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)  

News
people
Life and Style
healthMovember isn't about a moustache trend, it saves lives
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkFrom Mediterranean Tomato Tart to Raw Caramel Peanut Pie
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Extras
Boys to men: there’s nothing wrong with traditional ‘manly’ things, until masculinity is used to exclude people
indybest13 best grooming essentials
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities