It was a season’s best leap for the 31-year-old, the first woman to clear the revered five metres barrier, who said before the Championships that she would retire.
American Olympic champion Jenn Surh took silver and Cuban Yarisley Silva bronze. Both failed at 4.89 after clearing 4.82.
Germany’s Robert Harting won his third successive world discus title in impressive style here on Tuesday, when his 69.11 metre throw, the fourth-longest of the season, was too good for perennial runner-up Piotr Malachowski of Poland who took another silver.
Harting, also the Olympic and European champion and world runner-up in 2007, has been the most consistent performer all season but with Malachowski the only man to break 70 metres this year, it was always likely to be close.
Harting then toyed with a mass of photographers waiting for his now-trademark celebration and duly delivered by ripping off his vest before starting his lap of honour.
Ukrainian heptathlete Ganna Melnichenko won her first major title and Canadian Brianne Theisen Eaton earned a silver medal to hang next to husband Ashton Eaton’s gold.
With 68 points separating the top two going into the final 800 metres event, Eaton needed to finish 4.69 seconds ahead of Melnichenko to take gold but the Ukrainian shadowed her rival round the two laps.
She collapsed on the track after crossing the line and held her head in disbelief as the final result flashed up, bringing the hundreds of Ukrainians in the crowd, easily recognisable in bright blue and yellow T-shirts, to their feet.
Melnichenko finished the seven events with a personal best total of 6,586 points, 56 more than Theisen Eaton, who was given a congratulatory hug at the finish by her husband and world decathlon champion Ashton Eaton. The pair, who married last month, are the first husband and wife to win medals in a global combined-event competition.
World junior champion Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands charged down the home straight to finish third and secure the bronze medal with a national record of 6,477.
Olympic champion Elena Lashmanova overcame confusion over where the finish line was to lead home a Russian one-two in the women’s 20km walk at the World Championships here on Tuesday. World record holder Lashmanova, 21, secured a first world title but had only three seconds to spare at the line over teammate Anisya Kirdyapkina after twice almost breaking stride on her final lap because she did not know where the race ended.
A fast-closing Kirdyapkina could not quite close the gap despite her younger rival’s slip-up, while China’s Liu Hong took bronze in 1:28:10. Race walking superpower Russia were denied a podium sweep after Vera Sokolova, who was in third place, was shown a third yellow card and disqualified soon after entering the arena with just over one lap of the track to complete.
A grimacing Mohammed Aman hurtled to the front in the final 10 metres to become the first Ethiopian to win an 800 metres world title. Aman, the only man to beat world record holder David Rudisha since 2009 and pre-race favourite in the absence of the injured Kenyan, pipped American Nick Symmonds for victory in 1:43.31. Djibouti's Ayanleh Souleiman was third.
It was Ethiopia's first world gold at a distance below 5,000 metres.