World Championships 2013: Yelena Isinbayeva finally gives Russian crowd a reason to be cheerful in Moscow

Pole-vaulter rolls back the years to take gold as controversial LaShawn Merritt is surprise winner of 400m

the Luzhniki Stadium

Shock! Horror! Hold the back page! After three and half days and seven sessions when the atmosphere at these World Championships rivalled that of the Sea of Tranquillity, where Neil Armstrong took his small step for man, something reminiscent of London 2012 fever suddenly broke out in the Lukhniki Stadium.

There were chants from the crowd, huge, great roars for the resurgent Yelena Isinbayeva, and bums on more than three-quarters of the seats in the 59,000-capacity arena. There was even a Russian version of a Mexican Wave. Who would have thought it?

Certainly not Felix Sanchez. After running in the first-round heats of the 400 metres hurdles in a near-deserted arena on Monday, the two-time Olympic champion who competes for the Dominican Republic lamented: "It's dead. There's no atmosphere. Like night and day compared to London 2012." The reason for the transformation? The drawing power of Isinbayeva.

There was a time when the Russian national treasure was the untouchable queen of the pole vault. The world record holder, at 5.06m, and a two-time Olympic and world champion, the pride of Volgograd is 31 now and contemplating what was at first announced as retirement but has since been clarified as a pregnant pause. "I'm not ending my career," she said. "I want to start a family and try to return to reclaim all my titles."

Going into the final, all of Isinbayeva's outdoor titles had gone since 2008, the year in which she claimed her second Olympic gold. The only one remaining in her possession is the world indoor crown she won in Istanbul last year, before taking Olympic bronze in London behind Jenn Suhr of the US and Yarisley Silva of Cuba.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



A failure on her first attempt at 4.65m did not exactly bode well for Isinbayeva, but she cleared that height at the second time of asking and had the crowd in raptures again as she sailed over 4.75m, 4.82m and 4.89 first time. "Ye-lena! Ye-lena!" they chanted.

There was another roar when Suhr dislodged the bar at her third and final attempt at 4.89m. That left Silva with one attempt to launch herself over the upright and remain in contention for gold. And who would have thought that? A potential Cuban missile crisis in prospect right here in the Russian capital.

It was duly averted. Silva defaulted and Isinbayeva launched herself over the trackside advertising hoardings and into the crowd to embrace her coach, Yevgeny Trofimov. Ever the diva, playing to the gallery, she had the bar raised to 5.07m. She was unable to rise to the challenge of a new world record height. Not that the crowd cared much.

Suhr took the silver – ahead of Silva – but there was no consolation prize for another champion from London 2012. The young Grenadian Kirani James faded to ninth in the men's 400m final. LaShawn Merritt, famed for failing a drugs test because of a male enhancement product, went out hard and kept it going all the way – winning by a whopping 0.23sec in 43.74sec.

Merritt powers to victory in the men’s 400m (Getty) Merritt powers to victory in the men’s 400m (Getty)  

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL DBA (2005/2008/2012, projects, storage requirements)

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

Copywriter - Corporate clients - Wimbledon

£21000 - £23000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Copywriter - London As a Copywrite...

Horticulture Lecturer / Tutor / Assessor - Derbyshire

£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: As a result of our successf...

Retail Lecturer / Assessor / Tutor - Derbyshire

£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education are succ...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried